Newspaper groups merge
By LIGHT STAFFThe announcement that two of San Diego’ s leading coastal newspaper groups have merged is good news for La Jolla Light readers, Publisher Phyllis Pfeiffer said.
Late Wednesday, Anthony Allegretti, president and chief executive officer of MainStreet Media Group, and Dex Allen, president and publisher of CMC Publishing’s San Diego Ranch Coast Newspapers, announced that under the agreement, the Rancho Santa Fe Review will incorporate the Rancho Santa Fe Record and the Carmel Valley News will combine with the Carmel Valley Leader. The Del Mar Times will encompass the Del Mar Village Voice, and the Solana Beach Sun will continue to be published as a standalone paper.
“Everyone has read about the death of the American newspaper. But the local community newspaper is alive and well as evidenced by the growth this year of the La Jolla Light despite operating in a very challenging economy,” Pfeiffer said.
“We provide news and information that is close to home that people really care about,” she added, noting that the transaction “can only mean more product improvements and enhanced resources for the La Jolla Light.”
The first editions of the combined publications will be delivered to homes and news racks on Dec. 10-11. The company will operate under the name MainStreet Communications, and all newspapers will publish weekly.
“We’re taking the best of all of the papers, which have strong track records in reporting on their communities and people, plus solid advertising bases, to bring our readers even better local newspapers,” Allegretti said. “This merger eliminates the reader and advertiser confusion that multiple papers create in a community.”
Pfeiffer and Allen will share publishing responsibilities for the north coastal region, with Pfeiffer overseeing the Del Mar Times and Solana Beach Sun, and Allen the Rancho Santa Fe Review and Carmel Valley News, as well as San Diego Premier, a luxury real estate and lifestyles magazine. Veteran magazine publisher Tracy Pendergast will continue on as publisher of Premier Magazine.
“Our papers care about our communities and believe that local newspapers bind our neighborhoods together,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re looking forward to bringing readers and advertisers the best features from all of our papers as we move ahead.”
Allen added: “With this merger, we are able to expand the Carmel Valley News to a weekly publication and serve the fast-growing Carmel Valley marketplace on a more frequent basis. In doing so, the Carmel Valley News will join its sister publications as a weekly community newspaper serving the fastest-growing and most affluent demographics in San Diego County.”
Kathy Day is executive editor of the Del Mar Times and Solana Beach Sun as well as the Light; Halie Johnson is editor of the two north coastal papers. Lorine Wright continues as associate publisher/executive editor of the Rancho Santa Fe Review and the Carmel Valley News.
MainStreet Communications’ also publishes the Poway News Chieftain, Rancho Bernardo News Journal and Ramona Sentinel community weeklies plus the Sentinel and Rancho Monthly Magazines. Jeff Mitchell will continue as publisher of those publications.
The combined company offers advertisers an efficient way to reach 101,661 of the most affluent households in San Diego County. “Our readers comprise almost 10 percent of the households in the county and contribute nearly 20 percent of the effective buying income,” Pfeiffer said. “Advertisers can target just the La Jolla market or combine with any of our seven other papers to cost-effectively reach the best markets of San Diego County.”
About our papersLa Jolla’s first newspaper, the La Jolla Journal, began publishing in 1913 by A.O. Reed, B.B. Harlan and P.A. Depue, who sold it Will Shaw. In 1922, the Light came into play under the guidance of Al and Neil Fairbrother, who ran the paper until 1964, when it was bought by Clinton McKinnon. He merged the Light and Journal, for a while operating the paper as the Jolla Light and Journal.
Through several ownership changes during the years, including its purchase by MainStreet Media Group in 2002, the Light has maintained its tradition of bringing readers news and features about La Jolla people, the arts and local business. Publisher Phyllis Pfeiffer, who started her career at the Light in 1973 and ran the papers from 1977 to 1987, returned in 2008 to build on the tradition and expand the Light’s presence on the Web at www.lajollalight.com.
Today, the Light is a vital part of the La Jolla community and continues to win awards and earn praise from its readers.
