WILX Lansing Names Rick Sarata General Sales Manager

The veteran TV executive Sarata (l) will succeed Patrick Schooley (r) as head of sales at Gray’s NBC Michigan affiliate.

Gray Television’s NBC affiliate WILX Lansing, Mich., has hired Rick Sarata to lead the sales department as general sales manager. He will join the station on May 22.

Sarata has spent his career in sales and leadership for both television and radio. He served five years as vice president/market manager for Cumulus Media in Lansing, and five years as market president/chief revenue officer for the Townsquare radio group in Grand Rapids, Mich. And among other TV stops, he was general sales manager for more than four years at WXMI Grand Rapids, Mich.

“Rick is a charismatic leader with a history of developing successful client-focused partnerships and leading high-achieving sales teams,” said WILX General Manager Debbie Petersmark. This move completes a full circle in his career, as Sarata spent his early years in TV sales as an account executive at WILX. “We are excited to welcome Rick back,” said Petersmark, “And I suspect many of our local advertisers will be too.”

Sarata succeeds current WILX General Sales Manager Patrick Schooley, who has been with the station nearly 22 years. He started in 2002 as an account executive and transitioned to national sales manager for many years before becoming GSM in 2021. He was recently recruited by WILX’s parent company Gray Television to get back into national sales and has accepted the position of national sales manager for two Gray stations: KTTC Rochester, Minn. and WSAW Wausau, Wis. His last day at WILX will be May 19, and he will continue to live in Holt, Mich., in his new remote role.

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