Rochester’s Post-Bulletin sold to Fargo media company

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) —  The financial shake-out in newspaper publishing has hit Rochester–the Post-Bulletin announced Thursday morning that it has been sold.

According to the newspaper–which broke the story about itself–the Small Newspaper Group sold the P-B to Forum Communications effective June 1.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Both companies are family-owned enterprises.  The Small family has owned the P-B since 1977.  Forum Communications is based in Fargo, North Dakota, and said it owns “more than 50 publication titles, four ABC-affiliated television stations, commercial printing businesses, an interactive division, full-service content marketing, video production, radio, multiple news websites and Forum News Service, which distributes to more than 120 newspapers, including about 100 in Minnesota.

Bill Marcil, Jr., Len Small and Bill Marcil, Sr. in the Post Bulletin newsroom after sale was announced to the staff (Photo courtesy the Rochester Post Bulletin)

There will be changes, but the extent of changes is initially unclear.

According to the P-B’s own article, written by Forum Communications’ Director of Content Steve Wagner, after June 1 the newspaper is expected to be published in Red Wing, where Forum has a printing plant.  Wagner noted that the P-B is the largest Minnesota newspaper published in the afternoon and has a daily circulation of 27,395.  The newspaper does not publish a Sunday edition, but puts out a “weekend edition” on Saturday that Wagner said has a circulation of 30,211.

“The first step is for us to assess the needs going forward, we are meeting with everyone, trying to get to know what everyone does,” said Stephanie Schroeder, Chief Digital Marketing Officer for Forum Communications.

Asked if the staff will continue to work out of its current newsroom facility in downtown Rochester, Schroeder said “we are still figuring out a transition plan.”

The Post-Bulletin’s facility and land in downtown Rochester is not included in the transaction.  It has been listed for sale for some time, and with Destination Medical Center in full bloom its property across from the Mayo Civic Center might command a high price tag.

“Forum Communications has been in the business of producing quality journalism for over 100 years,” said Bill Marcil, Jr., President of Forum Communications, in a news release about the transaction.  “We look forward to building on the legacy of a similar family-owned news operation, working alongside the award-winning Post-Bulletin staff to expand the footprint of our quality local news content.”

Post Bulletin President Len R. Small was quoted as telling employees the new owners are “worthy custodians” of the newspaper.

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He's a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester. Email Noel at nsederstrom@kttc.com

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