“Chicken Noodle Network,” they called it in the early days. That didn’t dissuade Greg D’Alba from joining the fledgling CNN in 1986 as an account executive. “When you come in playing for the underdog, there’s only one way to go, and that’s up,” he says. “Ted [Turner] had an amazing vision to bring news into everyone’s lives 24/7. Lo and behold, it became the dominant technology.”

The network ignited the news anytime, anywhere phenomenon, and D’Alba has facilitated the company’s rise in his nearly 25-year career there. He’s currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of CNN advertising sales and marketing. It’s a long way from his first television job: an internship at WKBW-TV Channel 7, in Buffalo, New York.

Today D’Alba is responsible for creating new marketing strategies, overseeing all domestic ad sales and handling business operations for the entire CNN portfolio of news networks and businesses (he also manages all direct response business for all of Turner Broadcasting System). This gives him a bird’s-eye view that’s perfect for foreseeing the impacts that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google are having
on a rapidly changing media horizon. “There isn’t anything we do in this business that doesn’t have a monetization trail based on the growth of technology,” D’Alba says. “That’s what excites me the most, where I see our future growth and the ability to reach more consumers based on the media they’re consuming.”

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