Media General was an American media company based in Richmond, Virginia. The company’s origins can be traced back to 1887 when Richmond attorney Joseph Bryan acquired The Richmond Daily Times, which later became The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Joseph Bryan’s son, John Stewart Bryan succeeded his father as owner and publisher of the Times-Dispatch, which merged with The Richmond News Leader in 1940 to form Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
In 1994, after John Stewart Bryan’s death, his son, D. Tennant Bryan led the company into a period of expansion into television, changing the company’s name to Media General in 1969. Media General, Inc. began trading on the American Stock Exchange in 1970.
J. Stewart Bryan III, great-grandson of Joseph Bryan, became chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Media General in 1990. The 4th generation Bryan oversaw the company’s expansion into digital media and the sale of Media General’s newspaper division to Berkshire Hathaway in 2012. J. Stewart Bryan III remained chairman of Media General until his death on January 23, 2016.
In 2013 and 2014, Media General expanded significantly through mergers with Young Broadcasting and LIN Media. After the latter merger, LIN Media CEO Vincent L. Sadusky became Chief Executive Officer of Media General while former Young Broadcasting CEO Deborah A. McDermott led station operations as Chief Operating Officer. Long-time Media General CFO James F. Woodward remained as Chief Financial Officer until the company’s dissolution in 2017. On January 11, 2017, the FCC approved the sale of Media General to Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $4.6 billion.
The conglomeration of newspapers was founded in 1940 when owners of Richmond, Virginia’s two newspapers, the Times-Dispatch and News Leader, merged them to form Richmond Newspapers, Inc. In 1969, as the company’s media properties grew and diversified, it was renamed Media General.
On May 17, 2012, it was announced that investment company Berkshire Hathaway would be acquiring Media General’s newspaper division (excluding The Tampa Tribune); the newspapers to be merged into Berkshire Hathaway’s World Media Enterprises division, a sister company of its other newspaper holdings under the Omaha World-Herald. The deal closed June 25, 2012. Media General’s chairman and former CEO, J. Stewart Bryan III said the company faced a choice: either sell its newspaper division or file for bankruptcy protection. The latter, he said, was “unacceptable.” At the end of 2011, Media General had $658 million in debt. In October 2012, The Tampa Tribune and its associated print and digital products were acquired by Tampa Media Group, Inc., a new company formed by Revolution Capital Group.