Flag Family Media splits from radio with purchase of Watford City newspaper – InForum

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FARGO — A Fargo radio company has bought a weekly newspaper in the western oil country of North Dakota.

Flag Family Media announced on Tuesday, June 7 that it has purchased The McKenzie County Farmer in Watford City from Neal and Lisa Shipman effective July 1.

The transaction marks the company’s first non-radio purchase. The selling price has not been disclosed.

The group owns WZFG “The Flag” radio station in Fargo, KTGO radio in Tioga in far northwest North Dakota, and three stations in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

“The McKenzie County Farmer has a rich tradition of serving the Watford City area since 1908,” said Steve Hallstrom, president and managing partner of Flag Family Media. “The city has grown from 1,500 residents to 10,000 in just six years, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

“We will work very hard to make the community proud with new ideas and centuries-old journalism,” Hallstrom said. “We believe the newspaper has a very bright future in print and electronic form.”

Scott Hennen, Vice Chairman and Business Partner, said: “From the first time I visited Watford City, long before the Bakken boom, I realized it was a very special place because of its wonderful people. The Bakken has brought me back hundreds of times since, and every trip is memorable. Now we’re here to stay. We look forward to watching the smart growth while reporting the stories of “locals” and “new” families.”

The McKenzie County farmer has won hundreds of awards in the North Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper contest. At the 2019 Joint North Dakota and South Dakota Newspaper Convention, the paper received first place for overall excellence and “Best of the Dakotas” awards in the larger weekly category.

The McKenzie County Farmer is a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 2,000, according to the North Dakota Newspaper Association’s media guide.

Flag Family Media is a division of Bakken Beacon Media LLC, a regional communications and media company, and also operates WDAY Radio, which is owned by Forum Communications.

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