The acquisition of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal by Natural State Media, the parent company of Talk Business and Politics, is complete.
The publication was previously held by Tami and Darin Gray, owners of Gray Matters LLC. Darin Gray, now the chairman and CEO of Little Rock-based CJRW, was interested in selling the NWABJ to a media company able to build upon their success. The deal creates one of the largest Arkansas media companies focused on business and politics.
Management of the combined operation will include Roby Brock, CEO; Michael Tilley, president and executive editor; and Rob Gutterridge, executive vice president and NWABJ publisher. No significant immediate changes to the publication are planned, Brock said.
NWABJ editor Paul Gatling will continue managing production of the NWABJ, which is printed twice a month. NWABJ reporters Jennifer Joyner and Jeff Della Rosa will work with Talk Business & Politics senior analyst Kim Souza, Tilley and Talk Business & Politics writers and freelancers from around the state to produce stories for the website and publication.
“The staff and I are excited about joining the Natural State Media organization,” Gatling said. “Since the deal was announced, I think we’ve all remained very excited about what a great opportunity we have to become a market leader for providing business and political news in Northwest Arkansas. I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge.”
As part of the merger with Talk Business & Politics, the NWABJ will launch a twice-a-week news segment in late October that will air in KUAF’s Ozarks at Large midday program on 91.3 FM in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro. The segment will focus on regional news and analysis as well as interviews with business and political newsmakers. It will also highlight key statistics and data relevant to Northwest Arkansas growth.
The acquisition is the second deal for Natural State Media in less than a year. The newly formatted Talk Business & Politics resulted from the October 2015 merger of River Rock Communications and TCW Media (The City Wire). The new company, Natural State Media, is based in Fort Smith and focuses coverage on business and political news in Northwest Arkansas, the Fort Smith metro, central Arkansas, Northeast Arkansas and statewide. Owners of the company are Brock, Tilley, Gutterridge, Patricia Brown, Chester Koprovic and Bennie Westphal.