Home Featured Story A Media Empire Built On Local Business News

A Media Empire Built On Local Business News


acbj-logo1 copyBased  in Charlotte, NC, American City Business Journals (ACBJ) is the largest publisher of metropolitan business newsweeklies in the U.S. With over 1,600 employees, the company publishes 40 publication each week.

In addition, ACBJ offers specialty publications for sports fans, sports business readers and classic car enthusiasts. The company’s specialty publications include Hemmings Motor News, NASCAR Illustrated, Inside Lacrosse, SportsBusiness Journal and Buffalo Law Journal.

ACBJ’s strategy is simple: provide comprehensive coverage of local business in each market it serves. Its strategy has been successful, yielding 3.6 million print readers, and drawing 225,907 attendees to ACBJ’s more than 1,505 events each year. Subscription prices for the business journals vary by city, ranging from $87 to $103 a year (52 issues).

Online, bizjournals.com features business newsACBJ_lightbulb from around the U.S. Individual city Business Journal websites offer news, analysis, advice columns and other resources that draw more than 10 million online visitors each month. In addition, ACBJ has more than 1 million daily email subscriptions.

ACBJ believes its business journal subscribers are among the nation’s most highly coveted demographics, with an average net worth of more than $1.68 million, and an average household income of $227,000.

Today, ACBJ has business journals in: Albany, NY Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MS: Buffalo, NY; Charlotte, NC: Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Dayton, OH; Denver, CO; Greensboro, NC; Honolulu, HA; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; and Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis–Saint Paul; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Raleigh, NC: Sacramento, CA: San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; Tampa, FL; Washington, D.C.; and Wichita, KS.


chairman copyIn 1982, Russell and William Worley started the Kansas City Business Journal. The Kansas City Business Journal introduced a new form of business news to Kansas City, with a heavy emphasis on deals and deal-makers. “We were writing things that other people were afraid to write,” Russell said in 2007.

Russell and Worley expanded on the concept by starting new publications and buying existing publications. They took American City Business Journals Inc. public in 1985 and built the Kansas City-based company into a nationwide chain of business newspapers.

Ray Shaw, a retired president of Dow Jones & Company who became chairman of ACBJ, bought the company in 1989. In 1995, ACBJ was acquired by Advance Publications, a diversified, privately-held media company that is the parent company of Conde Nast Publications, The New Yorker Magazine, Parade Magazine and more than 20 daily newspapers throughout the country.

During his tenure, Shaw doubled the number of the company’s publications, making it the largest chain of weekly business newspapers in the country, and helped establish city-focused newsweeklies as an important element of business journalism. Before his death Mr. Shaw received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

In 1998 Sports Business Journal was launched. In 2002 ACBJ acquired Hemmings Motor Sports. In 2009, ACBJ took over management of Portfolio.com, a website formerly associated with the now-defunct Condé Nast Portfolio. In 2012 ACBJ’s Electronic Book of Lists was launched, along with Upstart Business Journal, and  Streetwise Media was acquired.


In 2012 the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), released Consolidated Media Reports  (CMRs) for 37 American City Business Journal titles. ABC is a forum of North America’s leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process.

In addition to individual reports for each publication,mag ACBJ also published a group CMR with aggregate data for 37 of ACBJ’s network of 40 publications. The average figures for June 2012 were:

  • 445,361 total qualified paid circulation
  • 28.3 million website page impressions
  • 7.1 million website unique browsers
  • 11.4 million e-newsletters delivered monthly
  • 112,043 total event registrants
  • 71,061 Facebook likes (8/31/12)
  • 639,692 Twitter followers (8/31/12)

The 37 titles that released CMRs were: Atlanta Business Chronicle, Austin Business Journal, Baltimore Business Journal, Birmingham Business Journal, Boston Business Journal, Buffalo Business First, Columbus Business First, Business First, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, The Business Journal, Charlotte Business Journal, The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee, The Business Review, Business Courier, Dallas Business Journal, Houston Business Journal, The Business Journal Serving Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, Kansas City Business Journal, Memphis Business Journal, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Nashville Business Journal, Orlando Business Journal, Pacific Business News, Philadelphia Business Journal, Phoenix Business Journal, Pittsburgh Business Times, Denver Business Journal, Sacramento Business Journal, St. Louis Business Journal, San Antonio Business Journal, San Francisco Business Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, South Florida Business Journal, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Triangle Business Journal, Washington Business Journal and Wichita Business Journal.