Cox’s fortune was the result of the work of James M. Cox, a newspaper owner from Dayton Ohio, who ran for President in 1920 for the Democrats, with a young Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his Vice President. He lost in a landslide to Warren G Harding, following the betrayal of the country by Woodrow Wilson. Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 based on a promise to keep us out of the war in Europe. Cox fully encouraged and supported Woodrow Wilson breaking his promise and entering the war.
Radio was not yet anything but a toy for the rich or the curious young person like my father. By the mid 1930s, the radio was becoming a viable way to reach the masses and influence public opinion. Cox created WHIO in Dayton as a station on NBC’S red Network. A few years later, as FDR was approaching joining the second war in Eurooe, war-monger James Cox acquired WSB in Atlanta, which would become the home of Cox’s media empire. Cox would grow from newspapers, into radio, into TV – and most lucratively – Cable TV systems.
James M. Cox died in 1957, with the empire handed off to James M. Cox Jr – welcome to generation two.
Interestingly, James Cox Jr. supported Richard Nixon in the election over George McGovern in 1968 and required all of the Cox newspapers to endorse Nixon, to the dismay of his editorial people.
James Cox Jr. died in 1971 and had no heirs, so ownership transferred to his two sisters and one brother. When the brother died in 1974, the brother’s share was split between his two sisters.
Mrs Barbara Cox Anthony was living in Hawaii. Mr Anthony was her 4th husband. She was more interested in giving her money away then running a media empire, other than the sitting on the board of directors. She died in 2007 with a net worth estimated at $12 billion.
Anne Cox Chambers, the last surviving member of generation two, turns 100 years old this year. Everyone could see the coming problem. She and her husband stayed at home in Atlanta to run the family media empire. Their only child together turned out to be a dancer and choreographer, so you can imagine the chances of generation three taking over the family business were not good.
Cox was being run by 71 year old James Cox Kennedy, the son of the sister who lived in Hawaii. He is generation three, so time to dismantle the family fortune. He probably misses Hawaii. There are no beaches in Atlanta, just streets named Peachtree. In 2018, the reins were turned over to his much younger cousin Alex Taylor, who enjoys writing books about fly fishing.
Apollo Capital Management recently bought Cox’s TV stations, and now is buying the radio stations and their advertising business.