Deb McDermott

Deborah A. McDermott is the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Media Group. She has a 25-plus year career leading broadcast groups, including previously serving as Chief Operating Officer for Media General and Chief Executive Officer and President of Young Broadcasting. Along with leading broadcast companies, she was responsible for the successful acquisition, integration, and operation of more than 90 stations in large and small markets across the country, including stations in L.A. and San Francisco.

McDermott began her career as director of promotion and public relations and later, head of Programming & Operations at KOLN/KGIN in Lincoln, Nebraska, which she quickly parlayed into a position as program director at KMBC Kansas City. Three years later, at the age of 31, she took a position as station manager at WKRN in Nashville, Tennessee, where she later pioneered as the market’s first female general manager.

In 1996, McDermott was elevated to an executive VP role at Young Broadcasting and then to President in 2004. At Young, she helped lead the company out of a moment of great economic hardship and loss. Soon after Young purchased KRON-TV in San Francisco, the station lost its NBC network affiliation. This was followed by significant market advertising declines. The impact of losses at KRON-TV dragged the company into bankruptcy. McDermott righted the ship at KRON-TV by investing in local news expansion, which not only saved jobs but also developed a news powerhouse for San Francisco. It was her calm nature, operational excellence, and keenly aware leadership skills that helped her to lead the company out of Chapter 11. Following this, as CEO, she spearheaded Young’s successful mergers with Media General and LIN Media, ultimately overseeing the combined company’s more than 70 television stations.

Her leadership would be put to the test again during the merger with LIN when WISH-TV, the long-term CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, lost its network affiliation. Again, McDermott worked with the station’s leadership team to expand local news and programming, saving jobs and repositioning WISH as a market leader. Today both KRON-TV and WISH-TV operate on the same basic models that were built under McDermott’s leadership.

McDermott has received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career as a top executive in the broadcast industry. Most notably, in 2022, McDermott was named as one of the Giants of Broadcasting and the Electronic Arts Award from the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation.

From her early days at KOLN-KGIN in Nebraska to leading some of the most vital transactions in the broadcast industry, McDermott has earned recognition from both her staff and the industry at large as one of the nation’s top executives in broadcast media. Throughout her illustrious career, McDermott has remained steadfast in her belief in the power of local television news and programming and its partnership with network programming, while never shying away from adapting to changing media conditions. Her even-keeled nature and insistence on a hands-on approach have been key factors in her success.

McDermott received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from South Dakota State University in 1976. She was raised in a small town in South Dakota, McDermott alongside her four brothers and large extended family. She attributes her entrepreneurial spirit and natural leadership abilities to her father and grandfather, who were never afraid to take risks and invest in people and new ideas, leading to the success of their family businesses.

McDermott is the proud mother of her two sons, Kevin, and Conor, both of whom graduated from UCLA and have followed in their mother’s footsteps of excellence and hard work as professional football players in the NFL.

Family has always been a central value for McDermott – and the reason for her unwavering dedication and drive as a leader. Whether that means sticking with her family of broadcasters through hard times at Young Broadcasting or showing up to every single one of her sons’ football games, McDermott’s success can be attributed not only to her hard work but also to her commitment to investing in the people around her.