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10/28/2011

BizPress CEO Rich Connor on the hunt for more newspaper acquisitions

Just got off the phone with the former Star-Telegram publisher Rich Connor, who said Friday he’s stepping down as CEO of MaineToday Media on Dec. 31, four years after he bought the media company with investors.

Connor, 64, who also is chairman of a media company that owns the Fort Worth Business Press and Collin County Business Press and is publisher of The Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said he’s on the hunt for more acquisitions.

"I’m looking at newspapers almost as we speak," he said. "I’m going to buy something else."

Connor said he expected to retain his investment in MaineToday, which owns the Portland Press-Herald in Maine and other newspapers and web sites.

"We’ll have to see how they run the company," said Connor, who was the Star-Telegram’s publisher from 1986 to 1997.

He said he was ready to move on from MaineToday, after leading an overhaul of the newspaper to focus on online. MaineToday recently reported its first increase in paid circulation in nearly five years.

"I’m tired," he said. "I’m literally the CEO and the editor and publisher."

He and his wife Deborah, who have a young daughter, have homes in Fort Worth, Pennsylvania, and Maine, Connor said.

Peter Brodsky, MaineToday chairman, said in a release that Connor’s "long experience in the newspaper industry provided a critical start to the reshaping of these newspapers."

Connor said he visits Fort Worth typically once a month, for 3-5 days, but now tries to avoid the summers.

- Scott Nishimura

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