A Bangor city councilor who started the magazine Maine Seniors recently sold his publication to Reade Brower, the owner of six of Maine’s seven daily newspapers and weekly newspapers across much of the state.
The city councilor, David Nealley, said that he officially sold the magazine June 28, but he will remain involved with it until a special collector edition comes out Aug. 1 celebrating some highlights from its eight-year history.
Nealley declined to disclose how much Brower, who lives in Camden, paid to acquire the magazine. Nealley also did not share the magazine’s circulation figures but said that since its first issue came out in August 2011, it has become widely circulated in waiting rooms around the state.
The monthly publication covers issues that affect older Americans and has included interviews with prominent Mainers such as Gov. Janet Mills, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, and Stephen and Tabitha King.
Nealley said that he has run the magazine as “a skinny operation” and decided to sell it to Brower with the hope that he can size it up.
Over its eight years, Nealley said, Maine Seniors has only ever had one or two full-time employees at any one time. About 90 percent of the people who helped put it together did so on a freelance basis, according to Nealley.
“He has the opportunity to continue the growth due to his resources,” Nealley said of Brower. “I had a good run with it. I’m proud of the product. I want it to be a harmonious transition.”
After starting in the midcoast, Brower’s Maine media empire has grown exponentially in recent years. In spring 2015, he bought the media company that included the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. In summer 2017, he bought the group that includes the Lewiston Sun Journal and its affiliated weekly papers.
The next year, he acquired a number of other publications, including the Times Record of Brunswick, the Journal Tribune of Biddeford and two weeklies in Hancock County, the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He also owns several other specialty publications such as the regional TravelMAINE guides and Downeast Dog News.
The Bangor Daily News is the only daily newspaper in the state that he does not own.
Brower did not respond to an email seeking comment.
In a statement on one of his news websites, Brower said that he’s “excited to take over the reins of Maine Seniors. David Nealley has done an outstanding job building this magazine to be at the forefront of this important niche market. The feature stories and important information in each issue make this a must-read for Maine seniors and those who love them.”
The idea for Maine Seniors came when Nealley, now 58, was hosting a program about seniors on Stephen King’s Bangor-based radio station and decided to spin it off into a magazine, he said.
Nealley said that he is close to lining up another job to take up his time now that he won’t be running Maine Seniors, but could not offer details on it yet.
“It’s possible I’d stay in the same industry,” he said.