Major reorganization at Media General


Instead of looking at its operations as three types of media – publishing, broadcasting and interactive – Media General is going to organize and manage the company by geography, with all properties in a given market reporting to a market leader, regardless of platform. That’s the way Media General currently manages its Tampa, FL properties – and come July 1st that’s how the entire company will be operated. The changes will occur as Publishing Division President H. Graham Woodlief Jr. begins his long-planned retirement.

“Media General’s strength is derived from its markets.  Structuring our business along market lines will provide an even closer connection to our customers, accelerate our Web-First strategy and speed decision-making across the enterprise,” said CEO Marshall Morton. “We will be better able to pursue new opportunities to serve customers beyond our traditional market boundaries, especially using digital media,” he added.

Five Media General executives have been named President, Market Leader, for the new market segments.  Each will report to COO Reid Ashe. With the exception of the Ohio/Rhode Island market, which has only two television stations, all market segments have both television and newspaper properties.

Here are the new President/Market Leaders:

Virginia/Tennessee – James A. Zimmerman.  He is currently President of the Broadcast Division.  In 2008, the VA/TN market had revenues of approximately $235 million.

Florida – John R. Schueler.  He is currently President, Florida Communications Group.  In 2008, the FL market had revenues of approximately $215 million.

Mid-South – John R. Cottingham. He is currently Senior Vice President, Broadcast Stations.  The Mid-South market includes South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  In 2008, the Mid-South market had revenues of approximately $170 million.

North Carolina – James R. Conschafter. He is currently Senior Vice President, Broadcast Stations.  In 2008, the NC market had revenues of approximately $105 million.

Ohio/Rhode Island – Richard E. Rogala. He is currently Vice President and General Manager, WCMH-TV Columbus, Ohio.  In 2008, the OH/RI market had revenues of approximately $62 million.

Starting with its third quarter 2009 earnings report, Media General’s operating segments will be the five geographic markets.  There will also be a sixth segment, Interactive Advertising Services, which will include the results of Blockdot Inc., and NetInformer.  Media General will reclassify prior-year results to conform to the new structure. 

As part of the market-focused structure, a new position, Group Vice President, Growth and Performance, will report to CEO Morton to further intensify the company’s focus on digital media opportunities and operational excellence initiatives.  James F. Woodward, currently Vice President, Corporate Human Resources, has been named to the new position.  C. Kirk Read has been named President, Digital Media, and will report to Woodward.  Read will continue to lead the team responsible for creating online products and services and developing Internet partnerships.  Also reporting to Woodward will be Dale B. Lachniet, President, Newspaper Production and Distribution, and Ardell Hill, President, Broadcast Services.  Succeeding Woodward as Vice President, Corporate Human Resources is Robert E. MacPherson, who is currently President, Community Newspapers.

RBR/TVBR observation: We can’t help but notice that all of the new market segments will be headed by people from the Broadcast Division.