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Raycom Media to merge with Community Newspaper Holdings

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Raycom Media Inc., which owns Columbia television station WIS, and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. have agreed to a merger that will create one of the nation’s largest privately owned media groups.

Raycom owns or operates 65 television and two radio stations in 44 markets in 20 states. Community Newspaper Holdings, which owns more than 110 newspapers, websites and niche publications in 22 states, will operate as a Raycom Media subsidiary.

WIS general manager Lyle Schulze said his station is not expecting any changes.

“This does make the company bigger and broader, but it doesn’t affect us right now,” Schulze said. “It’s business as usual.”

The merger is expected to be completed on Sept. 29.

In the seven cases where markets for Raycom Media broadcast stations and CNHI newspapers overlap, the newspaper properties will be sold to a third party. CNHI does not own any South Carolina publications.

“While it is contrary to the trend of separating newspapers and television properties, we believe the synergies this merger creates will only enhance our ability to deliver exceptional local content, extend our community presence and grow our respective multimedia footprints,” said Pat LaPlatney, president and CEO of Raycom Media, in a news release.

Raycom, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., covers more than 16 percent of U.S. television households and employs more than 4,800 people. CNHI was founded in Lexington, Ken., in 1997 and later based in Birmingham, Ala., before moving its headquarters to Montgomery six years ago. In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, CNHI also publishes numerous community magazines and specialty news and advertising products.

“This marks an important milestone in our history as we combine two award-winning media organizations with the common mission of delivering quality local news and information across print, broadcast and digital platforms,” said Donna Barrett, CNHI president and CEO.

The organizations have received numerous national, regional and state honors for news coverage, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi awards and Peabody awards, along with Dupont-Columbia University Awards for investigative reporting and hurricane coverage and Edward R. Murrow awards for public service, investigative reporting and breaking news coverage. 

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