Former AT&T Programming Czar York Named CEO of Cox Media

Long-time telco exec will lead TV, radio, digital properties

Cox Media Group said it has named former AT&T chief content officer Dan York as CEO of the station group, effective immediately.

York left AT&T on March 1 after nearly a decade at DirecTV. He had been DirecTV’s chief programming executive since 2012, and continued in that role when AT&T purchased the company in 2015. York had been a key figure in AT&T’s programming negotiations and has a long history in the television distribution business, beginning in 1987 as a VP and general manager at HBO/Time Warner Sports.

Cox Media Group took its current shape in February 2019 after private equity fund Apollo Global Management purchased 14 TV properties from Cox Enterprises’ Cox Media Group for an estimated $3 billion. Since then the company, which retained the Cox Media name, has done several deals, bulking up to 33 TV stations in 20 markets, 54 radio stations in 10 markets and several multi-platform streaming video and digital properties.

The company has been involved in a handful of high-profile retransmission consent disputes over the past few months, included a four-day blackout of Verizon Fios TV customers at the beginning of the year. In March it reached a truce with Dish Network customers to resume carriage of several stations during the COVID-19 pandemic that were blacked out in mid-January. 

York joins Cox Media just a few weeks after former CEO Kim Guthrie stepped down after 22 years with the company. 

“I’m excited to welcome Dan as the President and CEO of Cox Media Group,” said Apollo co-lead partner of private equity David Sambur in a press release. “He has an outstanding record of leadership in this industry, and of operating efficiently, creating strategic vision, and inspiring organizations to innovate and grow.”

Steve Pruett, who serves as Cox Media Group executive chairman will remain in that role. 

“The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment,” York said in a press release. “I look forward to working with the Board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

York was AT&T’s point man in programming negotiations and helped start The Audience Network, the DirecTV original content vehicle that was expected to be transitioned into a marketing vehicle for AT&T’s HBO Max streaming service.

Prior to being named York had been president of content and advertising sales at AT&T from 2004 to 2012 when he moved to DirecTV. Prior to that stint, he was senior VP of programming and development at InDemand from 2000 to 2004.