Telegraph owner receives newspaper achievement award

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The man at the helm of the company that owns the Folsom Telegraph and El Dorado Hills Telegraph was recently honored with a national award for his life’s work. Bill Brehm Sr., chairman of Brehm Communications, Inc., received the Dean Lesher Award, which is the Suburban Newspapers of America’s highest individual honor. The award is given to those “who truly ‘give it all’ to the suburban and community news media industry,” according to the organization. The SNA is a nonprofit professional trade association and its members include 2,000 newspapers across the country and in Canada. Brehm purchased the Auburn Journal in 1965 and the Folsom Telegraph in 1995. The El Dorado Hills Telegraph was established in 2001. In 2003 he led a dedication of a $1 million expansion to the newspaper group’s press room to show the company’s commitment to printing its local newspapers. Hundreds attended the invitation-only event that included a tour of the building. Brehm began his career in 1946 as a “printer’s devil” for The Industrial Post in Bell, and his ambition launched him quickly to bigger responsibilities. By 1950, he became a publisher in the company, soon took over the corporate role of General Manager and in 1960, upon the death of the owner (and his father-in-law), became president. When he took the reins, the group consisted of four failing Los Angeles area newspapers; by 1981, Brehm and his wife Mona grew them into a successful group of 19 suburban weeklies and two small dailies. Involved in the acquisition and ownership of over 100 newspapers over his career, Brehm has become well respected for his knowledge of suburban newspapers and combining paid, free and controlled circulation products. His understanding of zoning and household penetration and sharp business acumen has guided his company to great success over his tenure. BCI remains on the cutting edge of change and now has an Interactive Media Division to help guide their more than 60 publications, 40 websites and 7 printing sites into the future. According to his son and BCI President Bill Jr., “Dad accomplished his success through guts, innovation, group marketing skills and, of course, with negotiation skills in purchasing newspapers that fit the group.” At 85, Brehm remains active in his company as Chairman of the Board of BCI, based in San Diego, CA, and in some aspects of the business. BCI Vice President/General Manager Tom Taylor reports that “Bill still enjoys the art of a good ad sale or the development of new products to meet the needs of both readers and advertisers.” The Telegraph is a major sponsor for at least a half-dozen annual community events including the Folsom Pro Rodeo, Folsom Live, Antique Evaluation Day at the Folsom History Museum and more. Brehm received his award at the annual awards luncheon held during the SNA Fall Publishers’ & Advertising Directors’ Conference in Phoenix. ~ Staff report