Cox To Shed Smaller Media Properties, Shuffle Management
28 Radio Stations On The Block
July 20, 2012 at 9:59 AM (PT)
As part of a major reorganization, COX MEDIA GROUP (CMG) is realigning its broadcast portfolio to "focus on larger markets, cross-media collaboration, and heightened impact in fewer markets." Translation: It will acquire four new TV stations in two markets -- JACKSONVILLE, FL and TULSA, OK -- and will sell 28 radio stations in six medium and small markets, as well as four TV stations in four small markets. COX's leadership hierarchy has also been realigned.
On the radio side, CMG plans on divesting stations in the following markets:
* BIRMINGHAM (WAGG-A, WBHJ, WBHK, WENN-A, WZZK, WZNN, WBPT, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ)
* GREENVILLE (WJMZ-/HD3, WHZT)
* HAWAII (KRTR-A/F, KPHW, KCCN, KINE, KKNE-A)
* LOUISVILLE (WRKA, WVEZ, WSFR, WQNU)
* RICHMOND (WHTI, WKHK, WKLR, WURV)
* SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT (WPLR, WEZN, WFOX and CMG’s contract rights for WYBC)
On the TV side, CMG will add WAWS-TV (FOX) and WTEV-TV (CBS)/JACKSONVILLE, as well as KOKI-TV (FOX) and KMYT-TV (MYNETWORK)/TULSA. Following receipt of regulatory approvals, the company will take ownership of three of the new stations and will provide operating services to the fourth. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter.
CMG will also sell KFOX-TV (FOX)/EL PASO, WJAC-TV (NBC)/JOHNSTOWN, WTOV-TV (NBC)/STEUBENVILLE, and KRXI-TV and CMG’s option and other contract rights for KAME-TV (FOX)/RENO.
"This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially," CMG Pres. DOUG FRANKLIN said. "All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities. We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities."
Realigning Personnel, Too
Simultaneously, CMG is realigning its leadership structure to fit its new portfolio, better focus on the specific media platforms (newspaper, radio, TV), and further drive collaboration and growth. The new appointments include:
* Former Group VP KIM GUTHRIE is CMG’s new SVP, responsible for radio markets, and former AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN Publisher JANE WILLIAMS is the company’s new SVP. responsible for TV markets, both reporting to EVP/Broadcast BILL HOFFMAN.
* Former Group VP RICH REIS is now VP and GM/Digital Operations, reporting to EVP NEIL JOHNSTON.
* Former Group VP BEN REED is now VP/Market Manager of ATLANTA radio, reporting to KIM GUTHRIE. He succeeds DAN KEARNEY, who is now VP/Market Manager of MIAMI radio. KEARNEY succeeds JERRY RUSHIN, who is retiring from the company later this month.
* Former Group VP JAY O’CONNOR, as previously announced, is the new VP/GM at KIRO TV/SEATTLE.
* Additionally, EVP MIKE JOSEPH continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG/OHIO. The company will announce the new publisher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN in the near future.
"Our new business realignment enables us to simplify our structure and continue our strategic initiatives of driving cash flow, extending our strong local brands into digital, and continuing the development of our talented people," FRANKLIN noted. "We will also continue to bolster our core portfolio with new, high-growth initiatives that focus on emerging advertising and scalable content."