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have been shown the future
many times, but I’ve never actu-
ally seen it.
That is, until recently, when I visited
Millville, N.J., and saw the media company
of the future.
What struck me is that the operation
was built by people who just a few years
ago knew squat about the media business.
That actually intrigued me more.
Remember the peeks at the future
we got from the Viewtron experiment
in the 1980s? From AOL’s Digital Cities,
Microsoft’s Sidewalk, and Knight Ridder’s
RealCities in the 1990s? Or from Media
General’s temple to “Convergence” at their
Tampa Bay operation in the early 2000s?
All failed, yet all were crafted from
the minds of very smart people with deep
experience – and a vested interested – in
Ken Pustizzi came up with his brilliant
media idea after several decades in the
equipment-leasing business. He sold that
business a few years ago and was trying to
figure out what to do next when he saw a
gaping opportunity in the marketplace.
“What I learned all those years in busi-
ness,” he told me recently, “was that people
are good at what they do but they don’t
have a clue about how to market them-
selves.” They know plumbing, carpentry,
floral design and how to sell cars or run
a restaurant. But they wind up buying
advertising from whichever rep is most
persistent, or logging on at night and trying
a few amateurish things on Facebook or
Ken began researching. He attended
one of the Borrell conferences in New York,
he joined the Local Media Association,
and he and his sons started listening to
webinars. And then he began building.
What I like about what Ken and his
sons have built is that it didn’t start with
anything that needed protecting. It wasn’t
a core-product extension, and it wasn’t
mired in internal political debate about
protecting circulation or diverting staff
attention to lower-priced, lower-margin
products. It’s an unfettered, pure assem-
blage of what works.
Though we spend extraordinary
amounts of time discussing news and
information content, the business of any
media company is to help local businesses
sell things. Would newspapers, radio or
TV stations be in businesses if they didn’t?
Ken’s business started with that premise
and built a media company around it.
SNJToday is the media company of the
future. Does it include a printed newspa-
per? A radio station? A digital agency? A
TV station? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. They’re
all designed to support the communities
at the heart of or bordering southern New
Jersey, with positive, helpful, entertaining
Ken acquired an AM station and a
20,000-circulation weekly, and built a
state-of-the-art TV studio that produces
shows and news aired over a local cable
channel and a Philadelphia UHF sta-
tion. He built out his digital agency from
scratch. See a video of what they’re do-
One of the early successes was a local
rodeo south of nearby Philadelphia. It
turned out to be the perfect example Ken
had described to me. The owners knew
the business – it had been in operation
for decades – but saw empty stands on a
regular basis. Native advertising (via a TV
documentary that SNJToday produced)
and some social media not only revived
the rodeo, but also packed the stands.
They’ve begun doing the same for other
local merchants, building a reputation
as the go-to entity for anyone wanting to
market themselves well in the South Jersey
area. And because of their already proven
digital resources and expertise, local-based
organizations seeking a global presence
are also joining the caravan. Imagine that.
The secret was what any entrepreneur
does. He looks for an unmet need, and he
fills it. By understanding a core need of
local businesses first – and understanding
local media’s strengths from an outsider’s
perspective – SNJToday has crafted a very
strong value proposition.
It’s certainly worth study by any media
company trying to do the same.
“Kevin Kamen works relentlessly. Whenever he
speaks about the publishing business or companies, I
pay close attention.”
— Paul Tash (Mr. Tash is Chairman of the Pulitzer
Board and CEO/Chairman of the Tampa Bay Times.)
“Kevin Kamen is one of the world’s best-known
and most-prolific brokers of media properties and
— Gypsy C. Gallardo, CEO/Publisher of
The Power Broker Magazine
Whose judgement do they trust?
“Kevin Kamen correctly predicted as far back as
2010 that a buyer would be willing to pay $42 million
to $51 million for The Journal ... ‘They paid about $4
million to $5 million more than they should have,’
Kamen told WPRI.com ... Kamen suggested Gatehouse
was motivated to pay a premium in part to ensure a
competing newspaper chain didn’t get The (Providence)
— Ted Nessi, WPRI 12, Providence, Rhode Island
Kevin B. Kamen
Considering selling your publication? You
should have your title financially valued
correctly and listed for sale. Call or come visit
Kamen & Co. Group Services to assist you.
KAMEN & CO. GROUP SERVICES
NY (516) 379-2797 • FL (727) 786-5930 • FAX (516) 379-3812
626 RXR Plaza, Uniondale, NY 11556
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Formula for success:
Filling rodeo seats
By Gordon Borrell
Chairman, LMA Board of Directors, CEO, Borrell Associates
Filling rodeo seats
What I learned all
those years in business
was that people are
good at what they do
but they don’t have
a clue about how to
Ken Pustizzi, President and CEO of SNJ Today
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