Forum Communications Co., based in Fargo, N.D., announced Thursday, Dec. 26, it has entered into an agreement to purchase Echo Publishing and the Brainerd Dispatch from Morris Communications Co., effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Morris Communications, based in Augusta, Ga., has owned Echo Publishing since 1999 and the Dispatch since 1995.
Echo Publishing publishes the weekly Pineandlakes Echo Journal newspaper and the weekly Echoland-Piper Shopper.
“We now have a more regional ownership group that is very familiar with our area,” said Pete Mohs, publisher of Echo Publishing. “We’re looking forward to sharing ideas and resources with the Forum Communications group.”
Bill Marcil Jr. was recently named the new president/chief executive officer of Forum Communications Co., effective Jan. 1. He will continue as publisher of The Forum in Fargo. His father, William C. Marcil, is chairman of Forum Communications.
Forum Communications owns 37 newspapers throughout the Midwest. Most are small dailies and weeklies. Among the Forum’s properties are The Forum of Fargo, N.D., The Pioneer of Bemidji, Duluth News Tribune, Grand Forks Herald, the West Central Tribune of Willmar, the Daily Globe of Worthington, as well as the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Park Rapids Enterprise, Perham Focus, Alexandria Echo Press, The Pine Journal in Cloquet and Detroit Lakes newspapers.
The Forum holdings also include four ABC television affiliates in North Dakota, an AM radio station in Fargo and commercial printing businesses. Forum Communications employs about 1,800 people.
The media company has a news bureau with about 180 employees.