The sale of The Daily Times and its related websites to Blount County Publishers LLC is final, having closed at midnight Sunday.
Blount County Publishers LLC is owned by the Greeneville-based John M. Jones family and is a sister company of Jones Media, Inc. The Daily Times, a 19,000 circulation seven day daily newspaper, was sold by Horvitz Newspapers, LLC, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and owners of The Daily Times since 1994.
As the sale became final, Gregg K. Jones, president and chief executive officer of Jones Media Inc. and Blount County Publishers LLC, announced that Ralph C. Baldwin Jr. has been named interim publisher of The Daily Times.
In a statement late Monday, Jones said, “My family and I are thrilled to be the new owners of The Daily Times and to have the opportunity to serve the wonderful Blount County community. Since the sale was announced July 1, we have been overwhelmed by the warm, welcoming embrace of the people in Blount County. We know full well how important it is for a strong community to have a strong, responsive, caring newspaper that reflects every aspect of the community and fights hard for its progress. Leaders in the community have already expressed a lot of support for us, and we pledge to do everything in our power to justify that support.”
Jones continued, “The next step is to name a publisher to lead the newspaper. Because Blount County is such a desirable place to live, we have been inundated by a number of extremely high-quality people wanting to be considered for the publisher position. In our efforts to find just the right person, we have narrowed the field considerably and expect to have a new publisher named in coming weeks. In the meantime, Ralph Baldwin, Jones Media’s chief operating officer, will be acting as interim publisher guiding the newspaper through the transition process. Ralph has served as Jones Media’s COO for a little over two years, after having served as publisher of The Daily Post-Athenian in Athens for 20 years. With already having many friends and acquaintances in the community and with his decades of newspaper and community leadership, Ralph was the perfect pick for the position and is genuinely excited to help the newspaper and the community become even stronger.”
The Jones family, which has published newspapers in Tennessee since 1916, is the owner of 14 community newspapers and nine travel/tourism guides published in East Tennessee and western North Carolina. The company’s flagship newspaper is The Greeneville Sun, a daily based in Greeneville. Among the other East Tennessee newspapers in the group are The Daily Post-Athenian (Athens), The Newport Plain Talk (Newport), the News-Herald (Loudon County), The Connection (Tellico Village), the Advocate and Democrat (Monroe County) and The Herald-News (Dayton).
The family’s travel/tourism publications include Best Read Guide and Lodging Guide, both serving the Sevierville-Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge region in Tennessee, and Official Interstate Guide, serving the Southeastern United States.
Cribb, Greene & Associates, an 87-year-old publishing company merger and acquisition firm, represented the Jones family in the acquisition.