The Cox Media Group has announced a change in overall strategy with a new focus on larger markets and places where it can use cross-media collaboration - pairing newspaper, radio and television assets - to have a heightened impact. The new plan includes selling more than 25 radio stations in six markets while also acquiring four new television stations and preparing to sell four others.
"This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially," said President Doug Franklin. "We will also continue to bolster our core portfolio with new, high-growth initiatives that focus on emerging advertising and scalable content."
Up for sale is the company's Birmingham, Ala. (Market 59) cluster which includes the three highest rated stations in the last book -- urban AC WBHK, country WZZK and top 40 WBHJ - along with religious WAGG-AM, classic hits WBPT-FM, urban AC WENN-AM, sports WZNN-FM and contract rights to rhythmic CHR WALJ-FM in Northport, Alabama.
Louisville (Market 54) is the largest radio market where the company plans to divest stations. Up for sale are country WQNU and adult contemporary WVEZ, which were ranked fourth and fifth respectively for total audience shares in the Spring Arbitron ratings book, as well as classic rock WSFR and classic country WRKA.
In Richmond (Market 55) Cox plans to sell country WKHK, the second highest rated station in the spring, as well as Top 40 WHTI-FM, Classic Rock WKLR-FM and Hot AC WURV-FM.
Also on the sale list are: WJMZ-FM/HD3 and WHZT-FM in Greenville SC; KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM in Hawaii; and WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and CMG's contract rights for WYBC-FM in southern Connecticut.
On the television side the company has acquired two Jacksonville, FL stations -- WAWS-TV and WTEV-TV, -- and two Tulsa stations - KOKI-TV and KMYT-TV. Cox plans to sell KFOX-TV, El Paso, WJAC-TV, Johnstown, KRXI-TV -- and CMG's option and other contract rights for KAME-TV, Reno and WTOV-TV in Steubenville, OH.