Fondren named Scripps VP of new media

Tue, August 26, 1997 by Tim King

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The E.W. Scripps Company today promoted Neal F. Fondren to the newly created position of vice president for new media. Fondren, 38, spent the past two years as director of administration and business development for the company’s cable television division, which was merged with Comcast Corp. on Nov. 13.In his new position, Fondren will coordinate the company’s Internet ventures and will be responsible for the strategic planning and development of new businesses that profitably utilize emerging media technologies. "We have acquired new media experience through a variety of online projects over the past several years. The challenge in the next few years is to draw a finer focus and see if we can turn these projects into meaningful and profitable franchises," said William R. Burleigh, president and chief executive officer. "Neal Fondren brings to this challenge a proven ability to create, build and successfully market new information services."The company’s current online businesses include several of the most popular sites on the Internet – Go West (www.gowest.com), The Dilbert Zone (www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert), and Home & Garden Television (www.hgtv.com) – as well as sites that supplement local newspaper and broadcast TV franchises. Five of the Scripps television stations and 10 of its newspapers currently operate interactive Internet sites. "My goal is to generate revenue by taking advantage of a new medium that is different from all others but still too new to truly define," says Fondren. "The challenge is to anticipate and harness the potential of a technology that has not yet reached maturity. At this point, it is difficult to determine just how large the medium will become and how quickly it will emerge, but Scripps has the experience and readiness to adapt as the technology changes."Before joining the Scripps corporate staff in 1994, Fondren spent three years as general manager of the Scripps cable systems in the Rome, Ga., area. His innovative marketing strategies pushed the systems’ penetration to 78 percent of all homes passed – well above the industry average – and developed a series of new revenue streams.He also launched a local newscast, one of the most successful in the cable industry.From 1990 to 1991, he served in an administrative capacity for the company’s cable division. In the nine previous years, he held managerial positions at cable systems in Tennessee and Georgia.Fondren was graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing management. In his childhood days, he delivered the Birmingham Post-Herald, a Scripps newspaper.Fondren and his wife, Christy, have three children: Kyle, Anna and Erin.