Michael J. Hayes, BA'88, is the chief operating officer/deputy group head for Hearst Television, a national multimedia organization that serves one of every five households in the country.
He previously served as chairman of the ABC Television Affiliates Board of Governors and was a Hearst Television senior vice president from 2013 to 2017 and executive vice president from 2017 to 2021.
Hayes has worked in various capacities for the television/radio industry in cities across the country, the last 25 years with Hearst. He was the president and general manager at Hearst’s WTAE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh. He led a revitalization of WTAE, returning one of the company’s heritage properties to first place in morning and late news. Before moving to WTAE, Hayes was president and general manager of one of the most prominent stations in the Southeast, Hearst’s WYFF-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, television market. During his time there, the station was honored with a Peabody Award, a National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Award and a national Edward R. Murrow Award.
Prior to WYFF, Hayes was general sales manager of WLWT-TV, Hearst’s NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, after serving in sales and management positions in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Austin, Texas; St. Louis; and Peoria, Illinois.
He began his broadcast television career as a sportscaster and producer at WISH-TV, at the time the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis. Hayes has worked both on-air and on the sales and management side of the industry throughout his career.
He leaned into journalism during his time at IU, working as a staffer at the Indiana Daily Student. For the IDS, Hayes covered soccer, swimming and diving, and IU’s 1987 national championship-winning men’s basketball team. Witnessing those teams helped build his appreciation for strong leadership and using teamwork to reach goals.
He regularly volunteers his time with educational institutions. He currently serves on the IU Media School Dean’s Advisory Board. He was previously a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Health and Social Sciences.
Hayes has participated in NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training program and trained at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as an NAB Professional.
Among many civic activities, Hayes is a past chairman of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce and a former vice chairman of the United Way of Greenville County and the Urban League of the Upstate.
Hayes also served as a director of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters and was the first chairman asked and elected to a second term of the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, into whose Hall of Fame he was inducted in March 2022.