Reorganizing the Top at Journal Broadcasting


Journal Broadcasting is shifting around top managers as they move the company away from its "regional alignment" structure and toward expanding the company's "two main businesses: Television and Radio."

The Milwaukee Journal reports that the changes were announced in a memo released Tuesday by Andre Fernandez, president and CFO of Journal Communications.

As a result, the company is "realigning" its senior leadership teams. It also splits responsibilities for its broadcast operations between executives in Milwaukee and Nashville, Tenn. 

In his announcement, Fernandez said that as the company has expanded its footprint beyond Wisconsin, its internal organizational structure evolved to a "regional alignment."

While this was "optimal for a smaller group, we believe that current and future growth will demand a more singular, focused approach to managing" TV and radio operations "in order for each to advance its strategic objections and reach its full operational potential.

 The changes include:

  • Steve Wexler, formerly executive vice president of radio and television here and general manager of WTMJ-TV (Channel 4), will become executive vice president of the radio division. A search for his replacement as WTMJ-TV GM "will begin immediately."
  • Debbie Turner, executive vice president and general manager of WTFV-TV in Nashville, will become executive vice president of television. The division includes 13 stations in nine markets.

Both will report directly to Fernandez. Turner will continue to be based in Nashville. Wexler will be based in Milwaukee, "though he will step away from his day-to-day operational responsibilities."

Fernandez said: "Wex has deep roots in both Radio and Television, having held many leadership roles in a number of Journal markets over the course of his successful career. He is particularly skilled on the Radio side, where he is widely recognized for his radio expertise and was recently elected" to the National Association of Broadcasters board of directors.

In an email, Wexler said that he will be "running the entire radio division" of 35 stations in eight markets, whose executives will report to him.

Last year there was a two-month blackout of Journal Broadcast TV stations on Time Warner Cable during a contentious retransmission consent dispute. As part of the changes, Jim Prather, vice president and general manager of the group's Las Vegas stations, will "assume group-wide strategic responsibilities" for the television division.

His duties include oversight of retransmission consent agreements.

He will also serve as point person with the broadcast networks and have oversight of original programming, which Fernandez calls "a key strategic initiative."