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Cox Enterprises: An Enduring Legacy

June 28, 2012

James M. Cox was a school teacher and a news reporter who had grand things in mind. He wanted to own a newspaper.  He did so by managing to borrow $26,000 from relatives and friends. He used this amount to purchase the Dayton Evening News (now the Dayton Daily News). Thus was the start of Cox Enterprises, Inc. founded in 1898 in Dayton, Ohio.

Cox’s business success also led to his success in the political arena. He became the first three-term governor of Ohio after which he became the Democratic Party’s standard bearer for the 1920 presidential elections. He lost in that election.

That loss though was a gain for his business.  He now focused his energy on his enterprise. Gov. Cox put up the first radio station in Ohio in 1935. He then put a television station in 1948.

His son James Cox, Jr. then took over in 1957 upon Gov. Cox’s death.  Under the watch of Cox Jr., Cox Communication was born with the acquisition of three small cable companies in Pennsylvania in 1962. He also purchased Manheim Auto Auction in Manheim, Pennsylvania in 1969. Now it is the one of the world’s largest used-vehicle and remarketing services.  Cox, Jr. died in 1974.

Today Cox Enterprises covers Cox Communications (cable television distribution, telephone and internet), Cox Newspapers (newspapers, customized newsletters), Cox Television (television), Cox Radio (radio stations and web sites), Manheim (vehicle auction and repair), and Cox Auto Trader (automotive publications).

The company has more than 50,000 employees in 300 separate businesses.  Its revenue approaches $15 billion dollars. Cox is professionally run, but still very much private and owned by the Cox family.  The current company chairman is James C. Kennedy, the grandson of Gov. Cox.

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