Media company Shaw buys west suburban family-owned newspapers

SHARE Media company Shaw buys west suburban family-owned newspapers
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Shaw Media said Wednesday it will buy west suburban Record Newspapers Inc. from owners Jeff and Kathy Farren.

The Record Newspapers, based in Yorkville, include the Kendall County Record in Yorkville, the Ledger-Sentinel in Oswego, the Plano Record and the Sandwich Record, as well as affiliated websites.

Shaw Media, a 164-year-old media company in Dixon, Illinois, owns newspapers, magazines, websites and niche publications throughout the suburbs, including in McHenry, Kane, Lake, DeKalb, DuPage and Grundy counties. The weekly and daily publications go out to 243,000 homes in a combination of paid and free distribution.

Terms of the deal, expected to be completed June 26, were not disclosed.

“We are proud to welcome The Record Newspapers to our growing portfolio of family-owned, community-focused media operations,” Shaw Media President John Rung said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing the Farrens’ tradition of quality local journalism, while expanding the Ledger-Sentinel’s and Record’s presence through digital formats.”

LeeAnn Atwood, group marketing director for Shaw Media, said Shaw is planning “to create a robust local website in Kendall County, including breaking news updates and extensive video coverage.”

“Our goal is to provide people in the Kendall County area a comprehensive local paper in print and real-time updates on their computer and mobile devices,” Atwood said in an email interview.

Kathy Farren, editor of The Record, said, “We have always worked hard to provide extensive local news coverage of our communities.

“So we are pleased with Shaw Media’s commitment to continue that level of coverage for our readers.”

Founded in 1864, the Kendall County Record was bought by the Farrens in 1973. The Farrens founded the Plano Record in 1976. They acquired the Oswego Ledger in 1979 and the Fox Valley Sentinel in 1980. The two papers were consolidated and called the Ledger-Sentinel. The Farrens launched the Sandwich Record in 1985.

The weeklies in Kendall County are mailed on a paid basis to 15,000 households in and around Yorkville and Oswego. The Sandwich Record is mailed for free to 5,000 households.

“The decision to sell was a difficult one,” Publisher Jeff Farren said. “We believe Shaw will be able to continue providing good newspapers for our readers and advertisers with more online content in the future.”

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