NEW YORK (WABC) -- WABC News executive Chad Matthews has been named the president and general manager of WABC-TV, announced Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations. In his new role, Matthews has overall management responsibility for ABC7/WABC-TV and its ancillary businesses.
Matthews replaces Debra OConnell, who was elevated to president of Networks for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution last fall, and is now responsible for operational leadership for all of the Company's linear television networks, including the ABC broadcast network, and its cable channels, as well as oversight of the ABC Owned Stations, Nat Geo Media and commercial marketing across the networks and home entertainment.
"As news director of WABC, Chad has repeatedly proven his incredible dedication to the station and the community ABC7 serves," said McMahon. "During his tenure, he led the direction and modernization of the market's leading local television news and information brand, increasing audience reach and engagement while expertly navigating change and driving innovation. Chad is an insightful, forward-thinking and collaborative executive who will continue successfully leading ABC7/WABC-TV forward."
"It is an honor and privilege to lead New York City's and the nation's No. 1 station," said Matthews. "Since the first day I walked in the door in May 2000, I have been in awe of both the leadership and the many talented individuals that collectively make Channel 7 the most-watched station in the country. Together, we will continue to serve the tri-state region. We have never been more committed to creating impactful programming and lifesaving information for our viewers during these unprecedented times. I am extremely proud to lead this amazing team who not only care about the quality of work produced but also, just as importantly, the diverse communities we serve."
As the news director of WABC for the past three years, Matthews oversaw the overall function of exclusive content creation and operations for WABC's television and digital channels as well as the launch of connected TV apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku. In 2020, he successfully transitioned the station to a remote workforce to produce Eyewitness News without interruption during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, finishing the year with the largest audience of any television station in the nation and carrying a wider margin of success than it had in 2019. During his tenure, the station's digital platforms experienced record growth adding more than 4 million unique viewers in 2020 alone, a more-than 20% increase from the prior year. Matthews is an award-winning news executive with a total of six Emmy Awards, four of them as recent as 2020 when WABC won for best newscast in every daypart. He and his Eyewitness News colleagues were presented with the prestigious Governors Award commemorating WABC's 50th anniversary.
Matthews has an extensive background in local TV journalism and significantly in the tri-state region. He started his career at WABC in 2000 and was promoted to senior executive producer in 2002. He spent 12 years in senior roles for Eyewitness News and won both a Peabody Award in 2001 as the live control room producer for the station's 9/11 coverage and an Emmy Award in 2007 for Best Evening Newscast. In 2012, Matthews temporarily left WABC for a five-year stint as assistant news director at NBC-owned WTVJ in South Florida. At WTVJ, he won another Emmy Award in 2017 for breaking news coverage during the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting incident before returning to WABC as the assistant news director later that year.
Matthews has a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from Westfield State University. In 2020, he proudly served as a board member for the nonprofit organization Dance Unite, which provides free dance instruction and promotes diversity for inner-city children. He's a member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and serves as a senior adviser and executive champion on PRIDE at ABC News and ABC Owned Television Stations Business Employee Resource Group.
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