As part of Cox Media's deal to buy TV stations in Jacksonville and Tulsa from Newport Television, the company announces that it will focus on larger markets and "cross-media collaboration.” As a result a number of small/medium market stations are being sold. Among those up for sale include 107.3 Jamz in Greenville, which usually is the number one station in that market. If you've ever taken the road trip between Charlotte and Atlanta, you've probably been locked into this station that always sounds good with a mix of R&B with a focus on the Upstate community.
Also being sold is Hip Hop station 95.7 Jamz, the "other" 98.7 Kiss FM that features R&B and Classic Soul, and the station with the heritage call letters WENN AM (which also broadcasts on an FM translator as Classic Hip Hop Power 102) in Birmingham. It was WENN, under Cox's innovative programming wing, that once featured the only full time Neo Soul station in the country.
Stations like these have been springboards to success for many radio DJ's and programmers across the country. Birmingham natives Rickey Smiley, who started out making guess appearances on local radio and his current co-host Ebony Steele as well have been successful. Before teaming up with Smiley, she co-hosted mornings in Da Ham on the Buck Wilde Morning Show on 95.7 Jamz.
We would hate for these training grounds, particularly for how Cox Media have dedicated the stations to purposely service the community, to be no longer around.
UPDATE: David DuBose, vice president and market manager for Cox Media in Birmingham said listeners should not expect any changes in the formats or the programming. DuBose, who helped launch 98.7 Kiss FM and 95.7 Jamz sixteen years ago, is interested in putting together a group to buy the stations. Read more...
Here's the official press release:
ATLANTA – Cox Media Group (CMG) is realigning its broadcast portfolio to focus on larger markets, cross-media collaboration, and heightened impact in fewer markets.
As part of this realignment, CMG will be adding four new TV stations in two markets – Jacksonville, Fla. and Tulsa, Okla. – to its broadcast group from Newport Television. 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. The new stations will provide opportunities for collaboration with CMG’s other businesses in those markets. The new stations include:
WAWS-TV (Fox) and WTEV-TV (CBS) in Jacksonville
KOKI-TV (Fox) and KMYT-TV (MyNetwork) in Tulsa
As part of its strategy and after careful consideration, CMG will be selling its radio locations in Birmingham, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; Hawaii; Louisville, Ky.; Richmond, Va.; and Southern Connecticut, as well as television stations in four markets ̶ El Paso, Texas; Johnstown, Pa.; Reno, Nev.; and Steubenville, Ohio.
“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.”
Leadership Realignment to Fit New Media Portfolio
Simultaneously, CMG is realigning its leadership structure to fit its new portfolio. This new structure 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 Senior Vice President responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman Publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new Senior Vice President 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. Ben 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 in 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 media properties for sale include:
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)
El Paso (KFOX-TV) (Fox affiliate)
Johnstown (WJAC-TV) (NBC affiliate)
Reno (KRXI-TV and CMG’s option and other contract rights for KAME-TV) (Fox affiliate)
Steubenville (WTOV-TV) (NBC affiliate)