Conservative Media Empire: Hotair, Townhall Owners To Acquire Red State, Others

Salem Communications will now own five major conservative media properties. posted on

Salem Communications, the Christian radio conglomerate and owners of Hotair.com, Townhall.com and recent acquisition Twitchy, will buy Eagle Publishing on Jan. 15, BuzzFeed has learned.

Eagle Publishing owns RedState, Human Events and Regnery Publishing, a publisher of conservative books. With the acquisition, Salem Communications will operate a block of five major properties in the conservative media landscape.

Eagle told employees last week that Salem would acquire the company, Politico reported, but would not confirm a deal.

Sources close to the deal tell BuzzFeed that 90% of the Eagle staff will be retained, but “virtually all” of the upper management will be let go to avoid redundancy. Sources say spirits at Eagle remain high, however, because of the high retention levels.

Tom Phillips, the current president of Eagle, has been looking for the right buyer to continue operating the ideologically conservative publications for some time, according to sources. Eagle has experienced financial troubles in recent years and recently was forced to halt print publication of Human Events after nearly 70 years of circulation.

The move marks an accelerating shift in the conservative media world, as a set of boisterous, sharp-elbowed independent digital outlets are brought under the same roof.

Salem would now operate five major properties, a significant consolidation on the right in a variety of markets — from Hot Air’s well-regarded analysis, Human Events’ long history, and Twitchy’s social focus. The move will also put a number of high-profile conservative personalities under one roof, including RedState’s Erick Erickson, Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham, and Townhall editors Guy Benson and Katie Pavlich — all frequent contributors on Fox News.

Regnery, meanwhile, has published titles from authors like Dinesh D’Souza and Michelle Malkin, in addition to Ed Klein’s The Amateur.

Townhall editor Jonathan Garthwaite recently spoke with BuzzFeed about Salem’s business model of growth “through acquisition,” and acknowledged the stiff competition among other D.C. outlets for page views and ad dollars. Garthwaite named The Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Breitbart.com and Washington Free Beacon as “ideologically similar and friendly competition.”

Garthwaite predicted that folding in Twitchy will boost the cumulative traffic of the overall property up to 11 million uniques a month.

Sources familiar with the properties’ web traffic estimate 5 million uniques a month across all Eagle properties, meaning the cumulative web traffic bought by Salem this week place it around 16 million uniques a month.

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