Business

Herald-Whig's Wallace, WGEM's Fernandez both head state media organizations

Vice President of Newspapers of Quincy Newspapers, Inc., and Herald-Whig publisher Ron Wallace and Vice-President and General Manager for Quincy Broadcasting and WGEM General Manager Carlos Fernandez pose for a photo in the Herald-Whig studio on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. Wallace and Fernandez are presidents of their respective statewide news organizations: Illinois Press Association and Illinois Broadcasters Association. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 9, 2019 9:00 pm

QUINCY -- Ron Wallace appreciates the combined uniqueness of the positions that he and good friend Carlos Fernandez hold.

"I've never heard of a newspaper and (broadcasting entity) from the same town holding both positions at the same time," Wallace said. "I think it's pretty significant."

Wallace, who is publisher of The Herald-Whig and vice president of newspapers for Quincy Media Inc., the parent company of The Herald-Whig, recently was named chairman of the Illinois Press Association (IPA) Board of Directors. Fernandez, vice president and general manager for Quincy Broadcasting, has been chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Board of Directors since June 2018.

Fernandez oversees the day-to-day operations of WGEM's NBC, Fox, CW and MeTV television stations, plus radio stations Newstalk 105.1 and ESPN Radio 1440/98.9.

Fernandez said his experience as IBA chairman is part of the continuing learning experience that broadcasting is.

"I've learned how different people look at issues and challenges around the state," he said.

While unique in the timing, Fernandez thinks the positions both he and Wallace have in the IBA and IPA are not that surprising because of the local emphasis Quincy Media has in all of the markets in which it operates.

"Our company has always had a very strong community involvement focus. Stations and newspapers that always remember how best to serve their audience usually end up in leadership positions," he said.

Wallace is eager to begin his term as IPA chairman, particularly nurturing stronger relationships with newspapers across the state.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity to work together and share resources and information," he said. "I'll be making frequent trips to Springfield" to IPA headquarters.

Wallace said he is especially eager to work with both smaller and large news outlets.

"The smallest weekly newspapers to the Chicago Tribune, they're all members of the IPA," Wallace said.

More than 450 newspapers make up the IPA, Wallace said.

Having two key executives in such prominent positions is a source of corporate pride for Quincy Media Inc.

Ralph Oakley, president and chief executive officer of Quincy Media Inc., said, "Ron Wallace and Carlos Fernandez are very effective leaders and well positioned to help the Illinois Press Association and Illinois Broadcasters Association and its members help their communities."

Wallace joined The Herald-Whig in October 2013 after 10 years as publisher of the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal and the Daily Commercial in Leesburg, Fla. He previously was publisher of the Holland (Mich.) Sentinel.

He was raised on an East Texas cattle ranch and has worked closely with economic development groups and chambers of commerce across the country during his 42-year career. He was an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Florida and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Fernandez has 40-plus years of experience in various aspects of broadcasting, from station management to strategic consulting. He has been in Quincy since October 2007.

Since being in Quincy, Fernandez co-founded and has been chairman of the Great River Honor Flight Board, whose mission is to honor veterans from past wars and conflicts with a free flight to see their memorials in Washington, D.C.

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