The Outer Banks Voice, the area’s first online-only news outlet and one of Coastal Review Online’s partner publications, has been sold.
Rick Loesch, owner of East Carolina Radio Inc., and Mark Jurkowitz, owner of the Outer Banks Sentinel partnered to purchase the Outer Banks Voice, which was founded in 2010 by veteran Virginian Pilot journalist Rob Morris and banker and blogger Russ Lay.
The Voice generates 7 million page views annually and has amassed a social media audience that includes almost 66,000 followers on Facebook as well as 10,100 on Twitter and 6,300 on Instagram, according to the announcement of the sale.
“We appreciate and admire the incredible value and legacy that Rob and Russ have created at the Voice,” Jurkowitz said in the announcement. “The new team is honored and determined to continue to serve Voice readers with the best in local news coverage that matters to them.”
“Our partnership with Mark Jurkowitz of the Sentinel will help us move the Voice to the next level,” said Loesch.
The Voice’s founders expressed confidence in the new ownership team. “The Voice will be in the great hands with the Sentinel and East Carolina Radio,” Morris said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing them take it to the next level.”
“I am excited to leave the Outer Banks Voice in the hands of two well-established and highly respected media companies,” added Lay. “It was important to me that the Voice be left in the hands of local owners who live, work and play in the Outer Banks and who understand our business, civic and political dynamic. This sale will allow the Voice to grow and expand in ways we could not have accomplished or imagined on our own.”
The Voice was the first online-only news outlet to be recognized by the North Carolina Press Association, and it has been featured among notable online startups nationwide in the Columbia Journalism Review and is regularly cited by state and national news organizations seeking accurate and up-to-date news from the region.
The Voice’s reader base is split almost evenly between North Carolina readers, including out-of -market regions of the state, and out-of-state readers, primarily following our visitor footprint — including Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, West Virginia and Ohio.
East Carolina Radio was founded in 1990 in Edenton. Loesch’s group of stations include Dixie 105.7, 102.5 The Shark, Pirate 95.3, 98.1 The Score, 96.7 The Coast and 104.9 The Block.
Before buying the Sentinel in 2014, Jurkowitz spent a decade at the Boston Globe and also served as associate director of the Journalism Project at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.