March 29, 2020
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BDN acquires weekly newspaper covering Old Town-Orono area

Matthew Stone | BDN
Matthew Stone | BDN
Bangor Publishing Co. has acquired the Penobscot Times, a weekly newspaper based in Old Town, from Sun Media Group.

The parent company of the Bangor Daily News is the new owner of the Penobscot Times, a small weekly newspaper that covers Old Town, Orono and surrounding towns.

Bangor Publishing Co. has acquired the weekly paper’s assets from Sun Media Group, one of several news organizations owned by Reade Brower, whose holdings include six of Maine’s seven daily newspapers and weekly newspapers across much of the state. Neither organization disclosed the sale price.

Information about how the sale will affect the operations of the Penobscot Times, which now rents an office on Main Street in Old Town and has three staff members listed in a recent issue, was not immediately available.

Bangor Publishing Co. is still working out many of those details, according to BDN Vice President Jennifer Holmes.

Founded in 1888, the Penobscot Times spent an early chunk of the 20th century under the co-ownership of John McKernan, an accomplished journalist who had previously served as the BDN’s sports editor. McKernan, the father of former Gov. John McKernan Jr., bought the weekly with Joseph Sewall in 1948 and ran it until his untimely death in 1964.

“It’s an honor that a newspaper with such a long history in our region and that was once owned by a former sports editor of the Bangor Daily News, John McKernan, would become part of the BDN’s team,” said BDN President Todd Benoit.

The Penobscot Times was something of a geographical outlier for Sun Media Group, which includes the Sun Journal in Lewiston, as well as some weekly papers in western Maine. The group is part of Brower’s larger chain of papers that also includes the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Morning Sentinel in Waterville and Portland Press Herald, and stretches up the coast to Hancock County.

“Sun Media Group and the Bangor Daily News have partnered and collaborated on several projects over the years,” said Jody Jalbert, general manager of Sun Media Group. “With the Penobscot Times and the Bangor Daily News sharing the same geography, it makes perfect sense for them to be part of the same family of publications.”

The sale brings the total number of weekly publications owned by the BDN’s parent company to seven. It also owns the Piscataquis Observer of Dover-Foxcroft, the Aroostook Republican of Caribou, The Star-Herald of Presque Isle, the Houlton Pioneer Times, the St. John Valley Times of Madawaska, the Fiddlehead Focus news website of Fort Kent and the BDN’s free newspaper The Weekly.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the geographical range of Sun Media Group.

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