Patch Adds COO as Leadership Change Continues | Street Fight


Patch Adds COO as Leadership Change Continues

0 Comments 06 December 2012 by

AOL’s Patch network of hyperlocal news sites has made yet another significant change at the top, naming former Westwood One operations head Steve Kalin to the newly created position of president and COO. Kalin will take responsibility over the company’s daily operations — with the advertising, finance, marketing, and content functions all reporting to him. He will report to CEO Jon Brod. Meanwhile, Warren Webster, who previously served as president, will retain his current responsibilities as “chief evangelist” with the title of cofounder.

Brod told Street Fight in an email that he will now focus on the company’s “strategy and vision, key partnerships, and product and engineering.” He reiterated that Webster’s responsibilities “will not change” as a result of the hire, saying only that “like many Patchers, [Webster has seen his] role has evolved as we’ve grown from a start-up into a large national company.” That evolution began earlier this year when Patch reorganized roles of its top leadership, putting Brod in charge of operations and Webster in the “outward-facing role of chief evangelist, driver of some key company-wide initiatives, and identifying new opportunities for Patch.”

Kalin comes to Patch a little more than a year after leaving Westwood One where he headed up Metro Traffic, the radio conglomerate’s traffic syndication division, before it was spun off to Clear Channel in June 2011. At the time of the sale, the traffic content network served more than 1,500 affiliates in 100 markets across four countries. In an email on Tuesday, Webster pointed to [Kalin’s] “deep experience in scaling and growing local media companies” as being essential for “taking [Patch] to the next level.”

The hire continues a leadership evolution at the closely watched AOL property, as it tries to answer some of the ongoing questions about the sustainability of its model. Last year saw the departure of two of the company’s key employees in former communications head Janine Iamunno and editor-in-chief Brian Farnham, and the addition of a handful of new positions at the top, including chief content officer, head of content operations, head of strategy and business development, and head of U.S. sales.

With the loss of his president title and the shifting of some of his responsibilities to Brod and now Kalin, Webster may be seeing his property at Patch dwindling. In February, prior to Farnham’s exit, Patch brought in Rachel Feddersen to serve as chief content officer, effectively initiating a slow transition for the former editor-in-chief, who departed in April.

Both Brod and Webster reiterated that Patch was on track to hit run-rate profitability in 2013 — a claim that AOL’s COO, Artie Minson, first made during AOL’s Q3 earnings call early last month. Even with expenses cut nearly 30% from a year earlier, the $40 million to $50 million in revenue projected by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong for 2012 means that Patch remains deep in the hole for the year. Using as a benchmark the $150 million that analysts estimated for Patch’s revenue in 2011, the company should see expenses north of $100 million and losses in the range of $50 million for 2012.

Steven Jacobs is deputy editor at Street Fight.


Get hyperlocal industry headlines in your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the Street Fight Daily newsletter.

Follow Us

Get the latest Street Fight news, information and analysis via Twitter and Facebook.

The Local Merchant Report

Learn how to better target this important-yet-elusive market. Key insights, case studies, and strategies make this a report you can't afford to miss.
Get your copy today!

Free eBook

How Mobile Location and Behavioral Context Skyrocket Conversion Rates: Location personas increase the value of ad inventories and give publishers a way to better target content. Learn how it works and improve your ROI now. Get the ebook produced by:
Download here

The $20 Billion Mobile Marketing Opportunity

Strategies and insights into the landscape of targeting options and how they deliver foot traffic and sales for SMBs.
Get your copy today!

Why Local is the Future of Commerce

The local marketplace is under renovation and four layers of disruptive technologies have emerged. Siloed early on, these industries are starting to coalesce, working together to form layers in a coordinated stack. Read the introduction to "The Local Stack" special report, underwritten by Yext.

How Back-Office Innovation Is Transforming Local

In this new report, Street Fight takes a look at the impact of supply-side technologies on the local marketing industry, detailing the opportunities and risks that these emergent services present to existing solutions providers.


© 2014 Street Fight.

Powered by WordPress. Hosting by