Austin native sells publishing business to Northstar Media, Inc.; Tim Franklin Lived in Austin through the late 80s

Published 8:41 am Friday, August 2, 2019

An Austin native has sold his publishing business to another media company.

Tim Franklin, who lived in Austin until the late 80s, sold his group of northern Minnesota’s print and digital news publications to Northstar Media, Inc., which is owned by Gene and Carter Johnson, according to a press release.

Among the publications that the now Sandstone, Minnesota, resident sold included The Pine County Courier in Sandstone, Askov American, Hinckley News, Star Gazette in Moose Lake, the Evergreen shopper, Minnesota Flyer aviation magazine as well as the related web and mobile sites, events and niche products.

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“I am blessed to find another family owner to continue to provide news and advertising to our longtime readers,” Franklin said. “This is a sad day for me and also a happy day. I first and foremost want to thank all the employees I have had over the years, past and present. Without them, we could not have produced award-winning publications year-after-year.”

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Franklin plans to stay on for a few months to assist with the transition. Northstar Media and Kanabec Publications include the Isanti-Chisago County Star, Pine City Pioneer, Kanabec County Times, Advertiser as well as the printing facility in Cambridge.

“Tim’s knowledge and trust with readers, advertisers and employees is important,” said Matt McMillan, CEO for the Johnsons. “WE’re planning to recruit a group publisher as we join Tim’s operations with our Northstar Media and Kanabec Publications divisions. In the meantime, we’re pleased Time’s agreed to stay on this summer.”

The Johnsons also own a group based out of White Bear Lake, which is comprised of publications and ownership in Publishers Printing Inc., a central plant in Amery, Wisconsin.

“This fit is rather natural as we have adjoining newspapers,” Gene Johnson said. “Tim has been clearly committed to providing news and advertising in print and digital with local and regional appeal. Community newspapers really become the ownership of the communities themselves. We are here to produce it.”