RICHMOND, VA.: Media General announced that the company is streamlining its market structure and operations to align with its new focus as a pure-play television broadcaster. The changes are effective immediately.
The company’s current market structure of five geographic regions will be replaced by a new structure of two geographic regions, focused on its 18 network-affiliated television stations. James R. Conschafter and John R. Cottingham were elected corporate vice presidents by the board of directors. Each will have operating responsibility for one of the two new geographic regions. Media General also announced that John A. Schauss, vice president of market operations, is retiring. The company will not fill this role, and the two new positions held by Conschafter and Cottingham will report directly to Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO.
“With our June 25 sale of newspapers, Media General is focusing all of its resources on its broadcast television group,” Morton said. “... We are committed to increasing broadcast cash flow and EBITDA margins. One component of margin improvement will be the alignment of our corporate structure with our new business focus. The streamlining of our market structure and operations is a key first step in that process.”
Media General said that the company’s other two current market chiefs, Marilyn Hammond, president of North Carolina operations, and Dan Bradley, president of the Ohio/Rhode Island area, “will remain with Media General in key roles that will be announced at a later date.”
Conschafter is now responsible for the following markets and stations:
North Carolina: Greenville, WNCT-TV; Raleigh, WNCN-TV
Ohio: Columbus, WCMH-TV
Rhode Island: Providence, WJAR-TV
South Carolina: Spartanburg/Greenville, WSPA-TV and Asheville, NC, WYCW; Florence/Myrtle Beach, WBTW
Virginia: Roanoke, WSLS-TV
Tennessee: Johnson City, WJHL-TV
Cottingham is responsible for the following markets and stations:
Alabama: Birmingham, WVTM-TV; Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL, WKRG-TV
Florida: Tampa, WFLA-TV
Georgia: Augusta, WJBF-TV; Columbus, WRBL-TV; Savannah, WSAV-TV
Mississippi: Jackson, WJTV-TV and Hattiesburg, WHLT-TV
South Carolina: Charleston, WCBD-TV
Conschafter has been president of the Virginia-Tennessee since 2010. Previously, he had served in that role for the company’s North Carolina market since July 2009. Prior to that, he had been senior vice president of broadcast stations, within the company’s former broadcast division, since 2004. He joined Media General in 2000 with the company's acquisition of Spartan Communications, where he had served as general manager. He began at Media General as vice president and general manager of WSPA and two stations that are no longer owned by Media General. Earlier in his career, he held management and sales leadership positions at network-affiliated television stations in North Carolina, New York, Missouri and Ohio. Mr. Conschafter is a graduate of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.
Cottingham has been president of Media General’s Mid-South division since July 2009. Earlier this year, he assumed additional responsibility for the company’s Florida market. Prior to assuming his current role, Cottingham was senior vice president of broadcast stations, within the company’s former broadcast division, since 2005. He joined Media General in 2001 as vice president and general manager of three stations, including WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C. Earlier in his career, he held management and sales leadership positions at a number of broadcast stations in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana. Cottingham attended Belmont Abbey College.