Two months after joining local media network Townsquare Media, ex-AOL (NYSE: AOL) content head Bill Wilson has brought along several former colleagues from his old company. Wilson, who left AOL in May after CEO Tim Armstrong tapped ex-Google (NSDQ: GOOG) exec David Eun to run content, is also adding more content categories to Townsquare, and is launching a national music vertical and a lifestyle brand.
Wilson is charged with charting the company’s digital strategy. To help him in that endeavor, he’s hired 11 people so far in areas of product design, engineering, strategy, operations, editorial and social media. He’s also now confirming a Business Insider report from last month that Jared Willig, head of Moviefone, PopEater, Asylum and AOL TV, is leaving AOL to work with him.
In addition here’s the rundown of the other AOL execs he’s named to Townsquare’s roster: Sun Sachs, who was the VP of Design and Product for AOL Media, Pete Schiecke, the head of AOL Radio, Stephen Lenz, editor-in-chief of Moviefone, Juan Sarria, a lead engineer,, Jon Gamel, an art director, Eric Tsuei, content management systems staffer, along with three other AOL editorial side employees. Wilson says he’s at work on the next round of hires.
Wilson was considered the architect of AOL’s content strategy going back to 2006. The strategy went through a number of iterations, which included distancing the content side from the rest of the company with the formation of content studio Mediaglow. But the central idea of moving away from a portal approach to focus on niche brands was his signiture. AOL has since tried to balance things between the portal and the niche sites as part of its recent homepage revamp.
At Townsquare, which is mostly known as a radio network with 183 stations in 36 markets, is trying to build a digital presence around those properties. Wilson is taking a similar approach to what he did at AOL to his new job.
Townsquare is launching Taste of Country, an attempt to create an all-encompassing country music destination site around its various radio stations, which is similar to what Wilson did in creating The Boot at AOL.
On top of all that, Wilson has been concentrating on completely overhauling Townsquare’s existing radio station websites and is launching 30 of them across six markets, offering local entertainment info and and news targeted at the respective stations’ particular audiences. Previously, Wilson says, “the sites were viewed as one-way extensions of the radio broadcasts that occurred on-air and were not taking advantage of the interactive components of the medium.”
As a number of new and existing entities race into the local market to capture untapped ad dollars, one thing is for certain: it helps to have an offline brand to promote your content.