9&10 News Welcomes MyNorth Media to the Heritage Family
Heritage Broadcasting is teaming up with another media powerhouse, by acquiring MyNorth Media, based in Traverse City.
Our Heritage CEO and President Pete Iacobelli says both companies enjoy a mutual admiration for the people and places of Northern Michigan. “This opportunity we saw as a way to connect the print and publishing side with the video side, and for it to be creative for both organizations to move forward – and give more opportunities in the world of informing, educating, entertaining.”
“I feel honored that Deb thinks we were the best fit to be able to carry on that torch and expand on it. So that is something that as an organization I hold dear to our heart, as a family-owned organization,” Iacobelli adds.
9&10 sat down with the founder of MyNorth, Deb Wyatt Fellows, to talk about the legacy she started, and the opportunities that lie ahead.
MyNorth Media is the company founded back in the 1980s. “We started with $20,000 pledge from my reluctant parents.” Fellows says the business launched with a partner, Deb Haines Hawkins, who stayed for the first two years.
Fellows says the team used sawhorse desks and lawn chairs. She laughs as she recalls how it all started. “Like every small business in northern Michigan, you know, we were absolutely certain our dream would survive and we knew nothing about business. You know, there’s payroll. There’s, you know, the lease. At 26, I was $200,000 in active debt. I wasn’t going anywhere. Everybody else moved on and it became a company.” She credits Hawkins, longtime editor Jeff Smith, and gracious investors who helped along the way.
Over the past 40 years MyNorth Media has been the home of Traverse magazine, and it has grown to include partner publications, like MyNorth Wedding and Home and Cottage … as well as MyNorth.com, Shop MyNorth, and MyNorth Tickets. “The mission from day one has never changed… It was to celebrate and protect northern Michigan.”
Tucked away in a corner office in the back corner of the MyNorth office building, is the history of this company: with back-issues of Traverse magazine, dating all the way back to their first issues in the summer of 1981. The idea was clear: “Let’s celebrate this region’s beauty and recreational opportunities and cultural, you know, excellence. And our intact small towns, which was really has been a thing for us forever.”
Sharing the joys of northern Michigan with those who love to visit, and those who live here, too. “You know, the thing that really resonated with me is that the magazine has always been for people who can’t be here or come here, maybe a second home or, you know, a vacation… It’s also for the people who live here.”
Fellows acknowledges we all become consumed with life: the kids’ basketball games or getting the oil changed or running errands. But she urges, that’s the beauty of what Traverse Magazine offers. “It’ll wait. Take an hour or two. Here’s where you get the kayak. Here’s where you put it in. Here’s the picnic you should take with you. You’re back in two hours. Remember what this place is. Because this place of our hearts is like no other and we are the keepers of it.”
Sharing all that “is” northern Michigan is a common bond between MyNorth Media and Heritage Broadcasting. Both companies are all about sharing the people and places – and telling the stories – that make this a great place. “So many amazing people choose to be here and just bring their talent and their creativity that… you know, we’re connecting you to this audience of people who are passionate about what you do.” Fellows points to stories highlighting local restaurants or new breweries as examples. “That’s somebody’s dream. Somebody invested their life into taking the risk. Let’s get out there. Let’s celebrate the best of who we are.”
It’s been a labor of love for Fellows, who says there is much to be proud of – including this brand new partnership. “This was a merger of respect and of understanding. We need each other,” she says.
“There was something there we were that would be beneficial to both of us… because we’re some of the last family owned, you know… media companies left, that it’s not owned by some corporation somewhere that nobody knows.”
Fellows says her readers – and our viewers – should rest assured that this is a positive move for all of us. “I just feel so amazingly at peace. I never thought I would. Because it just was right… It just fell into place. You know, it’s the right time. We’re just coming together. And what a gift is that!”
And as for that initial investment from her parents around 1980? “I paid my parents back. It took eleven years!”
With decades of a legacy – and the print publications to prove it – we welcome MyNorth to the family. “There is such a strong sense of mutual respect and mutual respect for the skills that each of us have,” Fellows says. “I think if we can stay connected to why we’re here and protect it for why other people come. You know, that’s our lifelong mission.”
9&10 News and Heritage Broadcasting are proud to welcome all of the more than 20 employees of My North Media into the family.