Grand Jury Confidential: David Kurman

New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards award-winning Grand Jury is made up of over 100 directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on air talent, and programming executives from around the globe. These talented executives are actively involved in what is being created in the radio industry today. Each week, NYF profiles one of the prominent award-winning radio executives from around the globe who are recruited to select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠. These dedicated jury members are committed to their craft and are an inspiration to us all.

David Kurman, Business Operations, Westwood One USA

This week NYF profiles David Kurman, Business Operations, Westwood One USA. Throughout David’s career he has held a variety of prominent positions in the radio broadcasting arena including: Senior Director of Programming, and CBS Radio Network Producer. David has produced radio broadcasts of the World Series, Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Tournament, Masters Golf Tournament, U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and the Olympics.

In the interview below, David shares the inside track on his radio career including early influences, what he learned on his first job, early leadership lessons and much more.

NYF: Who or what were your early influences in your career?

David Kurman: My fascination with radio began as a teenager growing up in suburban New York.  I visited every radio station on Long Island and several in New York City, including WCBS-FM.  It was there that I met Bill Brown who allowed me to sit in the control room while he did his show.  I absorbed a lot about the radio profession that day, and it was a special thrill to be hired as a newscaster at WCBS-FM several years later and present the news during Bill’s shift.

NYF: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?

David Kurman: My first job in New York radio was at WOR producing Jean Shepherd’s

Jean Shepard

nightly show.  It was there that I learned how to work with highly creative people and balance their needs with the business demands of a successful commercial operation. A good producer attends to the tedious details of the broadcast and allows the talent to be concerned only with the creative process.

NYF: What were some early leadership lessons for you?

David Kurman: I think an early lesson that has been reinforced to this day is that all good things in radio are the result of a team effort. While the temptation is there to complete a project single-handedly, the rewards are greater and the level of satisfaction is higher when others are engaged and acknowledged.

NYF: What qualities are the most important to have?

David Kurman: One should be able to identify with the listener and have an appreciation for the programming content, whether it be journalism or music or the spoken word. And one should be cool under pressure and remain the calming influence when things get hectic.

NYF: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?

David Kurman I started in college radio at Princeton’s WPRB where I continue to serve in an advisory capacity. With its production of radio drama and acquisition of national sports play-by-play rights, I identified the CBS Radio Network as having the strongest commitment to quality programming and made it my goal to work there. The network is now part of the Westwood One programming lineup and that’s where my fascination with radio has taken me.

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