Steamboat Pilot & Today has new owners
Colorado Mountain News Media, a division of Swift Communications, purchases newspaper
Steamboat Springs — The Simons family of Lawrence, Kansas, owners of WorldWest Limited Liability Company, announced today they have sold the Steamboat Pilot & Today to Colorado Mountain News Media, a division of Swift Communications.
Dolph and Dan Simons, co-managers of the Kansas-based company, negotiated the terms of the sale of the paper, which is expected to be finalized in the next two months.
“Our family has been coming to the valley since the 1960s, and we were thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to run the Pilot and Today since 1994,” said Dan Simons. “We are proud of the employees and their commitment to quality journalism. It has been a pleasure to be heavily vested in the matters of discussion for the valley; I believe we have always reported in the best interest of Steamboat and its citizens.”
“The Simons family has sincere admiration and appreciation for our colleagues at the Steamboat Pilot & Today and we will miss this association, said Dolph C. Simons III. “They have consistently published respected, insightful and award-winning journalism products. I envision the same occurring under Swift’s leadership. They will be a perfect fit for Steamboat Springs and surrounding communities.”
In addition to the Pilot & Today, the sale includes Steamboat TV; websites Steamboat Today.com, Explore Steamboat.com and SteamboatHomeFinder.com as well as the Craig Daily Press newspaper and websites in Craig.
Bob Brown, Swift Communications president and chief operating officer, and Suzanne Schlicht, Steamboat Pilot & Today publisher, met today with Steamboat and Craig staff members to announce the pending sale.
The Steamboat Pilot has roots dating back to 1885. Steamboat Today, the company’s free daily newspaper, began in 1989. The newspaper was owned and operated for three generations by the Leckenby family, pioneers in the Yampa Valley. Raljon Publishing, Inc. acquired the newspaper in 1989 and held it until 1994, when WorldWest bought the newspaper.
Swift Communications was established in 1975 and is based in Carson City, Nevada. The company owns more than two dozen regional and local publications in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Swift Communications specializes in serving mountain resort communities with daily newspapers, as well as large, national circulation and glossy magazines and a number of online products. Swift owns free daily newspapers, with similar formats to Steamboat Today, in four Colorado communities. These include the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Summit Daily News and Vail Daily.
“I have had the privilege of a 20-plus-year professional relationship with Suzanne Schlicht and have admired what she and her teams in Steamboat and Craig have achieved,” said Brown. “Their commitment to their communities, their staff and quality are attributes that Colorado Mountain News Media and Swift embrace. We have a special affection for ski town resort communities and are thrilled with Steamboat joining our team.”
The owners of WorldWest are Dolph C. Simons III, Dan C. Simons, Linda deMenocal and Pamela Simons. The Simons family traces its newspaper roots to 1891, when W.C. Simons acquired the newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas. The WorldWest owners are the great grandchildren of W.C. Simons. The family has been frequent visitors to Steamboat since the 1960s and will continue to own the real estate that houses the newspaper as well as residential properties.
Under WorldWest’s ownership, the papers have been recognized with General Excellence awards more than a dozen times by the Colorado Press Association.
“We have long admired the journalistic and operational excellence of the Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Craig Daily Press and the important leadership position these organizations hold in their communities,” said Bill Waters, Swift Communications chief executive officer. “Opportunities abound to share content, resources, strategy and career opportunities across our Rocky Mountain, Wasatch Mountain, and Sierra Nevada/Lake Tahoe enterprises, strengthening our commitment to these world class resort markets.”
The Simons family will continue to live part time in Steamboat Springs. “We will still enjoy all the great things Steamboat offers, but it is time to pass the baton on to a company more able to compete in today’s changing information business,” said Dan Simons.
Separately, WorldWest will sell its Arizona newspaper, Payson Roundup, to White Mountain Publishing LLC, a division of Kramer Publications based in Case Grande, Arizona.
The Simons family also announced the pending sale of the media operations of The World Company, including the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper. The World Company and WorldWest LLC share common ownership.
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