<span style=""> <span style="">New Orleans, La.</span> – Tom Benson announced today that he is purchasing WVUE-TV FOX 8 from Emmis Communications Corporation, an Indianapolis-based radio, TV and magazine publishing company. In addition, Benson announced that he has created the Louisiana Media Company, a global media group, focused on the acquisition of radio and television stations as well as movie production, to be headquartered in New Orleans.
Benson, a New Orleanian and the owner of the New Orleans Saints, cites his unwavering belief in the recovery and rebirth of his native city by agreeing to purchase, in partnership with like-minded business and civic leaders, one of the most powerful local television stations in the market.
Although Benson is spearheading the purchase of WVUE-TV Fox 8, he believes that having a local group of investors join him in this acquisition will be another example of his commitment to strengthen the bond between the station and the marketplace.
WVUE-TV FOX 8 is the source of popular sports programs such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball, NASCAR, along with popular mainstream shows such as "American Idol," "House," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," as well as local news, sports and weather telecasts.
"Fox 8 already has a wealth of talented people currently in place that we will utilize, so we are very fortunate that the transition will be fairly seamless," said Benson. "That is why they have such a strong following in the market, because of their people."
Benson's agreement to purchase the television station will make it the only television station in the New Orleans market owned and operated by individuals with local connections. In an era of media conglomerations with headquarters far removed from New Orleans, a locally owned television station and related media groups devoted to the people of The Crescent City should provide the city and its population with news, sports, weather and entertainment with a distinctive regional feel to its programming schedule.
"While many are hesitant to invest in this city and state, I am not," said Benson. "This is a very good business decision for us and creating the Louisiana Media Company is another vital piece that will benefit the continued economic development of our region and further support our local and state communities."
Benson praised the work that Emmis Communications Corporation did post-Katrina in their commitment to the area through the outstanding coverage provided by WVUE-TV Fox 8. In addition, Benson noted that Joe Cook, former Regional Vice President/General Manager at WVUE-TV Fox 8, will serve as President for the newly created Louisiana Media Company. Cook brings more than 30 years of broadcast experience to the post.
It is with that goal in mind, providing the public with an unbiased and desirable medium in which to be informed and entertained, that made the acquisition of the telecommunications entity that much more appealing to Benson.
With his business interests ranging from the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans VooDoo to automotive dealerships, real estate and banking, Benson will embrace the challenges of owning a broadcasting platform with the same zeal that he has demonstrated throughout his lifetime: with the unwavering goal of placing the city of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region at the forefront of the national landscape through community involvement while unrelentingly serving the interests of the local economies, charities and countless civic groups.
Benson's purchase of WVUE-TV Fox 8 is the first action of what will be a series of media acquisitions by the newly created Louisiana Media Company.
"The goal in creating the Louisiana Media Company is to bring a global media group together and headquarter it right here in New Orleans," added Benson. "Through this company, we will compete on all levels in the broadcast sector, through high-tech internet and digital platforms, to television, radio and also take advantage of the movie industry's needs here in New Orleans through a variety of production related endeavors."
In the months since Hurricane Katrina – where many businesses and industries have been either reluctant or absent to return to New Orleans and work towards making the entire region a place of economic prominence, Benson continues to be dedicated to those efforts. It is his hope that this faith in the Gulf South community, its potential and the people will encourage others to follow that lead.
The opportunity to invest in this highly-regarded television station in the New Orleans market is done so with the intent of returning the station to an ownership group comprised of leading, business-minded individuals who understand the challenges that face the region since Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster in United States history.
Along with the ownership consortium, Benson will call on the experiences of having successfully conducted business in New Orleans for generations. The group of investors that Benson will recruit will share in his philanthropic efforts, and use the platform of owning a television station, and its spin-off properties to continue to provide news and programming for the community.
Greg Bensel, Vice President of Communications
New Orleans Saints - Louisiana Media Company
Joe Cook, President
Louisiana Media Company
Jodi Wright, Manager of Corporate Communications