AOL Names de Castro as Head of Interactive Services

America Online, Inc. has named James de Castro, formerly the chief executive officer of AMFM Radio Group, as president of AOL Interactive Services, where he will run the Dulles, Va.-based flagship AOL service. He will report to AOL Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly.

With responsibilities that include overseeing all aspects of AOL’s Internet service, de Castro said he hopes to strengthen AOL’s ease of use and customer convenience and develop new content and services for members.

“Jimmy de Castro has successfully built advertiser-supported media companies for more than two decades. He is an outstanding manager and a major talent. He thrived in the highly competitive radio business because he understands audience segments and knows how to develop programming that appeals to everyone from teens to seniors,” said Bob Pittman, AOL Time Warner chief operating officer-elect. “With his clear consumer focus, he will accelerate our strategy of reaching out to traditional advertisers and demonstrating the immense power of AOL to deliver unparalleled value to our partners.”

de Castro has more than 25 years of experience building radio and Internet businesses. He began as a general manager of the Chicago radio station, WLUP-FM and WMVP-AM, and went on to build the nation’s largest radio concern, AMFM Radio Group, with 465 stations in 105 markets, reaching more than 65 million listeners.

“For mass market consumers, the AOL brand is synonymous with the Internet. The AOL service has quickly grown into one of the world’s largest and most influential media properties, and it is still only at the early stages of its development,” said de Castro. “There is no more interesting challenge in the media world now than helping AOL build its already substantial member base, establish closer partnerships with mainstream advertisers, develop innovative programming, features and content, and create new broadband and other add-on services.”

As president and chief operating officer of Evergreen Media during the 1990s, de Castro was instrumental in the 1997 merger of Evergreen Media with Chancellor Broadcasting Company, creating Chancellor Media Corp. In 1999, de Castro became vice chairman of Chancellor and president and chief executive officer of its Radio Group, overseeing the company’s radio stations in more than 100 markets as well as its outdoor advertising business. In 1999, Chancellor changed its name to AMFM, Inc. and in 2000, the company merged with Clear Channel Communications.

Under de Castro’s leadership, AMFM also formed three divisions focusing on Internet and related business, and expanded its outdoor advertising businesses. After leaving AMFM, he created Nothing But Net, which oversaw de Castro’s board participation and investments in companies such as Ultimate, Inc., which provided access to sports and entertainment events through online and mainstream partnerships.

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