KINGSTON, R.I. — June 30, 2021 — University of Rhode Island alumnus Adam Wiener ‘87 was recently presented with the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) prestigious 2021 Digital Leadership Award. The award is presented annually to an individual, group, network or broadcast station that has played a key role in transforming traditional broadcast news to be successful in the digital world.
Wiener, who has been on the forefront of the digital media revolution for more than 30 years, serves as executive vice president and general manager for CBS Local Digital Media. He is responsible for all digital-related activities for owned and operated CBS television stations, including product development, technology, editorial, streaming, social media, sales, marketing, and operations. Wiener conceived of and led the rollout of CBSN Local—around-the-clock news streams powered by the local CBS television station newsrooms that reach viewers via connected television, desktop, and mobile devices through the CBS news app, local station websites, Pluto TV, and through the new Paramount+ streaming service.
In accepting his award, Wiener commented on the evolution and digitalization of news, saying, “I believe ‘now’ is the most important word in the English language. It’s the essence of media…while staying current and in the ‘now’ is the most challenging aspect of media, it’s also what has driven innovation throughout my career. Being a part of the transformation around how media is both created and consumed, has been very rewarding.”
After graduating from URI, Wiener joined CBS News network television, where he manned the foreign desk as the Cold War ended, and covered Gov. Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. He served as senior producer of “Up To The Minute,” the first news broadcast from any network that had a dedicated website. He was also instrumental in helping to launch CBSNews.com, becoming at the time, the youngest executive producer in CBS News history. Wiener went on to hold senior digital operational management positions at various start-ups and traditional media companies before returning to CBS in 2010 to launch CBS Local Digital Media.
Looking back over the past 30 years in the news industry, Wiener is quick to comment on the fast pace of technology and change, and the responsibility of broadcasters to adapt quickly: “It’s been critically important to realize that viewers are changing their habits and that we need to be everywhere to meet their needs,” he said. “It’s a real challenge to stay on top of what both ‘cord cutters,’ the existing audiences who are looking for alternate platforms, and ‘cord nevers,’ who may have never consumed traditional broadcast news, expect in terms of news content and ease of access. It’s our job to anticipate and constantly evolve. If we do it right, and we are able to tap into new audiences, all the better.”
Wiener serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at his alma mater and he was awarded a Distinguished Achievement/Dean’s List Award from the University in 2016. He has also supported the Harrington School in recent years through generous philanthropic contributions.
“On behalf of the University of Rhode Island, I congratulate Adam on this award recognizing his professional innovations that have transformed the delivery of broadcast news,” said Jeannette E. Riley, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are grateful to have someone of Adam’s talent engaged with the Harrington School, sharing information about the evolution of digital media, which helps inform how we prepare our students for success in the field.”