Free Times, the weekly newspaper in Columbia, SC, has a new owner.
Portico Media SC of Charlottesville, VA, has sold the publication, its websites and auxiliary publications to Resorts Media LLC, a new company formed and owned by Charlie Nutt, a 40-year veteran of the news industry, according to Gary Greene, Cribb, Greene & Associates, who represented Portico in the transaction.
Founded in 1987 as an alternative weekly, Free Times has been owned by Portico since 2004.
Nutt described Free Times as “a very good newspaper with a strong staff.” He said he hopes to build on that strength and also expand the company’s digital offerings.
Bill Chapman, chairman of Portico Media SC, said, “It feels good to be putting the Free Times back in the hands of a Columbia-based owner. I feel we did some great things there but are now turning our attention back to our Virginia publications. Our staff, readers and customers are in good hands with Charlie.”
All current Free Times employees will be offered jobs with Resorts Media. Nutt will move to Columbia and take over the vacant position of publisher of Free Times.
For the past two years Nutt has run a newspaper consulting business, Annlo Communications LLC, based in New Jersey. Prior to that he spent 36 years with the Gannett Co. During his career he served as publisher of two Gannett daily newspapers and editor of three, in addition to overseeing websites and several weekly publications.
Terms of the Free Times transaction, which was finalized on December 18, were not disclosed. Cribb, Greene & Associates is a ninety-year-old newspaper brokerage, appraisal and consulting firm with offices in Bozeman, Montana and Charlottesville, Virginia.