Debra O’Connell has been named the new president and general manager of WABC-TV, it was announced today by Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group.
O’Connell has served as executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, of Disney|ABC’s consolidated advertising sales group for the past year. She’ll have overall management responsibility for WABC-TV, the country’s most-watched local station, all of its ancillary businesses, and Live with Kelly and Ryan, the syndicated series produced by the station.
McMahon said O’Connell “has demonstrated a results-oriented and entrepreneurial approach to the business of broadcasting” throughout her career, and noted her “valuable management expertise, strong relationships and deep dedication to the local community” in making her “ideally suited for the top job at our flagship station.”
O’Connell will start at WABC immediately but remain involved and help with the transition of her responsibilities related to the Disney|ABC Advertising Sales organization.
At the company for more than 20 years, O’Connell served as president, National TV Sales, ABC Owned Stations Group from 2014-2017, and previously was vice president of marketing at WABC. She joined the Group’s television division in 1999 after working at ABC Radio in Sales and Marketing.
“Year after year, our viewers have made Channel 7 the most watched station in New York and the nation,” O’Connell said, “and we will continue to earn their trust by always delivering the best local news coverage in the market.”