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GateHouse buys 'The News'

Published: February 8, 2017 12:00 AM

GateHouse Media, which operates 121 daily newspapers, numerous weekly and niche publications and is a nationwide leader in website services, has purchased the newspaper division of Dix Communications.

Included are five daily newspapers serving Wooster, Kent-Ravenna, Alliance, Ashland and Cambridge plus Dix weekly publications in Summit, Stark, Portage, Wayne, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Belmont Counties, their web publications, and numerous niche publications. The purchase includes the pressroom facility constructed in Wooster 15 years ago.

G. Charles Dix II, president and CEO of Dix Communications, announced the transaction today. GateHouse executives are on location at the five daily newspapers welcoming the Dix employees.

Not included in the sale are the Dix broadcasting properties in Wooster, Ohio and the Ocala-Gainesville, Florida area. Full Spectrum Marketing, a growing full service advertising agency, also remains with Dix.

Much larger GateHouse owns numerous publications in Ohio including the Columbus Dispatch and the Canton Repository. Its newspapers and state of the art web division serve more than 525 markets nationwide, in 36 states, and they reach over 20 million people on a weekly basis.

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"While we have a substantial footprint in Central Ohio, the new Dix Communications markets round out our portfolio nicely and add some wonderful newspapers and resources," said Bradley M. Harmon, president, GateHouse Central US Operations and publisher of the Columbus Dispatch. "Adding publications that adjoin our Canton market allows extension of news coverage for readers, and it expands audience potential for advertisers. We are very excited to add the Dix family of newspapers to our Ohio portfolio."

"We feel GateHouse has the regional and national scale necessary to advance the publishing industry and care for our communities with local news and advertising," said G. Charles Dix II.

"We've been in the industry for 119 years, and we've loved it. Prior generations, and current Dix family members, all have felt honor and pride in serving our local communities. We thank our readers and advertisers. It is our hope that along with publishing the news, we also aided our communities to grow and prosper economically too. We have enjoyed working alongside our Dix associates, both past and present, whose integrity, hard work and care helped shape the newspapers' success."

Dix noted that Dix Communications will continue in business with its ad agency, Full Spectrum Marketing, broadcast stations, and recently acquired Mock Woodworking Company. He said the family owned business would continue to seek new businesses to acquire, augmenting and growing its transitioned business.

A family owned business extending into five generations, Dix Communications got its start in 1893 when Emmett C. Dix, following graduation from Hiram College, bought, with the help of his father, Albert, into the newspaper business in Hamilton County, a venture that proved unsuccessful.

The two men, originally from Portage County, moved back to Northeast Ohio and in 1898 purchased the Wooster Daily Record. Its success led to further acquisitions of daily and weekly newspapers. Emmett's sons, Albert, Ray, Bob and Gordon joined and advanced the business. Emmett's youngest son, Harlan, was a doctor in Akron. At one time, Dix owned eight daily newspapers in Ohio and Kentucky. It also invested in network-affiliated television in West Virginia, Minnesota, Wyoming and Montana and in radio stations in Ohio, Maryland and Florida, and two small cable operations. Dix had already divested of its TVs, Md. radio, cables and publishing units in Kentucky and Defiance, OH.

Current principals in Dix are: G. Charles Dix II, Andrew S. Dix, Ann Dix Maenza, Troy Dix, Andrew R. Dix, Robert C. Dix and David Dix.


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