(WVUE) - WVUE Fox 8 Owner Tom Benson has announced that Louisiana Media Company has reached agreement in principle to sell its majority ownership to current partner Raycom Media. Since 2013 Louisiana Media Company and Raycom Media have had a shared service agreement which allowed Raycom Media to provide operational services for the station under the control of Louisiana Media.
Benson purchased WVUE Fox 8 in May of 2008 from Emmis Communications with the stated intention of making the station the top news station in New Orleans and accomplished that goal. WVUE has been honored with the highest awards in journalism under Mr. Benson's ownership including a George Foster Peabody Award, two Dupont Awards and eight national Edward R. Murrow Awards.
In May of 2016, WVUE's 10 p.m. news became the highest rated late night newscast in New Orleans while the station's morning show is increasing viewership at a higher rate than all competitors in the same time period. In February 2017, WVUE's 4:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. morning show captured more viewers than any other newscast in New Orleans. Benson purchased WVUE at a time when the station did not have other viable suitors and quickly established the station as the premier news entity in the New Orleans market through its investment in journalism and acquiring top notch talent.
"We are very proud to say that we accomplished our goals in large part through our continued investments in the station and most importantly, through the hard work of Fox 8's employees," said Benson. "With the ever-changing media landscape, we believe it is in the best interest of the station to sell and transfer control to our media partners at Raycom. They have been a great partner over the last few years and shown the remarkable dedication and commitment to our community. I was immediately impressed with the leadership and management of Raycom and they've given me assurances that they will continue to operate the station with the highest standards that viewers have come to expect. I am confident that they will succeed in their endeavors and wish them nothing but the best as they move forward."
Benson plans to retain a portion of ownership interest in the station. "Although I am announcing this move today, I want everyone to know that we have some very big plans for future investment in New Orleans and in the near future we will be making these big announcements," Benson said. "I have never been more confident and excited about our city and the residents of this great city and region. As they say in the news business, 'Stay tuned!'"