BringMeTheNews is changing hands.
The Minnesota-focused digital and radio news service – started 5 1/2 years ago by longtime local news name Rick Kupchella – is being purchased by Go Media, owned by Pohlad Companies.
In a press release announcing the deal, Joe Pohlad, the executive vice president of Go Media, said they're “excited” to become “the go-to source for local news, culture, entertainment and music.”
Kupchella called it a “perfect combination of two locally driven media organizations,” adding he's looking forward to watching it continue to grow. He also released a video thanking BringMeTheNews readers and announcing the launch of his new healthcare news operation, PresentNation.
The deal immediately expands the media footprint of Go Media which, up to this point, had mainly been the 96.3 FM channel and accompanying website. (That station was rebranded from its former name and format, KTWN, earlier this year.)
The Pohlads also own the Minnesota Twins, UnitedProperties, a number of car dealerships, and other businesses.
“With our new format and talent additions, we are energized by the momentum we are building at Go 96.3. Our acquisition of BringMeTheNews is an exciting next step.” Joe Pohlad said. “We believe our organizations are a great fit for each other. Combining the power and reach of radio with an increasingly large online news division, we will be better able to provide our listeners, readers and advertising partners a more multi-channel experience.”
Kupchella, who is parting ways with an organization he’s raised since conception, likened it to a natural progression in life: raising a child.
“This is not unlike raising kids in the sense that you kind of have this vision of what you're going to do. You set about executing that plan to start a family and to raise children,” he said. “Then they become their own people. They surprise you with where they go and what they do and how they connect. And this is a very real parallel to me. This is at a good place in the life of this company to date to ‘let go,’ because I believe that the Pohlads are in a really well-positioned place to grow this faster than we could on our own.”
Initially, that will include getting to know the BringMeTheNews staff, Pohlad says, to figure out how to “further build” on the current digital format.
Sam Gagliardi, senior vice president of Go Media, said 96.3 listeners should expect some BringMeTheNews content, joining the other stations across the state that already run news, sports, and business casts.
“The BMTN newscasts are already award-winning, we certainly don’t want to get in the way of something that is working so well for the listeners,” Gagliardi said. “We’ll only look to enhance an already excellent product.”
On a national level, curation sites – which pull in the top news from a wide variety of sources – have begun to establish a foothold with consumers. Pages such as BuzzFeed, Vox, UpWorthy and others have gained large numbers of viewers or significant backing from established journalists.
But BringMeTheNews is one of the few sites to scale that to a statewide level, according to Al Tompkins, senior faculty for broadcast and online with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Tompkins said when BringMeTheNews started, “there was nothing else like it.”
That includes both how the news is gathered – collected from sources that are vetted by journalists, then presented with fact-checking and context – and also how it’s reported on.
Many of the successful national aggregators openly lean a certain direction, whether it’s politically or culturally, Tompkins said. BringMeTheNews, he added, has “been able to keep the journalist roots in ways that most aggregators don’t.”
Kupchella is quick to note those well-known national curation-based brands were either non-existent or just-born when BringMeTheNews started. When asked if those sites’ success served as validation for BringMeTheNews’ model, he veered back to the readers.
“Nothing validates what we've done more than growing the audience about ten-fold in the last two years on the dot com. And growing the radio audience to 400-500 thousand a week on air,” he said. “If we've proven anything to this point, it is that we know how to build an audience. We have gotten this thing to a scale of real competition in this marketplace.”