Joe Ahern Out as President of CBS TV’s Chicago O&O

Joe Ahern is out as president and general manager of WBBM-TV, CBS Television’s owned-and-operated station in Chicago. He is being replaced by Bruno Cohen, who, since April 2005, has served as president and general manager of KOVR-TV (CBS) and KMAX-TV (CW), the company’s duopoly in Sacramento.

Ahern’s exit was explained in a press release as “leaving to pursue other opportunities,” but ratings have been weak at the station during the six years of Ahern’s tenure, leaving WBBM’s local news trailing ABC’s WLS-TV and NBC’s WMAQ.

It will be Cohen’s job to turn around WBBM’s position in the market. “Bruno Cohen is one of our finest and most innovative general managers and has done a tremendous job of building our Sacramento duopoly, growing business and creating a strong identity for our stations in the marketplace,” said Tom Kane, president and CEO of CBS Television Stations. “We are confident that his breadth of experience and outstanding leadership abilities will be extremely well received by our employees as well as business and community leaders in Chicago and will help us to raise the bar considerably in this important market.”

Under Cohen’s leadership in Sacramento, CBS’ duopoly delivered ratings and revenue growth and produce a market-leading 68 hours of award-winning local news programming.

Before joining CBS, Cohen was senior vp of programming and executive vp of business news for CNBC from 1996 to 2002. Prior to that, he was vp and news director for WNBC-TV, NBC Universal’s flagship in New York.