120 Years of Building a Better Future

08/15/2018

The year 1898 is noted in history for many reasons, including the Spanish-American War; Will Kellogg's invention of Corn Flakes; and a young James Middleton Cox's purchase of the Dayton Evening News in Dayton, Ohio, for $26,000.

The man who would become Governor Cox bought the paper because he believed in hard work and creating his own future. He also believed in treating his employees with fairness and respect, and giving back to the communities where he did business.

These values have guided Cox Enterprises through decades of strategic investments and innovation. A new Cox story is written every day, but here are a few moments in history that shaped our current success and continue to contribute to our future.

Growth and Expansion
It wasn’t long after Gov. Cox bought his first paper that he changed its name from the Dayton Evening News to the Dayton Daily News. The paper had been struggling financially for years, but Gov. Cox decided to expand the content with a women’s society editor and more national news. As a result, readership grew.

Years later and at the urging of Gov. Cox’s son, Jim Cox Jr., Cox entered the radio business, starting with WHIO in Dayton in 1935. The 1939 purchase of the Atlanta Journal also came with the successful radio station, WSB.

Under Jim Cox Jr.’s leadership, Cox also put the South’s first FM radio station on the air in 1948. WSB expanded to include WSB-TV, and WHIO followed suit with WHIO-TV in Dayton. Cox Radio and TV would continue to branch into new markets and would eventually break new ground online.

New Technology
As Jim Cox Jr. moved into the role of “the Boss,” as he was often called, he focused on expansion and innovation, much like his father had. Cox purchased TV cable rights in Pennsylvania in 1962 with the belief that better reception and more channels would be appealing to viewers in rural areas. But their assumption soon proved true in big cities as well.

Over the ensuing decades, Cox made pioneering investments in the technology and became the first company to bundle telephone, high-speed internet and digital cable television over a single broadband network.

Getting into Automotive
Our foray into the automotive industry started in 1965 with the purchase of a company known for producing the standard price guide for used cars, the Black Book. Three years later, Manheim Auto Auction was brought into the fold. The 1980s saw Manheim Auto Auctions acquire its first non-U.S. auction in Toronto, Canada, making Cox an international company. As the 1990s arrived, so did Autotrader.com, which quickly became a top automotive classified website.

What We Stand For
Today, our Chairman Jim Kennedy, President and CEO Alex Taylor and board members Jamie Kennedy and Henry Parry-Okeden — along with many others of the extended Cox family — are leading Cox by the same guiding principles that Gov. Cox championed — doing the right thing by our employees, customers and communities. Alex Taylor is leading the charge by recently establishing Cox’s WHY statement: Empower People Today to Build a Better Future for the Next Generation. More than a mission statement, these words define What We Stand For as an organization and detail HOW we achieve our goals.

To read more about Cox Enterprises, please visit our History section.

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