The Juneau Empire building at 3100 Channel Drive. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Sound Publishing buys Juneau Empire

Seattle-based Sound Publishing, Inc., announced today its purchase of the Juneau Empire and Capital City Weekly from GateHouse Media.

Sound Publishing President Gloria Fletcher broke the news to Empire and CCW staff at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The new owners steward a group of 49 publications in the greater Puget Sound Region.

Sound Publishing is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Black Press, a Victoria, British Columbia company with publications in Canada, Washington, Hawaii and California.

Founded in 1975 by current chairman and owner David Black, Black Press owns over 150 publications total.

Juneau Empire Publisher Joe Leong, who is also publisher of GateHouse Media’s other two Alaska holdings, the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai and Homer News, will be staying with GateHouse Media. He said he will be relocating to GateHouse Western Division headquarters in the Lower 48. It is not yet known who will be replacing Leong.

“I have absolutely enjoyed my time here, and the people I’ve worked with have been phenomenal,” Leong said. “The community of Juneau has been welcoming and although my time here has been short, I’ll miss it tremendously.”

With the purchase, Sound Publishing also acquired the Peninsula Clarion and Homer News from GateHouse.

Fletcher told Empire staff there are not any major changes planned right now.

The 105-year-old Empire was founded in 1912 by John Franklin Alexander Strong, a Canadian who moved his printing press from the gold rush town of Iditarod to start the earliest iteration of the Empire. Strong, of New Brunswick, came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. He worked as a reporter in Skagway and founded newspapers in Nome and Iditarod before coming to Juneau.

The Empire remained independently owned until March 20, 1969, when Southeastern Newspapers Corp., owned by William Morris III of Augusta, Georgia, purchased the Empire. Southeastern Newspapers Corp. and its successor companies owned the Empire until August 2017, when it was sold to GateHouse Media.

The Capital City Weekly is the Empire’s sister publication that covers arts and culture in Juneau, and is also based out of the Juneau Empire building on Channel Drive.

Gloria Fletcher, president of Sound Publishing. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)