In a classy move of forgive-and-forget, Bell Media has hired experienced radio executive Rob Farina as a senior advisor for the launch of iHeartRadio in Canada. He begins his role on May 1, 2016. iHeartMedia, the largest radio company in the U.S., announced its expansion into the country earlier this year.
Farina is the Rogers Radio exec who sent an "urgent letter" to fellow Canadian broadcasters last November, accusing Bell Media and new president of entertainment production and broadcasting Randy Lennox of using his former position as long-time Universal Music Canada’s president to land exclusive content opportunities. Farina quickly apologized and resigned.
"This is a very clear case of me respecting the man and understanding that people make mistakes," Lennox told Billboard. "Rob and I had a series of meals together. Rob is the very best person to help lead in our exciting commitment to iHeartRadio and he is going to kill it. I always knew Rob to be a highly skilled professional and I'm looking forward to more of the same."
Farina's advisory position will primarily involve the development, launch and overall execution of iHeartRadio. He will focus on partnerships with the broadcast and music industry, as well as growing strategic relationships within the automotive and consumer electronics industries.
"This year promises to be pivotal for Canadian radio listeners, as they will soon have access to a truly game-changing digital service," David Corey, vice-president, programming, Bell Media Radio, said in a press statement. "We know Rob’s significant experience and extensive network will help elevate the launch of the iHeartRadio service in Canada."
Farina said: "I am elated to work with Randy, David, and the Bell Media team on the launch of the iHeartRadio platform here in Canada. Our goal is to create an incredible national brand for consumers, one that is synonymous with well-curated formats and a diverse range of personalities in both official languages."
The iHeartRadio digital service in Canada will showcase content from Bell Media, the country’s largest radio broadcaster with 106 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across the country. Earlier this month, Bell Media announced the debut of iHeart Radio Fest (formerly known as CHUM FM FanFest) during Canadian Music Week on May 6. As well, Bell Media will present the first-ever broadcast in Canada of the iHeart Radio Music Awards, April 9, on CTV.
The press release states that, "Upon launch, iHeartRadio in Canada will provide instant access to the live radio feature offering listeners throughout Canada all of Bell Media’s broadcast and digital-only radio stations across mobile, auto dashes, tablets and smartphones, gaming consoles, wearables, and more."