Cox to Form Media Group

Hoping to leverage operating efficiencies across all its local media divisions, Cox Enterprises announced Wednesday (Dec. 13) it is reorganizing Cox Newspapers, Cox Television and Cox Radio under one business unit, Cox Media Group, effective January 2009. The subsidiary, headquartered in Atlanta, will be headed by Sandy Schwartz as president.

The reorganization reduces the number of Cox Enterprises operating companies from six to four: Cox Media Group, Manheim, Inc., Auto Trader and Cox Communications. Although Cox Radio will be part of the Cox Media Group, it will remain the only publicly traded company in Cox’s portfolio.

Cox Media Group will include 17 daily and 26 nondaily newspapers; 15 TV stations including TeleRep and Cox Cross Media, 86 radio stations; and more than a hundred digital services associated with those groups. In the group are assets Cox is looking to sell including Valpak and newspapers in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado.

“We are bringing together our wide array of digital resources that ultimately will lead to enhanced online and mobile experiences for all our audiences,” said Schwartz, who currently serves as president of Cox Newspapers and Auto Trader.

While the three units are expected to benefit from sharing corporate resources and market knowledge, each will be managed and run locally and separately.

“All of the publications, stations and digital properties we operate within Cox Media Group will continue to compete as the leading source of news, entertainment and information in the markets in which they operated,” said Schwartz.

As part of the impending reorganization, Doug Franklin, currently publisher of the Palm Beach Post, will be named executive vp of Cox Newspapers, reporting to Schwartz. Also reporting to Schwartz will be Cox TV’s Bruce Baker, who is succeeding Andy Fischer as executive vp. Jim Monahan, president of TeleRep and Cox Cross Media, which sells online advertising across all local media Web sites, will now report to Schwartz. Bob Neil, president and CEO of Cox Radio, will continue to report to the board.