Exec resignation signals change in strategy at ABC 7
Look for ABC 7 to begin promoting its top-rated newscasts and other programs more aggressively than it has in years.
Tom Hebel, a 15-year veteran of the station, resigned Friday as vice president of programming and creative services. The move signals a change in strategy under John Idler, who took over as president and general manager of ABC 7 last June.
“We thank Tom for his many years of contribution and service to our station,” Idler said through a spokeswoman. “We wish him well as he moves forward in the next chapter of his career.”
Although ABC 7 has long led the market in ratings and revenue, it has suffered in recent years from lackluster marketing — particularly in on-air promotion, according to insiders. In addition to changes in its daytime program lineup and audience erosion to new media, the station faces rejuvenated competition from CBS 2, NBC 5 and Tribune-owned WGN.
No word yet on a replacement for Hebel.
Hebel, 59, who spent 10 years in advertising and promotion at CBS 2, joined ABC 7 full-time as promotion manager in 1998. He moved up to director of creative services later that year and added programming to his duties in 2002.
“It has been my good fortune to work at one of the finest local TV stations in the country these past 15 years,” Hebel said in a statement. “There's no doubt that the best part of the job has been working side by side with all of the great people at ABC 7. I'm excited about the future and looking forward to the next challenge.”