Steve Gibson’s Righthaven LLC has added another newspaper chain to his list of clients according to a report in Wired. WEHCO Media, Inc. of Little Rock, Arkansas owns 15 daily newspapers, 13 weekly newspapers, and 13 cable companies. The majority of their holdings are in Arkansas.
It is not surprising that WEHCO has jumped on the Righthaven copyright troll litigation bandwagon. In November 2009, their subsidiary, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. formed an equal partnership with Stephens Media LLC and combined their operations in northwest Arkansas. The jointly owned company is called Northwest Arkansas Newspapers, LLC.
Knowing the relationship between WEHCO and Stephens Media now explains why they published a pro-Righthaven story in NWAOnline. I referred to the NWAOnline in the Stalinist term of “useful idiots”. Since I didn’t know of the relationship at the time, I am now changing my description of them to “fellow travelers”.
So who or what is WEHCO Media? WEHCO stands for Walter E. Hussman Company. Hussman was the son-in-law of Clyde Palmer who started what would become WEHCO in the early 1900s in Texarkana, AR when he bought the Texarkana Courier. Over the next few decades Palmer expanded his chain to include newspapers in Hot Springs, El Dorado, Camden, Magnolia, and Hope.
Hussman entered his father-in-law’s business a few year after marrying Betty Palmer. He succeeded Palmer as president of the newspaper chain in 1957 upon Palmer’s death. During the 1960s, he started to expand the company into the cable TV business which accounts for the 13 cable companies now owned by WEHCO. In 1973, Palmer Newspapers became WEHCO Media. The company is now run by Walter, Jr. who had managed the Arkansas Democrat of Little Rock which in time became the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
I think it can be safely said that between WEHCO Media and Stephens Media that they control the newspaper business in the state of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has the largest circulation of any paper in Arkansas and is the 43rd largest paper nationwide. So what newspapers and magazines does WEHCO own so that bloggers can avoid them just like we are avoiding the Stephens Media holdings. The following is a list by state:
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Inc.
Banner-News Publishing Company
Benton County Daily Record *
El Dorado News Times
Fayetteville Free Weekly*
Gentry Courier-Journal/Decatur Herald*
Gravette News Herald*
La Prensa Libre*
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette *
Northwest Arkansas Times *
Rogers Morning News *
Springdale Morning News *
The Siloam Springs Herald Leader*
The Times of Northeast Benton County*
The Weekly Vista*
Washington County Enterprise-Leader*
White River Valley News*
* Part of “Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC”
UPDATE: The Atlantic named Walter Hussman, Jr. as one of their 27 “Brave Thinkers” because he began charging for online access to his newspapers back in 2002. I wonder if getting in bed with copyright trolls would also qualify as “brave thinking.”