Hunter Publishing of Madison, South Dakota, joins Wick Communications

Apr 1, 2021

The Madison (South Dakota) Leader, which has been published by the Hunter family for 75 years, has been sold to Wick Communications, a third-generation, family owned and operated media company based in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Dirks, Van Essen & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Hunter family in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The announcement was made yesterday by Daily Leader Publisher Jon Hunter and Francis Wick, CEO of Wick Communications.

“Wick is a third-generation family newspaper business, just like the Daily Leader,” Hunter said. “They have demonstrated a commitment to communities they serve and are well-prepared to serve Madison. There's a bright future ahead for our newspaper and Leader Printing.”

Francis Wick said, “It's an honor to carry on the task of local journalism for Madison and the surrounding areas. Newspapering is key to the health and vitality of a local community, and what Jon and the superb team here at The Daily Leader have created is meaningful.”

The Leader is the second newspaper in the state of South Dakota for Wick, which also owns the state capital paper, the Pierre Capital Journal. All employees of the Leader have been offered jobs with Wick Communications.

“With all of the technological changes in the industry, it is becoming more challenging to be successful as an independent daily newspaper,” Hunter said. “The family considered what would be in the best interest of the company, the employees and the community, and decided that passing the torch to another owner was the best option.”

The Daily Leader started as The Lake County Leader, a weekly newspaper, in 1880. It was converted to a daily a decade later. George Hunter bought the newspaper in 1947 and was joined by sons Neil and Merrill. George Hunter continued as publisher until his death in 1966. Merrill Hunter took over as publisher and served until he died in 1990. Jon Hunter has been the publisher since.