Cowles Media Company (1935–1998) was a newspaper, magazine and information publishing company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States. The company operated Cowles Business Media, Cowles Creative Publishing, and Cowles Enthusiast Media units.
Owners of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 1935 to 1998, other newspapers owned at one time by Cowles Media and its affiliates included the Des Moines Register, the Buffalo Courier-Express, the Scottsdale Progress and the Rapid City Journal. The company also owned the Register and Tribune Syndicate (established in 1922).
|Cowles Media Company|
|Founder||John Cowles Sr. and Gardner "Mike" Cowles, Jr.|
|Headquarters||Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Gardner Cowles, Sr., Gardner "Mike" Cowles, Jr., John Cowles Jr., Kingsley H. Murphy Jr.|
|Products||Newspaper, magazines, television stations|
Cowles Business Media|
Cowles Creative Publishing
Cowles Enthusiast Media
The Cowles Media Company was formed in 1935 when the Cowles family purchased the Minneapolis Star — the family and its patriarch Gardner Cowles, Sr. previously owned the Des Moines Register. At that point Gardner Cowles Sr. handed control of the family's media business to his sons John Cowles, Sr. and Gardner "Mike" Cowles, Jr. In 1939, the company purchased the Minneapolis Star competitor the Minneapolis Evening Journal, merging the Star and the Journal into the Star-Journal. The following year the company bought the Minneapolis Tribune and merged it with their company, giving it ownership of the city's major newspapers. The Tribune became the city's morning newspaper, the Star-Journal (renamed the Star in 1947) was the evening newspaper, and they published a joint Sunday edition. A separate evening newspaper (the Times) was spun off, which published until 1948.
Cowles Media also published Look magazine from 1937 to 1971 under the names Look, Inc. (1937–1945), Cowles Magazines (1946–1965), and Cowles Communications, Inc. (1965–1971). Cowles purchased Family Circle in 1962, and sold it to The New York Times Company in 1972. They published Harper's Magazine from 1965 to 1980.
In 1955, Cowles entered television as majority owner of what is now KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa. Cowles became the station's sole owner shortly after its launch. Over the years, Cowles acquired several television stations in medium-sized markets. These stations were sold off by the mid-1980s.
The McClatchy Company purchased Cowles Media in 1998. McClatchy kept the Star Tribune newspaper, which by then was the primary asset in the $1.4 billion deal, and sold the other business units to Primedia and to a management team.
|Des Moines Register||Des Moines, Iowa||1903–1985||Acquired by the Gannett Company|
|Des Moines Tribune||Des Moines, Iowa||1908–September 25, 1982||Ceased publication|
|Star-Tribune||Minneapolis, Minnesota||1935–1998||Acquired by The McClatchy Company|
|Buffalo Courier-Express||Buffalo, New York||August 1979–September 19, 1982||Ceased publication|
|Scottsdale Progress||Scottsdale, Arizona||1987-1993||Acquired by Cox Newspapers|
|Rapid City Journal||Rapid City, South Dakota||TK–1989||Acquired by Lee Enterprises|
|Great Falls Tribune||Great Falls, Montana||Acquired by Gannett Company|
|South Idaho Press||Burley, Idaho|
|City of License / Market||Station||Channel
|Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Daytona Beach / Orlando||WESH-TV||2 (11)||1965–1985||NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television|
|Honolulu||KHON-TV 1||2 (8)||1979–1985||Fox affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group|
|Moline / Rock Island / Davenport||WQAD-TV||8 (38)||1978–1985||ABC affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Louisville, Kentucky||WDRB||41 (49)||1977–1983||Fox affiliate owned by Block Communications|
|Des Moines||KRNT-TV/KCCI||8 (8)||1955–1985 2||CBS affiliate owned by Hearst Television|
|Wichita / Hutchinson Plus||KTVH 3||12 (19)||1955–1983||CBS affiliate, KWCH-DT, owned by Gray Television|
|Memphis||WREC-TV||3 (28)||1962–1971||CBS affiliate, WREG-TV, owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Huntington/Charleston, West Virginia||WHTN-TV||13 (13)||1956–1960||CBS affiliate, WOWK-TV, owned by Nexstar Media Group|