Emmis Corporation has announced Rick Cummings will retire on September 1 after 43 years with the company.
Cummings joined Emmis in 1981 as Program Director of 97.1 WENS Indianapolis. He rose to National Program Director in 1984 where he would oversee launches including “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles and both WFAN and “Hot 97” WQHT New York. He was named President of Emmis’ radio division in 2002 and President of Programming in 2008. He will continue to serve as a consultant for Emmis as it continues to pivot away from its former radio operations into a tech holding company.
Emmis Corporation’s Rick Cummings, the programming genius behind LA’s Power 106 and New York’s Hot97, as well as dozens of other radio stations and formats across the United States, announced his retirement from full-time employment effective September 1, 2023, after 43 years with the company. He will remain a consultant with Emmis.
“Save my immediate family, nothing has given me more joy in life than working for Jeff (Smulyan) and Emmis,” Cummings said. “This company has afforded me extraordinary professional and personal opportunities, here and abroad, that no kid from rural Indiana could ever have imagined. I am eternally grateful for this and the future as Emmis allows me to continue in a consulting role. As I told Jeff, ‘I’ll work for you until they carry one of us out!’”
“Rick and I have been together every day since Emmis started, and we worked together even before that,” Jeff Smulyan, Emmis founder and chairman of the board said. “It’s hard to describe our relationship, but no one has contributed more to the success of Emmis for 43 years than Rick and no one has been a better friend and partner. It is hard to see Rick wanting to slow down, but he has certainly earned the right to do that. Knowing that he will remain as a consultant means that we will continue to work and laugh together for a long time.”
A Cloverdale, Indiana native and Butler University graduate, Cummings became Emmis Broadcasting’s first program director at flagship station WENS FM, 97.1 in 1981. In 1984, he was named Emmis’ National Program Director, launching KPWR Power 106 in Los Angeles, followed by WQHT Hot97 in New York, and then the country’s first all-sports station, WFAN in New York. In 2002, he became President of the Radio Division of Emmis Communications, overseeing more than 20 radio stations. In 2008, he became President of Programming for Emmis’ domestic radio group.
Cummings, 72, is a past member of the National Association of Broadcasters and Radio Advertising Bureau boards and is Trustee Emeritus at his alma mater, Butler University.