After five generations of ownership, Bliss family leaves newspaper and radio business


In a family-to-family transaction, Bliss Communications is selling its newspapers to Adams Publishing Group.

The deal with APG Media of Wisconsin LLC, expected to close in mid-June, includes the company’s two daily newspapers in Wisconsin—the flagship The Gazette in Janesville and The EagleHerald in Marinette—its weekly community newspapers—The Janesville Messenger, The Wisconsin/Illinois Stateline News and Walworth County Shopper Advertiser—plus all associated websites and the company’s printing and production facility in Janesville.

“Our family’s desire is to do what we think is appropriate to try to assure the communities we serve a continuing source of local news coverage, and we believe these transactions, when finalized, will continue that,” said Bliss Communications President and CEO Sidney “Skip” Bliss.

Mark Adams, Adams Publishing Group CEO, said, “We are very excited to have the Bliss newspapers join the Adams family of newspapers. The communities served by Bliss are exactly the type of cities and counties that we look for as we continue to expand our company, and each of these markets fits well with other publishing properties we own in the great state of Wisconsin.”

Bliss also announced it is selling its three radio stations to Ben Thompson, who is CEO of Big Radio, which operates eight radio stations currently.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but both APG and Big Radio said they intend to retain all Bliss employees. Skip Bliss will serve as publisher emeritus of The Gazette through March 31, 2020. Skip’s son, Kyle Bliss, joined the company in 2007 and will continue with the company.

The Gazette, now a 14,000-circulation daily, was established in 1845 and is the oldest continuing business in Janesville, the newspaper reported. Members of the Bliss family have owned the newspaper since 1883, with five generations of the family having operated the company.

In 2007, Bliss built a state-of-the-art commercial printing and production facility in Janesville. The facility prints publications from Chicago to northern Wisconsin.