Frank Bick; Longtime Publisher of What Is Now the Suburban Journals Chain of Weekly Newspapers

Article excerpt

Frank C. Bick, who launched a chain of weekly newspapers now called the Suburban Journals that grew to ring the St. Louis area, died Wednesday (July 18, 2012) at age 85 at his home in Ladue.

He recently suffered a stroke, a family friend said.

Mr. Bick called his weekly chain the largest suburban newspaper group in the country.

He was a staunch Republican and didn't hold back on saying what he thought. "I was very conservative and opinionated," he told an interviewer in 2010.

He and his papers supported Gene McNary when he was St. Louis County executive. McNary named Mr. Bick to a seat on the county Police Board, which he held for 15 years.

Mr. Bick's newspaper chain dated to his father's purchase of the old Cherokee News in 1933.

In 1961, Mr. Bick bought the South County Journal, and later purchased or founded 10 additional weeklies in west and south St. Louis County and in Jefferson County.

His major weekly competitor was in the north, where the Donnelly family was expanding its own chain of weeklies and moving into St. Charles County.

After competing for four decades, Mr. Bick and the Donnellys merged ad operations in 1975.

In 1984, Ralph Ingersoll II of New Jersey bought both chains and folded them into his Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. Mr. Bick became chairman.

Ingersoll then started the newspaper the daily Sun here. It soon failed, leaving him in debt. He forfeited the Journals to an investment company, Warburg Pincus.

In 2000, Pulitzer Inc. bought the Suburban Journals. The weeklies had been a major advertising competitor of Pulitzer's Post- Dispatch. …