Right in the centre: Waddell Group purchases Virden Empire Advance


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I have often spoken and written along the following lines. In life, we need the four “F” words, namely Faith, Family, Friends and Finances. And we need to keep them in that order. I learned long ago the need for faith, it’s essential. My mother and father and two older brothers taught me the importance of family. When I joined into my wife Christine’s family, the Lobels at Virden, my appreciation of family grew deeper.

Over the years, Christine and I have gathered literally 100s of friends over our 70 plus years of living, 55 of which have been together. We value all our friends.

As far as finances go, we farmed through the high interest crisis in the 1980s. When we bought our farm, the neighbours said we would never pay for it and they were right. Ironically, the price we paid for that half-section farm in 1974 would buy you less than 10 acres today. Finances can be pretty shifty, that’s why it ranks in fourth place on my list.

In 1979, we decided I would give up my job as Ag-rep with Manitoba Agriculture and go full-time farming and part-time auctioneering. The auction business lasted longer than the farm and transitioned us into the newspaper business. I am proud to say today that we have been involved in publishing, in one form or another, for 58 years.

We started full time in the newspaper business in 1989 with the birth of the Neepawa Banner, a free distribution paper. We started the Rivers Banner shorty afterwards by buying up the assets of the closed down Rivers Gazette-Reporter which was a much earlier amalgamation of the Rivers Gazette and the Rapid City Reporter. Our grandson, Micah Waddell, now owns the Rivers Banner and we have a management arrangement with him to operate it. The Rivers Banner is a free distribution newspaper.

In 2015, we bought the Neepawa Press from Glacier Media of Vancouver. Hence today, the Neepawa paper is the Neepawa Banner & Press.

So now nine years later, our path and Glacier Media’s path crosses once again.

We are pleased to announce that we have purchased our third paper, the Virden Empire-Advance from Glacier. It too will now be a free distribution paper.

We are having a great amount of joy working on growing and expanding the Empire-Advance. Even after all these years, and with fewer visits than we wanted to Virden, it’s surprising how many people know Christine and her family. Both Christine and I have also been pretty much out there in political and social activities and I guess a few people have noticed over the years.

I believe that we will continue to grow all three papers by way of a tried and true formula.

A newspaper can be likened to a four-legged milking stool. For those of you who are too young to remember what a milk stool is, if it’s missing a leg, it tends to fall over and you end up in the gutter behind the cow.

A community newspaper has to have four legs. Local news, editorials, ads and, oh yes, paper. Some may question why it needs paper. After all, in this day and age, everything is available on-line isn’t it? Well yes, but news printed on paper provides a much higher level of reliability and accountability. When it’s printed on a page, it stays written. In the Internet world, just about anything goes. You can’t tell truth from fiction and what’s presented one minute can be changed the next minute.

Like they say about contracts, “You gotta get it in writing.” Community newspapers get everything in writing!

So, as the title of this column says, “And then there were three”. As a family, we are proud to now be serving with three community newspapers and look forward to doing so in the future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.