The four Wyoming newspapers in the McCraken Newspaper Group, including the Laramie Boomerang, have been purchased by APG Media of the Rockies, LLC.
The sale went into effect Thursday.
APG is a subsidiary of Adams Publishing Group, LLC, a family-owned media company headquartered in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
“We’re very excited to have the McCraken group of newspapers and digital products join our company going forward,” said Stephen Adams, chair of APG. “The McCraken family has been a stalwart steward of its newspapers for generations, and it’s our goal to continue their tradition of locally-focused, community-driven editorial and reporting.”
Adams Publishing Group is a publisher of community newspapers, events, digital products and specialty magazines serving communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio. The Adams family also owns radio stations, outdoor advertising companies and Camping World/Good Sam, a national distributor of recreational vehicles and camping-related products and services.
The McCraken group was comprised of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne, the Laramie Boomerang, the Rawlins Daily Times and the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner.
“We are extremely pleased that the Adams group has purchased all four of our daily newspapers, and we feel that they will be excellent operators who will continue to provide solid local news coverage for our communities,” L. Michael McCraken said.
McCraken is president of Cheyenne Newspapers Inc., which published the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Laramie Boomerang. He is also vice president of Rawlins Newspapers Inc. and president of Rock Springs Newspapers Inc.
“We would like to thank our many loyal employees, advertising customers and subscribers who have helped our newspapers be so successful for so many years,” he said.
“Our family members and other long-time partners feel that we are placing our newspapers in very good hands with the sale to APG. We like their emphasis on local news coverage, their positive outlook for the future of small community newspapers such as ours and the respect that they show for their employees.”
Laramie Boomerang Publisher Jeff Robertson said he agrees APG will be a perfect fit for the paper’s emphasis on local news that occurs and affects Albany County.
“Our readers will appreciate the continued emphasis on local coverage,” Robertson said. “We will continue to provide news that focuses on our community. The ownership may have changed, but I doubt anyone will notice anything has changed.”
McCraken noted while many large, metropolitan newspapers have endured closures, mergers and major staff reductions, smaller newspapers serving local markets will likely be around for many years to come.
“The smaller newspapers have different revenue, cost and competitive factors than the large metros, and our franchise really is local news coverage,” he said. “No media competitors in any of our markets have larger or more experienced newsroom staffs than our daily newspapers.”
“Certainly, all of us in the newspaper business have faced a much more challenging business climate, especially since the recession, but the Adams group clearly believes there is a strong future for community newspapers.”
McCraken also noted the four newspapers have been strong proponents of public access to government records and meetings. The group’s newspapers have won numerous court cases challenging government attempts to deny access.
Adams also announced Scott P. Walker was named WTE publisher in Cheyenne. It is the first time since 1926 the Cheyenne newspaper has had a publisher who is not a McCraken.
McCrakens had long history in state newspaper business
By BOOMERANG STAFF
The Wyoming Eagle, the only newspaper in the state in 1926 with a Democratic editorial policy, was a struggling weekly when U.S. Sen. John B. Kendrick persuaded an energetic young newspaperman, Tracy S. McCraken, to consider taking it over.
Tracy McCraken worked as a reporter for the Laramie Boomerang while attending the University of Wyoming, where he graduated with a journalism degree. After military service in World War I, he returned to Laramie to manage the paper. He later joined the staff of Gov. William B. Ross as executive secretary and, in 1924, left Wyoming to serve as secretary for Sen. Kendrick.
Using a borrowed $3,000, Tracy McCraken became owner and manager of the Eagle on June 13, 1926. While the newspaper had difficulty paying its bills for the first several months, by 1933, the Eagle was a recognized newspaper in the state and Tracy was a rising power in the state Democratic party.
Even though Cheyenne and the rest of the country were suffering through the Great Depression, Tracy McCraken made the jump of converting the weekly into a daily newspaper in January 1933.
In 1937, Tracy McCraken successfully merged his company with the larger and more successful Wyoming Tribune, which had a Republican editorial policy and a more modern printing plant.
In 1938, Tracy McCraken, with former UW classmate C. Stanley Greenbaum, bought the Laramie Boomerang.
In 1939, Tracy McCraken, with Ted O’Melia of Rawlins, bought the Worland Grit, renaming it the Northern Wyoming Daily News. That newspaper was sold in 2014.
On Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Tracy McCraken and his partner, David Richardson, began joint publication of the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner. The former Rock Springs Rocket and the Rock Springs Miner newspapers experienced several ownership changes before Tracy McCraken and Richardson became involved in the papers and decided to join forces.
In 1946, Tracy McCraken, O’Melia and other partners bought the Rawlins Daily Times.
Tracy McCraken started KFBC Radio in Cheyenne in 1940 and pioneered television in Wyoming with the opening of KFBC-TV in Cheyenne in 1954.
By then, Tracy McCraken achieved a powerful position in state politics, serving as Democratic national committeeman from 1942-1960.
His last year in that position brought him one of his greatest political triumphs. At the Los Angeles Democratic National Convention on July 13, 1960, as chairman of the Wyoming delegation, Tracy cast Wyoming’s votes that nominated John F. Kennedy for president.
Tracy McCraken died Dec. 26, 1960.
Taking over was his eldest son, Robert S. McCraken, who had been publisher of the newspaper since 1957. Tracy McCraken’s youngest son, William D. McCraken, managed the family’s broadcast operations. The family also started the community’s first cable television operation.
The broadcast and cable holdings were ultimately sold and, in 1985, the newspaper moved from its old location in downtown Cheyenne to a new printing plant at 702 W. Lincolnway, its current location.
Robert McCraken’s daughter, Cynthia M. Marek, joined the newspaper in 1986 as national advertising secretary and in 1989 became national advertising manager.
His son, L. Michael McCraken, joined the newspaper staff in 1987 as promotions manager after working in news and advertising in Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado. Following Robert McCraken’s death Aug. 21, 1989, Michael was named executive editor and later became publisher in January 1991.
On April 1, 1994, the Eagle and Tribune were merged into a single morning newspaper to better employ the staff and avoid duplication in news coverage between the morning Eagle and the afternoon Tribune.
And in 2009, the sports writers of the Cheyenne and Laramie newspapers were combined to form a sports news bureau called WyoSports to provide better coverage of University of Wyoming sports and avoid duplicated coverage.