Next West Newspapers Purchases Four Highland Lakes Newspapers from American Consolidated MediaBack to News

MARBLE FALLS, TX, November 1, 2005 – Jeremy Halbreich, chairman, president and CEO of American Consolidated Media (ACM) announced today the sale of Highland Lakes Newspapers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACM, to Next West Newspapers of Marble Falls, Texas. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented ACM in the transaction.

The four Highland Lakes area newspapers acquired by Next West newspapers are The Highlander (Tuesday and Friday) serving Marble Falls, Burnet Bulletin (Wednesday) serving Burnet, Kingsland Current (Wednesday) serving Kingsland and The Llano Buzz & County Journal (Tuesday) serving Llano County. The four newspapers have combined weekly circulation of 11,200.

Next West Newspapers is a new Texas corporation headquartered in Marble Falls and is owned by Gary G. Gerlach; Karen Ann Conner, his spouse, and Richard M. ‘Dick’ Plum. Gerlach is president; Conner and Plum are vice presidents and directors.

Plum will assume the positions of publisher and editor at the newspaper group, headquartering out of the office at the Highlander building in Gateway Park, Marble Falls. He is a 33-year veteran of community newspapering. Most recently, Plum served as president and general manager of Jackson County Publishing Co. and Jackson County Press in Ripley and Ravenswood, West Virginia, publishers of The Jackson Herald, The Jackson Star-News, and The Star News Weekender.

Halbreich said, "I have known and respected Gary Gerlach for many years and believe that the Highland Lakes area will be proudly and well served by his longstanding commitment to local community journalism and local community service. More recently, I have become well-acquainted with Dick Plum, a strong and impressive newspaper professional who will benefit greatly from the loyal and dedicated staff at these newspapers."

Gerlach said, "We are very pleased to be the new owners of the Highland Lakes newspapers. We are looking forward to the fun of becoming active members of the thriving communities in Burnet and Llano counties.

"We are also especially looking forward to continuing our friendship with Jeremy and ACM," Gerlach added. "Thanks to ACM, the Highland Lakes papers are very well organized businesses and nicely positioned for a bright future," Gerlach said, "and their love is our love — the fun and fascination of community newspapers. So we are happy to be building a strong and continuing business friendship with ACM."

Plum added, "We intend to build on the solid foundations of each of the four newspapers by interviewing and surveying our customers and subscribers. Our goal is to provide the counties of Burnet and Llano with newspapers that best reflect the lives and businesses in our communities. We believe in grassroots community newspapering. That’s why we are so attracted to the opportunities in the Highland Lakes areas."

Gerlach is also president of an affiliated company, New West Newspapers, Inc., which publishes community newspapers and operates commercial printing plants in Nebraska and West Virginia. New West’s newspapers are in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and West Virginia.