The company, which recently shifted its focus to its television stations after selling its newspaper properties to Berkshire Hathaway, has replaced its current market structure of five geographic regions with a new structure of two geographic regions to be headed by Jim Conschafter and John Cottingham who become vice presidents.
Media General today announced that the company is streamlining its market structure and operations “to align with its new focus as a pure-play television broadcaster.” The changes are effective immediately.
The company’s current market structure of five geographic regions will be replaced by a new structure of two geographic regions, focused on its 18 network-affiliated television stations. James R. Conschafter and John R. Cottingham were elected corporate VPs by the board of directors. Each will have operating responsibility for one of the two new geographic regions.
Media General also announced that John A. Schauss, VP-market operations, is retiring. The company will not fill this role, and the two new positions held by Conschafter and Cottingham will report directly to Marshall N. Morton, president-CEO of Media General.
“With our June 25 sale of newspapers, Media General is focusing all of its resources on its broadcast television group. We are delighted that our two most experienced broadcast executives will lead our television operations. I thank John Schauss for his many contributions to Media General and wish John and his wife, Joan, all the best in retirement,” said Morton.
“We are committed to increasing broadcast cash flow and EBITDA margins,” he added. “One component of margin improvement will be the alignment of our corporate structure with our new business focus. The streamlining of our market structure and operations is a key first step in that process,” he added.
Media General said that the company’s other two current market leaders, Marilyn Hammond, president and market leader-North Carolina, and Dan Bradley, president and market leader-Ohio/Rhode Island, will remain with Media General in key roles that will be announced later.
Conschafter is responsible for the following markets and stations:
- North Carolina: Greenville, WNCT; Raleigh, WNCN
- Ohio: Columbus, WCMH
- Rhode Island: Providence, WJAR
- South Carolina: Spartanburg/Greenville, WSPA and Asheville, N.C.: WYCW; Florence/Myrtle Beach, WBTW
- Virginia: Roanoke, WSLS
- Tennessee: Johnson City, WJHL
Cottingham is responsible for the following markets and stations:
- Alabama: Birmingham, WVTM; Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla.,
- Florida: Tampa, WFLA
- Georgia: Augusta, WJBF; Columbus, WRBL; Savannah,
- Mississippi: Jackson, WJTV and Hattiesburg, WHLT
- South Carolina: Charleston, WCBD
Conschafter has been president and market leader, Virginia-Tennessee since 2010. Previously, he had served in that role for the company’s North Carolina market since July 2009. Prior to that, he had been SVP-broadcast stations, within the company’s former broadcast division, since 2004.
Conschafter joined Media General in 2000 with the company’s acquisition of Spartan Communications, where he had served as general manager. He began at Media General as VP-GM of WSPA and two stations that are no longer owned by Media General. Earlier in his career, he held management and sales leadership positions at network affiliates in North Carolina, New York, Missouri and Ohio. Conschafter is a graduate of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.
Cottingham has been president and market leader, Mid-South, since July 2009. Earlier this year, he assumed additional responsibility for the company’s Florida market. Prior to assuming his current role, Cottingham had been SVP-broadcast stations, within the company’s former broadcast division, since 2005.
He joined Media General in 2001 as VP-GM of three stations, including WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C. Earlier in his career, he held management and sales leadership positions at a number of stations in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana. Cottingham attended Belmont Abbey College.