Townhall.com

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Townhall.com is a website that publishes numerous conservative columnists. Formerly a project of the Heritage Foundation, it was purchased in 2006 by Salem Communications Corporation.

History

It started in 1991 as a BBS called 'Town Hall'. A 'Town Hall Tour' of May 1992 gives an impression that BBS, Town Hall, was a joint venture of National Review Magazine and the Heritage Foundation. In March 1993 they had about 700 individual users and they were connected to 15 organizations. To access the BBS you needed a computer and a modem using a network phone number and an access code. Joining costed $20 and beyond that the user was charged from 26 cents to 66 cents a minute depending on the time of day. [1] Jeanne Allen was in 1993 the executive director of Town Hall. [2]

In March 1994 they announced that Town Hall would become a private forum on Compuserve. [3]

On July 19, 1994 Rich Winkel wrote about Town Hall in a Usenet posting

"On Compuserve computer network (202) 546-4400 [voice line at Heritage Foundation, ask for Town Hall information] An electronic bulletin board (BBS) and interactive dial-up computer service for the conservative movement carried on the Compuserve computer network. Sponsored by National Review and the Heritage Foundation. Includes electronic (ASCII) text version of materials from groups such as the The Free Congress Foundation's National Empowerment Television project, Focus on the Family, The Leadership Institute, International Freedom Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the State Policy Network of state-based think tanks." [4]

Townhall.com

According to the whois-information the domain name (townhall.com) was claimed on March 2, 1995. The web site (www.townhall.com) went live on June 29, 1995. [5] [6] Tim Butler was at that moment president of Town Hall and the organization was still owned jointly by Heritage and National Review. Soon after that 'Townhall.com' was considered to be only a Heritage Foundation project. The WayBack machine has pages that go back to 1996. On the 'media-kit' page of 'townhall.com' they write

"Online since 1991, and on the Web since June 1995, townhall.com reaches an established, older, and highly influential community of between 200,000 and 250,000 individual users each month. The largest conservative site on the Web, www.townhall.com is the main internet address for over 35 member sites, including publications and radio shows, think tanks, and public policy, grassroots, and educational organizations."

Townhall becomes a for-profit company

In 2004 the Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees backed a proposal to end its direct role with Townhall.com. In a note in its consolidated financial statements for the 2003 and 2004 financial years the foundation stated "the separation was completed on March 15, 2005 and Townhall.com will operate as a separte autonomous for-profit company, with no shared governance." It reported that the the Chief Executive Officer of the new for-profit entity had previosuly worked for the foundation. [7]

"The Foundations received consideration of $100,000 for Townhall.com, based upon an indepnedent valuation, in exchange for accounts receivable and fixed assets with a book value of approximately $76,000. The Foundation has agreed to act as guarantor of a loan for Townhall.com for up to $1,000,000 and will receive 10% of Townhall.com free cash flow, calculated on an annual basis, as defined in the agreement, up to an aggregate of $1,500,000; however no payments are due until 2012," the note reports.

Sale to Salem Communications

In April 2006, Salem Communiations announced that it had acquired Townhall.com.[1] In addition to its original mission, Townhall.com now also serves as a promotional platform for the conservative radio hosts Salem syndicates, including Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett, and Dennis Prager.

Key Staff

Former Staff

Regular Contributors

Members

Contact Information

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. 202-608-6099
Fax 202-544-7330
web site: www.townhall.com

References

  1. Salem Communications to Acquire Townhall.com, April 10, 2006
  2. Jonathan Garthwaite bio, Townhall.com, accessed March 13, 2008.
  3. Hugh Hewitt bio, Townhall.com, accessed March 7, 2008.
  4. Mary Katharine Ham bio, Townhall.com, accessed March 7, 2008.
  5. "MKH Relocation Efforts Underway", Mary Katherien Ham's blog, Townhall.com, May 23, 2008.

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