Bell Press Acquires Chetek, WI Alert

Bell Press, Inc., publishers of weekly newspapers in Barron, Ladysmith and Bloomer, all in northwest Wisconsin, has acquired the nearby 129-year-old Chetek Alert, owned in part by the same family since 1944. Melodee A. Eckerman, who succeeded her mother, Ida Mason, as part-owner of the newspaper in 1985, was the owner at the time of the sale, acquiring the rest of the stock of the newspaper from Paul Lange in 1999. In addition to being publisher at the time of the sale she also was editor. John Szefc of Grimes, McGovern & Associates represented Eckerman in the sale. The Alert has 2,800 subscribers in Barron County and is considered a significant strategic acquisition, according to James Bell, president of Bell Press Two of the three Bell properties have a larger circulation than Chetek. Barron has 4,200 paid while Ladysmith has 5,500 paid. Bloomer, on the other hand, has 2,800 subscribers.

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