A century of Kavanagh newspaper ownership has come to an end. Brian and LeAnne Kavanagh have sold the Shelby Promoter, as well as the Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Browning Glacier Reporter and The Valierian to Jesse Mullen and Lloyd Mullen of Ponderosa Publications, LLC according to John Cribb, Cribb, Cope & Potts who represented the Kavanagh family. The sale is effective March 1.
“After 40 years in this business, LeAnne and I have decided it is time to slow down and start making a bucket list. We have had a great run and feel we have made a difference in the communities we have served, but now it is time for someone with more energy and enthusiasm to take over,” said Brian.
“Like us, Jesse and Lloyd come from a family of newspapering and they know and understand how vital a strong, vibrant newspaper presence is to a community. We feel confident we are leaving our newspapers in good hands,” LeAnne added.
“Lloyd and I are honored Brian and LeAnne chose us to be the new caretakers of these newspapers,” said Jesse. “We’re excited to continue producing award winning Montana journalism for our readers.”
Ponderosa Publications is affiliated with Mullen Newspaper Company based in Deer Lodge. Mullen Newspaper Company manages three other Montana newspapers, the Silver State Post in Deer Lodge, Philipsburg Mail, and Bitterroot Star in Stevensville.
Brian and LeAnne were the fourth generation of Kavanaghs to own and operate the Promoter, dating back to October 1922. They have been a staple in the Cut Bank community since 1982. They managed the Cut Bank Pioneer Press for then owner John Kavanagh, working at every position in the newspaper at one time or another. They purchased the Glacier Reporter in 1985, followed by the Shelby Promoter and Cut Bank Pioneer Press in 1995 and The Valierian in 2002.
The Kavanaghs and their staffs have won numerous Montana Newspaper Association and National Newspaper Association awards for reporting, column writing, advertising, photography, design and online publications, as well as the coveted General Excellence and General Excellence in Advertising awards.
Brian and LeAnne were honored by the Montana Newspaper Association as Master Editor Publishers in 2008. LeAnne gained a “watchdog” reputation for holding local governments accountable and being a voice for freedom of information, open meetings and the public’s right to know.
The couple received the MNA President’s Award in 2007 for their efforts to promote and protect the public’s right to know, following a successful lawsuit against the Cut Bank School District in a right to know case, which clarified the infamous Fleenor decision of the Montana Supreme Court. The clarification assured continuing access for the press and citizens to the Montana court system to assert their rights to an open and transparent government.
Both Brian and LeAnne have been honored as Outstanding Citizens of the Year by the Cut Bank Area Chamber of Commerce, LeAnne in 1992 and Brian in 2012.
Jesse and his wife, Sasha, reside in Deer Lodge with their children, five dogs, three horses, and a geriatric mule. Jesse and Sasha own the Browsing Bison bookstore group in Southwest Montana.
Jesse has been involved with newspapers since he got his start as a newspaper delivery boy at the Sioux City Journal, oftentimes with the assistance of Lloyd, then four-years-old.
Lloyd and his wife Karen live in Port Townsend, Wash. with their two dogs. Lloyd is an owner of the Port Townsend Leader. Both of the Mullen brothers attended the University of Wyoming.
The Kavanaghs were represented by John Cribb of Cribb, Cope & Potts. CCP is a leading merging and acquisition firm with offices in Montana, California, and Arkansas.
“We have been very fortunate to serve our readers for 40 years and we are thankful for the support we received. The rural Montana lifestyle we take for granted is something more and more people are seeking and we are excited to continue to invest in the future of this area–just in a different way,” LeAnne shared.
The Kavanaghs recently opened Tee to Green, an indoor golf simulator business in Cut Bank and are looking forward to making that another successful–and fun–business venture.