Croasdale Moves On

Bill Croasdale, Initiative Media North America’s celebrated national broadcast star and a veteran of more than 30 upfronts, is leaving the business at the end of the month. The announcement that he will help his son Robert launch a sports marketing company in San Diego met with a round of congratulations from his peers.

“Bill is one of those icons who helped build and shape the industry,” said Jon Mandel, MediaCom’s chief negotiating officer. “Everybody in this business should do more than read TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. They really should spend some time with Bill to understand it.”

Croasdale’s 40-year career included top spots at McCann-Erickson, BBDO, Backer & Spielvogel and NBC. He was at Initiative and its predecessor, Western International Media, for nearly a decade.

Croasdale, 64, was among the most quoted national broadcast executives in the country and was widely considered one of the most adept programming handicappers. On his watch, Initiative’s network TV division became one of the most influential in the nation. Its current leader, Tim Spengler, is a Croasdale protégé.

“When I became a salesperson, that was the first big shop I called on,” said Larry Goodman, president of CNN sales and marketing. “Bill called me in and said, ‘It’s a simple formula: be here, be seen and be nice.’ And he was right. … Bill Croasdale, as much as any single person I’ve known, has shaped a code of ethics under which our business operates.”

“It’s sad when an icon leaves,” said Lou Schultz, Initiative chairman and CEO. “So few people have had Bill’s breadth and depth of experience.”