Dayton place: Cox building houses triple-threat media cluster


Cox Media Group has the bases covered in Dayton OH, and it has now brought them all into one facility, consolidating the real estate of a daily newspaper, a network affiliated television station and four radio stations.

The Dayton Daily News, three WHIOs – CBS WHIO-TV and News Talk WHIO-AM and WHIO-FM, Country WKHO-FM and Classic Hits WZLR-FM are all now located in the same facility, which the newspaper moved into back in 2007.

The broadcast outlets just recently began operating out of the facility, with the television station completely the puzzle, beginning there on Saturday 12/11/10.

“If you’re interested in news, you’re going to get more of it than you’ve ever gotten before,” said Alex Taylor, group vice president and great-grandson of Dayton Daily News founder Gov. James M. Cox, according to the newspaper.

“Being over here (at the Media Center) gives us the ability to be right in the center of the top newsgathering sources in the Miami Valley,” said Nick Roberts, who programs Cox radio stations in Dayton and Louisville. He told the newspaper, “Radio’s all about being immediate. It gives us a chance to hear about things, being in the newsroom with the newspaper and television. We’ll have access to the biggest stories immediately as they break, especially when it’s weather and traffic-related.”

Cox has owned the newspaper since before commercial radio and television even existed, acquiring it just before the 20th Century began.

RBR-TVBR observation: Cross-owned clusters are out there, courtesy of grandfathering, waivers of sheer market size. Proponents say it’s a way to keep struggling traditional media outlets alive and preserve quality local journalism.

When the Prometheus case overturned much of former FCC Chairman Michal Powell’s attempt to loosen media ownership regulation, including relaxed cross-ownership restrictions, the court acknowledged that cross-owned broadcast/print operations often produce the finest journalism in the market.

Opponents of cross-ownership do not deny this. However, critics argue that such combinations can produce a local news operation that is so effective and superior that it stifles competition. It is claimed that the lack of the ability of other media outlets to compete effectively.

Questions: Is it better to have a less than ideal pool of local diversity because one company owns across media boundaries, or is it better to have less diversity because some media outlets have been forced out of business? Or is that a false choice, because the media is primed for a comeback, even newspapers? Or will the internet or some other emerging platform begin to effectively pick up the diversity slack? All of this figures to be part of the Quadrennial Review, if it ever starts to pick up steam. Get your comments ready!