Angela T. Ingram is Senior Vice President of Communications for iHeartMedia’s Multiplatform Group in Chicago and Director of Local Advocacy and Engagement for BIN: Black Information Network.
She was interviewed by Suzanne Gougherty, Director of MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council. MMTC’s commentary appears regularly on Radio World, which welcomes other perspectives on industry issues.
Suzanne Gougherty: How has your experience in radio in general and as senior vice president of communications for iHeartMedia’s multi-platform group in Chicago specifically equipped you with the capabilities needed to successfully navigate local advocacy and engagement from BIN?
Angela T. Ingram: My professional experience spans over three decades in management and marketing, community engagement, and communications strategy for some of iHeartMedia’s top-rated radio stations in Louisville, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Chicago.
iHeartMedia Chicago’s station brands are the foundation of the Chicagoland community. I have the immense responsibility of serving as a link between the market and the community. I fulfill this responsibility by building local and national partnerships through engagement with nonprofit organizations, business and civic leaders, and elected officials. The same goes for BIN. Although we are a national network, our primary responsibility is to serve our local communities by ensuring that BIN’s programming serves and reflects the realities of the communities in our affiliate markets.
[Read: Getting a Look Inside the BIN]
Gougherty: How do you navigate between the two positions you hold – scouting for local stations as a core member of iHeartMedia’s cross-platform group in Chicago while at the same time being the primary conduit for BIN affiliates?
Ingram: Community engagement is the foundation of both positions. The key is determining the needs of local communities, encouraging meaningful input from local business and civic leaders, and local market leadership. The final steps are to develop and execute a plan to meet and support these needs. Chicago has an incredible team led by Matt Scarano, President of iHeartMedia Chicago. He truly believes in “superserving” the community and provides tremendous support that allows me to seamlessly navigate between the two positions.
Gougherty: Please share with us your particular management traits, there must be many to manage your position at BIN.
Ingram: There is one trait that trumps all others: integrity. If I lead with integrity, be it iHeartMedia Chicago or BIN, our mission will be accomplished. The trust factor must be developed upstream between the company and the local communities. My main responsibility is to maintain this trust and to ensure that our programming is relevant to our local markets based on an honest determination of needs and priorities.
Gougherty: Please share with us how your role as Director of Advocacy and Local Engagement best positions BIN in local communities.
Ingram: I am the connector between BIN as a Network Service and the local communities serving BIN Affiliate Stations, and responsible for advocating for BIN’s mission to non-profit organizations, civic and business leaders, and elected officials. The mission must be clear in every local community we serve – a dedicated, high-quality, trusted source of 24/7 news coverage with a black voice and perspective, focused solely on the black community.
We have developed several benchmark initiatives to amplify BIN’s mission in affiliate markets. We produce a weekly public affairs show, “The Black Perspective”, featuring current affairs interviews and guests from local communities. We are also launching a monthly public affairs show “Ask the Mayors” to provide the unprecedented number of Black mayors in the United States with a forum to shine a light on their cities.
In most iHeartMedia markets, we have a local advisory committee that brings together business and civic leaders and iHeartMedia leaders to engage in an open discussion about how we can better serve local communities in the market. As co-chair of the iHeartMedia Chicago LAB, along with a diverse group of nearly 60 business and civic leaders, I have seen firsthand the benefit of giving local communities a “voice” and staying close of those who monitor and shape public opinion.
In October, we are launching a virtual BIN Local Roundtable (BLR) with business and civic leaders from some of our affiliate markets to further engage and give a “voice” to our local communities. We are also planning a quarterly BIN Affiliate Newsletter to share best practices and forge better collaboration across local markets.
Gougherty: With the pandemic especially last year, most of your affiliate communications have taken place on Zoom, Teams or other platforms. What were the challenges?
Ingram: The possibility of face-to-face meetings is always the privileged communication. That said, the virtual option has turned a challenge into an opportunity to make important presentations and share BIN’s mission with local affiliates, business and civic leaders, members of Congress, and even the White House.
Gougherty: Last summer’s social unrest had a major effect on local communities. Please share how you were able to position BIN Affiliates as a community resource during this critical time.
Ingram: BIN was a trusted resource for local communities at a critical time in our history. Our goal then and now is to provide reliable, responsible and responsive service to the black community. Whether it’s BIN’s coverage of the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, live coverage of Derek Chauvin’s trial and verdict, the inauguration of the first black American vice president, presenters and reporters BIN award winners provided up-close and personal reporting on the stories that impacted our local communities on BIN affiliates and the iHeartRadio app.
Gougherty: The day-to-day life of a Director of Advocacy and Local Engagement requires working closely with Tony Coles (BIN President) and Tanita Myers (VP/Press Operations) and Chris Thompson (VP of BIN/Network Operations) ) – please give an idea of how you handle the process.
Ingram: Tony Coles has built an incredible team at BIN. I have known him for almost 14 years. We worked closely together when he was vice president of programming at iHeartMedia Chicago. Tony is an exceptional leader and I am honored to work with him again. I have great respect for Tanita Myers and Chris Thompson and their 24/7 commitment to the network. We combine our talent, experience and connections to ensure that our network programming stays true to BIN’s focus on black culture, social justice, education, HBCUs, faith and religion, wealth black and black health.
Gougherty: A long week — how to relax and refuel?
Ingram: I am an avid reader and can easily read 4-6 books a month, sometimes more, to clear my mind and get away from it all. I enjoy spending time with my husband, my family and my close circle of friends. The ultimate fuel for me is my spiritual relationship with God. Over seven years ago, I co-founded the iServe women’s ministry for our church and remain actively involved in that ministry, which includes co-hosting a weekly virtual Bible study with women in Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis.