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E. W. Scripps Company

The E. W. Scripps Company
Public company
Traded as NYSESSP
Industry Broadcast television
Founded November 2, 1878
(as the Penny Press)
December 1, 1987
(as The E. W. Scripps Co.)
Headquarters Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Key people
Edward W. Scripps (1854–1926), Founder
Roy W. Howard (1883–1964)
Richard A. Boehne (President & CEO)
Revenue $1.1 billion (2007)
Slogan "Give light and the people will find their own way."

The E. W. Scripps Company is an American broadcasting company founded as a chain of daily newspapers by Edward Willis Scripps. It was also formerly a media conglomerate. The company is headquartered inside the Scripps Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] Its corporate motto is "Give light and the people will find their own way."[2]


The E. W. Scripps Company was incorporated on December 1, 1987,[3] but it traces its history to November 2, 1878, when Edward Willis Scripps published the first issue of the Cleveland Penny Press.

In 1894, E. W. Scripps and his half-brother, George H. Scripps, organized their various papers into the first modern newspaper chain. In July 1895, it was named the Scripps-McRae League with the addition of Cincinnati Post general manager Milton A. McRae as a partner.[4] On November 29, 1921, it was renamed Scripps-Howard Newspapers, to recognize Roy W. Howard.[5]

On November 23, 1922, the company was placed in trust for E. W. Scripps' children and grandchildren.[5] The company's shares were divided into two types: Class A Common Shares, which were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and common voting shares, which were not publicly traded and elected a majority of the company's directors. A number of media companies, including the New York Times Company and the Washington Post Company, are governed by this system so that the descendants of the company's founders can keep control of the company.[6]

The E. W. Scripps Company is headquartered in the Scripps Center in downtown Cincinnati.

In 1990, the company completed a new downtown Cincinnati headquarters, the Scripps Center.[7]

On October 16, 2007, the company announced that it would separate into two publicly traded companies: The E. W. Scripps Company (newspapers, TV stations, licensing/syndication) and Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), (HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Cooking Channel [formerly known as Fine Living], Travel Channel and Great American Country). The transaction was completed on July 1, 2008.

On October 3, 2011, The E. W. Scripps Company announced it was purchasing the television arm of McGraw-Hill for $212 million.[8] This purchase nearly doubles the number of Scripps stations to 19 with a combined reach of 13% of U.S. households. Upon the 2012 death of E. W. Scripps' grandson, Robert Scripps, the Edward W. Scripps Trust was dissolved and its stock divided among the surviving trustees.[6]

The E. W. Scripps Company and Journal Communications announced on July 30, 2014, that the two companies would merge and spin-off their newspaper assets.[9] The deal will create a broadcast group under the E.W. Scripps Company name and retaining the Cincinnati headquarters, as well as a newspaper company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under the Journal Media Group name. The transaction is slated to be completed in 2015, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.[10] The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014, and it was approved by shareholders on March 11, 2015.[11] The merger and spinoff were completed on April 1, 2015.[12][13]

Scripps newspapers

In 1997, Scripps bought daily Texas newspapers in Corpus Christi, Abilene, Wichita Falls, San Angelo and Plano, plus the paper in Anderson, S.C. from Harte-Hanks Communications, along with 25 non-daily newspapers and San Antonio-based KENS-TV and KENS-AM.[14] The purchase price was to be between $605 and $775 million, depending on a federal ruling.[15]

The company, before the merger with Journal and creation of spinoff, owned and operated newspapers in 13 American markets:

Other newspapers owned by Scripps

Name City Fate Date Note
The Day Book Chicago closed July 6, 1917 Experimental, advertising-free penny press that fell short of profit expectations.
Toledo News-Bee Toledo, Ohio closed August 2, 1938 Remnants of the paper were acquired by The Toledo Blade.
Houston Press Houston, Texas closed March 20, 1964 Assets were sold to The Houston Chronicle.
Indianapolis Times Indianapolis, Indiana closed October 11, 1965
New York World-Telegram New York City merged, then closed April 23, 1966
World-Telegram and Sun
May 5, 1967
World Journal Tribune
Known as the New York World-Telegram and Sun after 1951, when it purchased the remnants of the New York Sun. After a proposed joint operating agreement between two other newspapers with distinct histories – Hearst's New York Journal American and John Hay Whitney's New York Herald Tribune – collapsed due to union pressure, all three merged to form the New York World Journal Tribune (all three owners had a stake in the publication as "World Journal Tribune, Inc."). The combined paper did not launch for 140 days due to a newspaper strike triggered by the merger, and ultimately folded the following May. Scripps would maintain ownership of the World-Telegram's annual publication, The World Almanac and Book of Facts until 1993, when that was sold to Primedia.
The Washington Daily News Washington, DC sold August 1972 Sold to, and ultimately merged into, The Washington Star.
Fort Worth Press Fort Worth, Texas closed 1975
Cleveland Press Cleveland, Ohio sold October 31, 1980 The company's first newspaper and original flagship. Merged with the Cleveland News in 1960. Sold to entrepreneur Joseph E. Cole in 1980 after the Cleveland Plain Dealer surpassed it in both circulation and revenue throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequently closed on June 17, 1982.
Memphis Press-Scimitar Memphis, Tennessee closed October 31, 1983 Afternoon-only daily paper. The paper's roots trace back to 1880; it was acquired by Scripps' antecedent, the Scripps-McRae League, in 1906. Scripps also purchased the city's morning paper, The Commercial Appeal (which it still owns) in 1936.
Columbus Citizen-Journal Columbus, Ohio closed December 31, 1983 Founded in 1899. Also had its roots in what was one of the first newspapers in Ohio, The Ohio State Journal, which was founded in 1814. Operated as part of a joint operating agreement with The Columbus Dispatch for several decades; Scripps folded the paper after the Dispatch terminated the JOA, and a sale of the paper to Akron-area businessman Nyles V. Reinfeld collapsed.
Pittsburgh Press Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sold May 17, 1992 Sold to Block Communications, subsequently merged into the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Revived as an online-only paper in 2011.
Thousand Oaks News Chronicle Thousand Oaks, California closed July 22, 1995 Publication relocated to Camarillo, California and merged with the co-owned Ventura County Star.
Birmingham Post-Herald Birmingham, Alabama closed September 23, 2005 The paper's roots trace back to the Elyton Herald, founded 21 years before Birmingham's incorporation as a city. Merged with the Scripps-owned Birmingham Post in 1950. Long a morning newspaper, it switched to an afternoon-only publication by request of joint operating agreement partner The Birmingham News (which itself became a tri-weekly in 2012).
dirt Boulder, Colorado closed 2006
Cincinnati Post Cincinnati, Ohio closed December 31, 2007 Distributed in the Covington, Kentucky region as The Kentucky Post; that version was converted to an online-only publication as, which operates to this day.
The Albuquerque Tribune Albuquerque, New Mexico closed February 23, 2008 Founding owner Carl Magee's slogan for the paper, "Give light and the people will find their own way," and accompanying lighthouse logo, would both be adopted by Scripps after their 1923 acquisition of the paper.
Rocky Mountain News Denver, Colorado closed February 27, 2009 Purchased by Scripps in 1926. Folded 55 days prior to its 150th anniversary of publication.
Youngstown Telegram Youngstown, Ohio sold July 2, 1936 Acquired by the Youngstown Vindicator Printing Company and merged into The Vindicator.
The Daily Camera Boulder, Colorado sold 2009 Acquired by Media News Group Inc.
El Paso Herald-Post El Paso, Texas closed October 11, 1997
San Francisco News San Francisco merged 1965 Founded 1903. Merged with the Hearst's San Francisco Call-Bulletin to form The News-Call Bulletin in 1959. Hearst acquired complete control in 1962 and merged it into the San Francisco Examiner in 1965.


Scripps operated United Media (composed of the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association). United Feature Syndicate syndicated many notable comic strips including Peanuts, Garfield, Li'l Abner, Dilbert, Nancy and Marmaduke. NEA, originally established as a secondary news service to the Scripps Howard News Service, later evolved into a general syndicate, and were best known for syndicating Alley Oop, Freckles and His Friends, The Born Loser and Frank and Ernest, in addition to an annual Christmas comic strip.[16] The distribution rights to properties syndicated by United Media was outsourced to Universal Uclick in February 2011. While United Media effectively ceased to exist, Scripps still maintains copyrights and intellectual property rights.[17][18]

Scripps also operated United Press International (United Press from its 1907 inception until a 1958 merger with Hearst's International News Service) until selling it off in 1982. It also previously owned the Scripps Howard News Service, which shut down in 2013.[19]


E. W. Scripps' television division currently owns thirty-three television stations in twenty-four markets; fifteen ABC affiliates, five NBC affiliates, five Azteca América affiliates, two My Network TV affiliates, two CBS affiliates, two Fox affiliates, one CW affiliate, and one independent affiliate. As a result of its merger with Journal, the company will also retain Journal's radio station group for the time being, along with maintaining the sports play-by-play radio networks for Journal's major broadcasting rights in Wisconsin; the Green Bay Packers Radio Network, and the Milwaukee Brewers Radio Network.

Scripps also previously owned the Shop at Home Network from 2000 until 2006. Shop at Home in turn owned five television stations, all as a division of its cable network division.

In October 1995, Comcast announced the purchase of E. W. Scripps' cable provider operation.[20]

Attempts to use Shop at Home as a complementary service to Food Network and HGTV by selling products connected to personalities of those networks were middling compared to competitors QVC and HSN. On May 22, 2006, Scripps announced that it was to cease operations of the network and intended to sell each of Shop at Home's five owned and operated television stations.[21] Jewelry Television eventually acquired Shop at Home, but Scripps still intended to sell its affiliated stations (Jewelry Television discontinued most Shop at Home operations in March 2008). On September 26, 2006, Scripps announced that it was selling its Shop at Home TV stations to New York City-based Multicultural Television for $170 million.[22]

On October 3, 2011, Scripps announced it was purchasing all seven television stations owned by The McGraw-Hill Companies for $212 million; the sale is a result of McGraw-Hill's decision to exit the broadcasting industry to focus on its other core properties, including its publishing unit.[23] This deal was approved by the FTC on October 31[24] and the FCC on November 29.[25] The deal was completed on December 30, 2011.[26]

On February 10, 2014, Scripps announced it has reached a deal to acquire Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW-TV and Detroit MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD for $110 million.[27] The sale was approved by the FCC on May 2, 2014 and was completed on June 16, 2014. This deal has created a duopoly between WMYD and ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV.

Television stations


  • (**) - Indicates stations built and signed on by Scripps.
  • (¤¤) - Indicates stations that were previously owned by McGraw-Hill prior to its acquisition by Scripps in 2011.
  • (##) - Indicates stations that were acquired by Scripps from Granite Broadcasting in 2014.
  • (§§) - Indicates stations were previously owned by Journal Communications prior to its merger with Scripps in 2015.
City of license / Market Station Channel
Owned Since Affiliation
Phoenix, AZ KNXV-TV 15 (15) 1985 ABC
Tucson - Sierra Vista, Arizona KGUN-TV §§ 9 (35) 2015 ABC
KWBA-TV §§ 58 (44) 2015 The CW
Bakersfield, CA KERO-TV ¤¤ 23 (10) 2011 ABC
KZKC-LP ¤¤ 42 2011 Azteca América
San Diego, CA KGTV ¤¤ 10 (10) 2011 ABC
KZSD-LP ¤¤ 41 2011 Azteca América
Colorado Springs, CO KZCS-LP ¤¤ 23 2011 Azteca América
Denver, CO KMGH-TV ¤¤ 7 (7) 2011 ABC
KZCO-LD ¤¤ 27 2011 Azteca América
WindsorFort Collins, CO KZFC-LP ¤¤ 36 2011 Azteca América
Cape Coral - Fort Myers - Naples, Florida WFTX-TV §§ 36 (35) 2015 Fox
TampaSt. Petersburg, FL WFTS-TV 28 (29) 1986 ABC
West Palm Beach, FL WPTV 5 (12) 1961 NBC
WFLX 29 (28) 1 Fox
Nampa - Caldwell - Boise, Idaho KIVI-TV §§ 6 (24) 2015 ABC
Twin Falls, Idaho KSAW-LD §§
(semi-satellite of KIVI)
51 (51) 2015 ABC
Indianapolis, IN WRTV ¤¤ 6 (25) 2011 ABC
Baltimore, MD WMAR-TV 2 (38) 1991 ABC
Detroit, MIWindsor, ON WXYZ-TV 7 (41) 1986 ABC
WMYD ## 20 (21) 2014 MyNetworkTV
Lansing, Michigan WSYM-TV §§ 47 (35) 2015 Fox
WHTV 18 (34) 2 MyNetworkTV
Kansas City, MOLawrence, KS KSHB-TV 41 (42) 1977 NBC
KMCI-TV 38 (41) 2002 Independent
Omaha, Nebraska KMTV-TV §§ 3 (45) 2015 CBS
Las Vegas, Nevada KTNV-TV §§ 13 (12) 2015 ABC
Buffalo, NY WKBW-TV ## 7 (38) 2014 ABC
Cincinnati, OH WCPO-TV ** 9 (22) 1949 ABC
ClevelandAkronCanton, OH WEWS-TV ** 5 (15) 1947 ABC
Tulsa, OK KJRH-TV 2 (8) 1971 NBC
Nashville, Tennessee WTVF §§ 5 (25) 2015 CBS
Green Bay - Appleton, Wisconsin WGBA-TV §§ 26 (41) 2015 NBC
WACY-TV §§ 32 (27) 2015 MyNetworkTV
Milwaukee, Wisconsin WTMJ-TV §§ 4 (28) 2015 NBC

Other Notes:

Radio stations

Boise, Idaho

Knoxville, Tennessee

  • WCYQ - 100.3 FM - Country [6]
  • WNOX - 93.1 FM - Classic Hits [7]
  • WKHT - 104.5 FM - CHR/Rhythmic [8]
  • WWST - 102.1 FM - Mainstream Top 40 [9]

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Omaha, Nebraska

Springfield, Missouri

Tucson, Arizona

  • KFFN - 1490 AM - ESPN/Sports Radio
  • KTGV - 106.3 FM - Rhythmic Oldies [21]
  • KMXZ - 94.9 FM - Adult Contemporary/AC [22]
  • KQTH - 104.1 FM - News/Talk [23]

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Wichita, Kansas

Former Scripps-owned stations

Television stations

General commercial stations
City of license/Market Station Channel
Years owned Current Ownership Status
Memphis WMCT/WMC-TV ** 5 (5) 1948–1993 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
San Antonio KENS-TV ++ 5 (39) 1997 CBS affiliate owned by Gannett Company
Shop at Home owned-and-operated stations
City of license/Market Station Channel
Years owned Current Ownership Status
San Francisco KCNS 38 (39) 2002–2006 MundoFox affiliate owned by NRJ TV, LLC
(operated by Titan TV Broadcast Group)
Bridgeport, CT – New York City WSAH 43 (42) 2002–2007 Me-TV affiliate, WZME, owned by NRJ TV, LLC
(operated by Titan TV Broadcast Group)
LawrenceBoston, MA WMFP 62 (18) 2002–2007 Me-TV affiliate owned by NRJ TV, LLC
(operated by Titan TV Broadcast Group)
WilsonRaleighDurham, N.C. WRAY-TV 30 (42) 2002–2006 Tri-State Christian Television owned-and-operated (O&O)
CantonCleveland, OH WOAC 67 (47) 2002–2006 Tri-State Christian Television owned-and-operated (O&O), WRLM

Radio stations

Market Station Current Status
Baltimore WBSB-FM-104.3 WZFT, owned by iHeartMedia
Cincinnati WCPO-1230 WDBZ, owned by Radio One
WUBE-FM-105.1 ** owned by Hubbard Broadcasting
Cleveland WEWS-FM-102.1 ** WDOK, owned by CBS Radio
Portland, Oregon KUPL-970 KUFO, owned by Alpha Broadcasting
KUPL-FM-98.7 owned by Alpha Broadcasting
Knoxville, Tennessee WNOX-990 WNML, owned by Cumulus Media
Memphis WMPS-680 WMFS, owned by Entercom
WMC-790 owned by Entercom
WMC-FM-99.7 ** owned by Entercom
San Antonio, Texas KENS-1160 ++ KRDY, owned by Salem Communications

** indicates a station that was built and signed-on by E.W. Scripps
++ indicates a station that was owned by Scripps but operated by Belo Corporation (via a time brokerage agreement) during Scripps' ownership

National Spelling Bee

Scripps also operates the national (US) spelling bee. The final competition is in Washington, DC, and it is broadcast on ESPN and ABC. Lower levels are organized by the school, then county and eventually to the final competition. E.W. Scripps will retain ownership of the property in the split of its newspaper and broadcasting businesses.


Hugo Zacchini performed a human cannonball act in 1972 at the Geauga County Fair in Burton, Ohio. Scripps television station WEWS-TV recorded and aired the entire act against his wishes and without compensating him, as was required by Ohio law. In Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did not shield the broadcaster from liability from common law copyright claims.[28]

Scripps owns and operates The Commercial Appeal, which posted a controversial database listing Tennessee residents with permits to carry handguns.[29] The database is a public record in Tennessee, but had not previously been posted online.

Scripps owns and operates the Ventura County Star, which has faced many complaints involving its circulation practices rather than its editorial content. As of April 2, 2011, the Better Business Bureau listed ten (10) separate "significant" complaints from the previous three years, of which two alleged the company made unauthorized debits from customers' checking accounts, four alleged problems obtaining refunds, two alleged the company harassed a customer or former customer, two alleged improper billing, and two alleged delivery continuing after customers tried to cancel.[30] (The total number of allegations does not add to the total number of complaints because two complaints made multiple allegations.)

In May 2013, Scripps News Service discovered and published a security breach on the websites of Oklahoma-based TerraCom Inc. and an affiliate, YourTel America Inc. in which the personal information of tens of thousands of low-income Americans was publicly exposed. In response, the two companies accused Scripps of "hacking" and of violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.[31][32] The Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan subsequently announced an investigation into the two companies.[33]

See also


  1. "SSP Profile & Executives – EW Scripps Co – Bloomberg". Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  2. Osborne, Kevin (February 21, 2007). "Cover Story: The Light Dims". Cincinnati CityBeat (Cincinnati, Ohio: Lightborne Publishing). Retrieved 2011-08-28. The corporate motto for Cincinnati-based media chain E.W. Scripps Co. is 'Give light and the people will find their own way,' which the lighthouse logo has come to symbolize. 
  3. "EW Scripps Co (SSP) Company Profile |". Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  4. McRae 1924, p. 119.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Scripps Timeline". E. W. Scripps Company. November 29, 1921. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Press Releases | The E.W. Scripps Company". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  7. Alter, Maxim (November 7, 2014). "Then & Now: An interactive look at downtown Cincinnati's past". WCPO-TV (E. W. Scripps Company). Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  8. [1][dead link]
  9. David Carr (August 11, 2014). "Print Is Down, and Now Out: Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures". New York Times. p. B1. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Turns out, not so much – quite the opposite, really. The Washington Post seems fine, but recently, in just over a week, three of the biggest players in American newspapers – Gannett, Tribune Company and E. W. Scripps, companies built on print franchises that expanded into television – dumped those properties like yesterday's news in a series of spinoffs. 
  10. "E.W. Scripps, Journal Merging Broadcast Ops". TVNewsCheck. July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  11. "Journal, Scripps shareholders OK transaction; closing expected by early April". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  12. Scripps, Journal Merger Complete - Broadcasting & Cable
  13. Scripps, Journal Communications Complete Merger And Spinoff -
  14. "Scripps to Acquire Harte-Hanks Outlets – Los Angeles Times". May 20, 1997. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  15. Kenneth N. Gilpin Published: May 20, 1997 (May 20, 1997). "Scripps to Buy Harte-Hanks Media Assets – New York Times". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  16. List of NEA Christmas strips (1936–2010), with credits
  17. Universal Uclick to Provide Syndicate Services for United Media, PR Newswire, February 24, 2011.
  18. United Media Outsources Content to Universal Uclick, Editor & Publisher, April 29, 2011.
  19. Scripps Howard News Service Will Close Down After 96 Years, Bloomberg News, November 13, 2013.
  20. Geraldine Fabrikant (October 30, 1995). "Comcast to Buy Cable Division From Scripps". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  21. "Scripps ceasing Shop at Home operations" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. May 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  22. "Scripps sells Shop at Home TV stations" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. September 26, 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  23. McGraw-Hill Sells TV Group To Scripps, TVNewsCheck, October 3, 2011.
  24. FTC OK With Scripps/McGraw-Hill
  25. Scripps Purchase Of McGraw-Hill TVs
  26. "Scripps completes McGraw-Hill Stations Buy". TVNewsCheck. December 30, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  27. Scripps Buying Granite TVs in Buffalo, Detroit, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved February 10, 2014
  28. White, Byron (June 28, 1977). "HUGO ZACCHINI, PETITIONER, V. SCRIPPS-HOWARD BROADCASTING COMPANY.". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  29. public record (November 8, 2008). "Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit Database". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  30. "Significant Complaints", The Better Business Bureau of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, Inc.
  31. "My Social Security Number Is Posted Where?". NPR. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  32. "Investigative journalists threatened with felony for exposing security flaw". RT. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  33. "Illinois AG to review online privacy breach". Knoxville News Sentinel. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 

Further reading

External links