An employee at a Cox station sent along their thoughts about the company putting their stations up for sale.
This is their take, unedited and shared with you:
For the first time in a long time as a Cox Media Group employee, I'm laying awake in my bed in the middle of the night unable to sleep because of my job. I'm terrified. I'm hurt. I'm confused, and I'm heartbroken.
For the last couple of years, we at CMG have been lead to believe we weren't just building a company that would last for the rest of the 21st Century, but a company that was ready to do news in ways the 22nd Century has in store that we can't even think of yet. We were told that current leadership in the company had a plan for us that would keep us and CMG around for at least the next 100 years. That plan oddly enough, included not buying or selling when everyone else was doing so.
On Tuesday, the air we live and breathe and depend on was sucked right out of our lungs. Employees at one of the highest motivated media companies in the nation if not the world looked and felt like orphans. I know what you're thinking. "Boo hoo. This has happened before in so many newsrooms across this country." However, the environment at CMG has always been different, and that difference and assurance is what kept many of us proud and motivated to keep this company afloat, profitable, and successful. Many of us turned away jobs at other media companies and station groups because the corporate culture and overall mission was so good. You don't get that with hardly any company any more in America, let alone a media company.
When you work for CMG, you become proud to be supporting the journalism and the long-standing mission of Governor Cox and his family. You felt that if you succeeded, then they felt they were succeeding. That feeling of success always made us feel like we were a part of the family too, and that we were earning our keep. We were going to forge forward together. The culture of this company was nothing to thumb your nose at. It's something many of us are proud to be a part of and help build. We were told that using what CMG has in place (minus the print properties that have already been sold off), we were going to be a proud boutique operation that no one else in the world could hold a candle to, and that made us want to work harder to make sure the Cox family was confident in the product, its bottomline, their legacy, our mission together, and ultimately our future.
Now, long-term plans for me and my coworkers look dead in the water. Plans to climb the corporate ladder and proudly sit in the corporate offices in Atlanta appear to be going down in flames. Plans to work our way up the food chain and be a part of the flagship news operation at WSB are in question. Even our retirement security, one of the only companies in America to still offer a pension with a 401K (because we're told our loyalty would be honored and respected) remains in doubt. We all had plans, long-term plans, good-solid plans, plans to strive and work hard to achieve and keep greatness that now seem to have been flushed down the toilet. Since we don't know who will take us over, we can't even begin to plan for benefits changing. We could go from one of the best set of benefits in the business to one of the worst.
To say that many of us feel like the Cox family has orphaned us after bullshitting us about being around for decades to come for the last few years would be an understatement. Like a box of puppies in the middle of a thunderstorm, we've been left on the curb out in the rain that is the ever-changing media landscape. Now we're at the mercy of whatever soul can take pity on a group of stations who really tried every thing they could to please their former family.
This isn't what we were promised. This isn't what we came to and stayed at Cox to be a part of. Everything we have strived for and tried to achieve will all be in the toilet, especially if Sinclair or Nexstar is allowed to get their hands on us. We can only pray that for what we've worked so hard for, they'll look for a new owner that can respect what has already been built and not want to tear it apart and do news and media on the cheap. Then perhaps at least some spark can come back to the brokenhearted who still work at what were CMG stations.
It's just utterly frustrating that we've done everything this company has told us to do in order to survive the changing media tide, only to be swept out to sea in the end. Cox is famous for consultants, data-driven planning, and proven internal recipes for success. What was all of that for? Just to get the price tag up a little higher when it was time to put us on the auction block?