Sample Media Sells Off Some Maine Assets
Pennsylvania-based Sample Media announced on July 13 that it was selling off its building in Brunswick and the Alliance Press printing operation to a partnership formed by one of its executives and the owner of several weekly newspapers.
Sample subsidiary Brunswick Publishing LLC, owner of the Times Record afternoon daily, is selling its building and printing business to a new company formed by Chris Miles, who had been the president of Brunswick Publishing, and RFB Co-Op of Rockland. RFB is owned by Reade Brower, who also owns the weekly Free Press and Courier Gazette in Rockland, the Camden Herald and the Republican Journal in Belfast. RFB is already one of Alliance’s biggest customers.
Brunswick Publishing will continue to put out the Times Record and will rent its current space and buy press time from the new owners. No layoffs are expected, according to Brunswick Publishing owner George Sample, and the company will pay off overdue property taxes that date back several years and totaled more than $265,000, according to a story in the Forecaster weekly last spring.
With Miles departure, Frank Curran has been named general manager of Brunswick Publishing.
The sale prompted considerable speculation about the fate of Sample’s other publications in Maine, which include the Journal Tribune, an afternoon paper in Biddeford, and the Mainely Media chain of weeklies in York and Cumberland counties. (Disclosure: My weekly political column appears in two Mainely Media papers.)
Several industry sources said it would make sense for Sample to sell the papers. “The Times Record and Journal Tribune have been struggling,” said one person with knowledge of the papers. “But both could be successful if the buyer can pick them up cheap.”
The Mainely Media papers are profitable and would likely be the major attraction in any sale.
Rumors that Brower was buying all or some of the Sample papers have been circulating for weeks. But in an interview two weeks ago, he rejected the idea. He said that since buying the Courier Gazette and the other papers of the defunct Village Soup company earlier this year, he’s been besieged by callers trying to convince him to make further acquisitions.
“I have absolutely no interest in buying any other newspapers in Maine, other than what I’ve got,” Brower said. “I’m not saying I’ll never buy another newspaper, but it’s not on my radar at all.”
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.