The Del Mar Times and Solana Beach Sun have deep roots along coastal North County and indirect connections to the Encinitas Coast Dispatch. The Encinitas paper was bought by the Hicks family in 1929 and expanded to include the Del Mar Surfcomber, Rancho Santa Fe Times and Carlsbad Journal under the direction of Archie Hicks.
In 1992, Harte Hanks bought the Coast Dispatch, and expanded it to create West Coast Community Newspapers, which included the Del Mar Sun, Solana Beach Sun and Rancho Santa Fe Sun. But he soon sold the group to Gloria and Bill Harrison, publishers of San Bernardino area papers.
When they closed the Sun papers, Joe Jelley stepped up in 1996 to start the Del Mar Times and later acquired the Solana Beach Sun and added the Carmel Valley Leader.
In 2005, Jelley sold the newspapers to MainStreet Media, which had acquired the Light in 2002.
The Rancho Santa Fe Review and the Carmel Valley News have a long history in each of their communities, with the Rancho Santa Fe Review publishing for almost 30 years and the Carmel Valley News for almost 20 years.
Publisher Dex Allen bought the Rancho Santa Fe Review, Carmel Valley News and Del Mar Village Voice from longtime former owner Bob Page in 2004. Page is a former publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and Boston Herald.
The Rancho Santa Fe Review and the Carmel Valley News have won dozens of national, state and local editorial and advertising awards.
According to the accredited audit reports conducted on the newspapers’ circulation area — some of the most affluent communities in San Diego — the Rancho Santa Fe Review and the Carmel Valley News are distributed to 100 percent of homes in their markets and are read by almost 90 percent of those who receive the newspapers — a figure well above the national average.
MainStreet Communications team
Anthony AllegrettiAnthony Allegretti, president and CEO of MainStreet Media Group since forming the company in 2003, has more than 30 years of community newspaper experience, including senior-level positions with Pacific-Sierra Publishing, Park Communications, Ingersoll Publications and MediaNews Group. He currently serves as president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
From 1989 until the summer of 2000, he was president and chief executive officer of Independent Media Group (IMG), which grew from four dailies with annual revenue of
$11 million to 44 publications with revenue of $47 million generated from newspapers in Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. In 2001 he joined Pacific-Sierra as president and CEO.
Dex AllenA high school contest helped launch the career of 40-year broadcaster Allen. Winning a “DJ of the Week” contest on Los Angeles’ KLAC in 1960, Allen began a 10-year run as a DJ. He eventually moved into sales and management in markets around the country.
In the early ‘80s, a first ownership opportunity came for Allen with the formation of Commonwealth Broadcasting and the acquisition of KMEN-KGGI, Riverside-San Bernardino. Commonwealth’s growth with additional acquisitions in Sacramento, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Yuma carried the company through the mid-'90s. In 1996, Commonwealth’s six stations were sold to public company broadcasters and Allen joined Steve Hicks and Capstar Broadcasting as president and CEO of Pacific Star.
In mid-1998, Allen and Alta Communications of Boston relaunched Commonwealth II.
In 2004, Allen & California Communications bought the Rancho Santa Fe Review, Carmel Valley News & Del Mar Village Voice.
Phyllis PfeifferA graduate of Cornell University, Pfeiffer started her newspaper career at the La Jolla Light in 1973 and served as its publisher from 1978 to 1987. She then became general manager of the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times until the Times closed its San Diego operation at the end of 1992.
She and her family then headed to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she served as president and publisher of the Marin Independent Journal. Most recently, Pfeiffer was senior vice president of advertising for the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2008, she returned as publisher of the La Jolla Light, Del Mar Times, Solana Beach Sun, Carmel Valley Leader and Rancho Santa Fe Record.
She is a founding director of the La Jolla Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and enhancing La Jolla for future generations.
She has also served on the Board of Overseers at UCSD, and the boards of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the Medical Education and Research Foundation at UCSD.
Tracy PendergastIn April 2006, Pendergast launched San Diego PREMIER Properties & Lifestyles magazine. As publisher, she has guided this publication over its 3 1/2 years into a leading San Diego County real estate and lifestyle magazine, combining an elite portfolio of properties for sale with products and services from the area businesses. Pendergast credits her success to listening to her clients and readers while following the market to keep PREMIER readers on the forefront.