Following yesterday’s purchase of TV duopolies in Jacksonville, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla., Cox Media Group is selling TV stations in El Paso, Texas; Johnstown, Pa.; Reno, Nev.; and Steubenville, Ohio. It’s also putting 28 radio stations on the block and reordering its executive leadership.
Cox Media Group (CMG) is realigning its broadcast portfolio in the wake of the announcement Thursday that it is buying four stations from Newport Television to “focus on larger markets, cross-media collaboration and heightened impact in fewer markets.”
CMG will be adding WAWS (Fox) and WTEV (CBS) in Jacksonville, Fla., as well as KOKI (Fox) and KMYT (MNT) in Tulsa, Okla. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter. Terms have not yet been disclosed.
Cox says the new stations will provide opportunities for collaboration with CMG’s other businesses in those markets.
Today it announced that as part of its new strategy, it will sell its television stations in four markets—El Paso, Texas (KFOX, Fox affiliate); Johnstown, Pa. (WJAC, NBC); Reno, Nev. (KRXI, Fox, and CMG’s option for KAME, MNT); and Steubenville, Ohio (WTOV, NBC).
“This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially,” said CMG President Doug Franklin. “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.”
Simultaneously, CMG is realigning its leadership structure to fit its new portfolio. This new structure, it says, “will provide even more focus on the specific media platforms (newspaper, radio, TV), while continuing to drive collaboration and growth.”
As a result, 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 Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast. Additional leadership changes effective immediately include:
- Former Group VP Rich Reis is now VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston.
- Former Group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie. Reed succeeds Dan Kearney, who is now VP and 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 and 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,” said Franklin. “We will also continue to bolster our core portfolio with new, high-growth initiatives that focus on emerging advertising and scalable content.”
Cox’s radio properties for sale are:
- Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM)
- Greenville (WJMZ-FM/HD3, WHZT-FM)
- Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM)
- Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM)
- Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM)
- Southern Connecticut (WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WYBC-FM)
CMG has retained Citi as adviser for the transactions and Dow Lohnes as transaction and regulatory counsel.