Cox Media Group Ohio: Building for the Future
Looking Back, Building Forward
Ten years ago, Cox Media Group (then Cox Ohio Publishing) moved into its newly transformed facility on South Main Street in Dayton, OH. Miller-Valentine Construction completed their new facility, a ground-up renovation of the 1955 NCR warehouse building. A 239,000-square-foot leading-edge media hub was created, featuring an “open landscape” work environment for the 700 employees, who took an active part in planning the $11 million renovation.
The building’s concept and execution were revolutionary. It served as not only the headquarters for Dayton Daily News but also 10 other Ohio community newspapers and more than a dozen Web sites. In addition, webcasts and the nightly WHIO-TV newscasts were broadcast from a studio in the Center’s newsroom.
Today, Cox has grown to have 23 brands located in the building. In addition to the Dayton Daily News, the business that started Cox Enterprises, the organization’s largest brands are WHIO-TV Channel 7, the highest-rated per capita CBS station in the country, and Dayton’s number one radio station—K99.1FM. According to Rob Rohr, Cox Media Group Ohio Market Vice President, “All of these brands are supported by our talented employees—it is their passion that drives us forward every day.”
The Rise of Social Media
“Our business mix has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, highlighted by the need to run a 24/7 newsroom and the staggering growth of our digital audience,” says Rohr.
Cox Media Group sees itself as a news, entertainment and marketing solutions provider creating a wide range of valuable content for its clients—not the least of which is its thriving social media presence. The company’s monthly digital product visitors have grown from a couple of hundred thousand in the late ’90s to a whopping 12 million-plus per month.
“More than one-third of our traffic now comes directly from social media,” reports Rohr. “This has fundamentally changed our business from a traditional newspaper, TV and radio company into a ‘digital first’ company.”
Even the building has been impacted, says Rohr. “If you were to walk into our newsroom today, you would see a wide open space, with our breaking news and digital teams sitting side by side surrounded by newspaper, TV and radio talent. When you get talented people on the same team and working in a space that was designed to help them collaborate and communicate—magic happens.”
Form Serving Function
Cox is one of the only fully converged digital, newspaper, radio, and television operations in the world. What has been the advantage of bringing all talents under one roof?
“For years people asked us, ‘Why don’t your newspaper, TV and radio teams work together?’” says Rohr. “Our corporate team embraced the idea as a way to accelerate charge into the new media marketplace. By 2011, we were working hand in hand—one fully combined newsroom, one sales team, one marketing team and all supporting organizations of technology, finance, and human resources.”
While, says Rohr, this business and cultural blending was not easy, it was absolutely the right thing to do. “Being able to share one space leap-frogged us forward vs. other companies who have tried this and failed.
“The design of a building is an amazing driver of your corporate culture, and we have seen the value in evolving our space as we evolve our strategy for the future,” says Rohr.
“Everywhere you look you see three things: The faces of the community we serve, the history and people that have built our Cox Media Group and the inspiration around where we are headed in the future. The space absolutely supports our converged environment and helps to bring our teams together.”
Once you have your talent in house and clarity of mission, you need to take good care of them. The building’s open-design concept, says Rohr, encourages collaboration between teams, supports technology and encourages employees to know and understand what other departments are working on. A full-service workout area is available 24/7, and the interior décor is meant to inspire employees as they move through the building. Part of the Cox Conserves initiative, the building sports a living roof and “Skydeck” studio that allow meteorologists to report from a perch overlooking the city.
“It’s a challenging time to be in the media business, but it is also one of the most exciting times,” says Rohr. “Navigating all of this change is the powerful rudder of our commitment and dedication to giving our communities journalism and quality content,” says Rohr. “That was the vision of [two-time Ohio] Governor James M. Cox, who founded our company 118 years ago, and we work hard every day to remain true to that mission.”
Cox Media Group Ohio is constantly innovating how it operates, and, says Rohr, building footprints will change and adapt to support its employees while creating opportunities to drive revenue or operational savings. The company’s 14-acre Dayton campus continues to evolve to meet its growing needs and changing focus.
Since the original building renovation in 2007, Miller-Valentine has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with Cox, executing additional projects ranging from the construction of the television and radio studio addition in 2010 to numerous upgrades to public and office spaces.
“Miller-Valentine has been a great partner,” says Rohr. “They understand our business, our people, and our strategy, and for that reason, they continue to be a partner as we look at how the facility can evolve for what we may need in the future.”
For more information on Cox Media Group Ohio: www.coxmediagroupohio.com
For information on working with Miller-Valentine Construction, contact Dave Settles at 937.297.9353 or visit www.mvg.com.