Meet Paul Corvino, the World’s Most Interesting Boss

By Chuck Bennett

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Photo by Boswell Hardwick

His staff calls him, “The world’s most interesting boss.” To others, throughout Metro Detroit, he’s a very important man in media, in fact, one of the most powerful around. His name is Paul Corvino, and he is the Regional President of IHeart Media Greater Detroit Area, where he oversees 25 radio stations in Michigan and Ohio.

“Paul may be the most fascinating boss I’ve ever had,” says Fox 2 News anchor Jay Towers, who hosts the WNIC Morning Show. “No matter the situation or the topic of the conversation, Paul always interjects a larger-than-life story or experience that will blow your mind.”

His stories are so legendary that they’ve created a character on the popular morning show that has fun with Corvino’s remarkable life. “Hearing Paul talk is amazing,” says Allyson Martinek, a cast member of the WNIC Morning Show. He’s so cool, and he’s got the best stories, normally that level of Boss doesn’t even talk to you. ”

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Towers adds more color to the picture: “How many people can say they work for a guy who’s closed deals on a yacht at the Cannes Lions Festival, fought in the Thunder Dome at Burning Man, and has a Bruce Wayne (Batman) style study with a working Bat Pole at his home? Talk about an adventure at work every day. I adore him.”

Towers and Martinek are not the only big-name talent that report to Corvino. Among others, he’s also got Mojo in the Morning, Shannon, Spike, Bushman, Doug Podell, and Dr. Darrius, to name a few. All are continuously delighting listeners on a regular basis.

“Well, I’m certainly not going to discuss their salaries, but people like Jay and Mojo, I will say they’re worth every penny because they’re so good at what they do,” says Corvino over a recent Saturday brunch at San Morello inside the Shinola Hotel. “First of all, you have no idea how hard they work and how much prep goes into those shows.” And those seamless performances must play perfectly on a daily basis to a market that is known nationally to be one of the toughest audiences in the country.

“There’s something different about Detroit, and not just for radio,” Corvino continues. “There’s a pride that people have here. You can make fun of it as part of the family, but no one else can talk about it. I came from L.A. after 12 years there and spent most of my life in New York. I can honestly say there is nothing like the people in Detroit. There’s a saying I like to quote that goes, ‘Your friends in L.A. will help you move. Your friends in Detroit will help you move the body.”

According to Corvino, radio is still the most trusted form of media. “People get in their cars and listen to that morning show,” he says. “Even with our podcasts, they want to listen to podcasts hosted by their friends from radio. Ninety-two percent of the entire population of the U.S. listens to radio at least once a week. Radio has not declined in any way, our reach is as big as it’s ever been.”

Corvino says, he considers himself a Detroiter at this point. And this fall, he will move the IHeart offices from Farmington Hills to Eastern Market in downtown Detroit. “We’ve got some really great leaders in Detroit, who are doing remarkable jobs in moving this city forward,” he continues. “We’ve got Dan Gilbert, Christos Moisides, the Gatzaros family, Pete Karmanos, Tom Celani, the Ilitch and Ford families -- these are people who are going to bring this city back. I’m a big fan of the mayor’s and Police Chief James Craig does an extraordinary job. And I’m looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things that are going to happen”

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In the early years, growing up in New York, Corvino wanted to be a poet. Sadly, he discovered after graduating college, poets don’t make a lot of money, so he started boxing to supplement his income. “I started fighting on Tuesdays at the Tropicana in Atlantic City,” he recalls. “I would get $275 for a 4-round fight. I won my first fight so I started thinking I could beat Marvin Hagler and become the middleweight champion of the world.”

That dream didn’t last long, but it was certainly the prelude to becoming the world’s most interesting boss. At the time, people became quite intrigued with the young, dashing, poet/boxer, who was rapidly becoming a fixture in New York’s cultural scene.

At the legendary Studio 54, he met someone in upper management at The New York Times, who got him a job interview. He started there in sales and worked his way up to Managing Director. Next, he got a call from prominent businessman, Bob Pittman, asking him to come work at a new start up called AOL. “As always, Bob had his hands on the pulse of something big,” says Corvino. “I’ve been fortunate to see Bob go through many of his successes, and I’m extremely happy to have him as my boss today.”

After a good run with AOL, Corvino moved to L.A. to make movies. “I wrote and produced a film called, “The Reunion,” that won the Best Screenplay at the New York International Film Festival,” he recalls. That was fun. I got involved in a few other mildly successful films but eventually I decided that business was not for me, I wanted to get back into what I really knew best, which is media.

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Corvino lives in an impressive estate in Grosse Pointe that he shares with his girlfriend of 7 years, Sarah Dash. Dash is a smart and creative psychotherapist that looks like a supermodel. They share the space with their two Maine Coon cats. “I got them reluctantly to make Sarah happy, but I’ve actually grown attached to them.”

Corvino likes playing basketball and working out at the gym in his house. One of his favorite pastimes is getting out having dinner, meeting people, with clients and friends. “My clients have become my friends,” he adds I really enjoy that. I’m out every day for lunch and dinner, trying new restaurants, sharing stories.”

Corvino’s young adult sons, Ron, Casey, and Nick live in cities in other parts of the country, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. “My goal is for all of us to wind up in the same place,” adds Corvino. “That’s the only thing that will get me to move from Detroit.”

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In the 3 years that he’s lived in Detroit, Corvino has won many hearts. “He’s a really good guy,” says Mojo in the Morning. “I just had open heart surgery. When I was down, he checked on my wife and kids every single day. He’s the President of the company. Every day he took out time to call my family. As a friend, he is the best. As a boss, even better. I knock on wood every morning that Paul will always be my boss and that he will never leave Detroit to go off into something bigger.”

Mojo, we join you in those sentiments. Corvino is one of the good guys. He has positive vibes about Detroit and is in the process of initiating a number of plans to help promote the vitality of city. We think we’ll keep him around, and hopefully; he’ll stay.

Knock on wood.