On September 23, 2019 however, prior to the transaction gaining approval from the FCC, a three-judge panel from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived an antiquated rule prohibiting an owner from operating both a daily newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. The FCC has repeatedly sought to revise or repeal this rule and appealed the three-judge decision to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals. That appeal was denied on Nov. 20; CMG was, therefore, left with no option but to agree to reduce the publication of these Ohio newspapers to three days a week — essentially making them non-daily newspapers — for the FCC to approve the sale of CMG.
When the FCC approved the sale on Nov. 22, CMG had a tight timeline of only 30 days, post-close, to reduce the publication of the paper from a daily status to three days a week, or to find a new owner. The transaction closed on Dec. 17 and completing a sale to another buyer in order to avoid a reduction in publication was not realistic in this time frame.
“We applaud the decision by the FCC and are grateful for the extension,” said Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie. “News does not conveniently schedule itself three days a week and we felt a reduced print schedule would negatively and severely impact the newspapers, our employees and the communities we serve. CMG and Apollo have been pushing for this outcome because we feel that maintaining a daily publication schedule is the absolute best way to continue to produce the solid and timely journalism that our readers deserve.”
Since the Dayton Daily News published its first newspaper 121-years ago, the company has been unwavering in its commitment to local journalism. CMG Ohio’s newspaper, radio and TV teams have worked together to provide quality journalism to inform their communities, diligently reporting on local stories like the outbreak of tornadoes in May 2019 and the mass shooting in the Oregon District in August.
“The FCC’s extension aligns with our long-term commitment to daily publication,” said Rob Rohr, market vice president of CMG’s Ohio properties. “But it never would have happened without the hard work of Cox Media Group leadership, the support of Apollo Global Management’s team and of course, the FCC. We can now work within a more realistic time frame to make thoughtful decisions and find the right solution for the future of these newspapers.”