Petry Media Closes Its Doors

After 80-plus years in the rep business, Petry shut down on Tuesday, a victim of steadily eroding business in an increasingly consolidated industry.

Petry Media, the TV and digital rep firm that began with radio in the 1930s, is now part of media history. Tuesday, the staff was told of the firm’s closing, according to several rep sources.

Petry is part of the portfolio of Patriarch Partners LLC, an investment firm with holdings in more than 75 companies across 14 industry sectors.

A call to a Patriach executive was not returned by press time.

The news came as no surprise to the industry, with many people saying they were surprised Petry lasted as long as it did.

Things started coming apart for Petry in 2008. As the economy began its big downturn, Petry started shedding clients at an alarming rate. The big blow came in April 2008 when Gannett, then its largest client, defected to CoxReps.

The following February, the company announced what many felt was inevitable in the wake of the Gannett loss. It merged its two operating units — Petry Television and Blair — into one, dropping the Blair brand.


Then, in 2013, Petry Media lost its largest client, LIN Media, triggering talk that the the 82-year-old rep firm might close. That was shortly after longtime client, the Journal Broadcast Group, had jumped to Katz Television.

In December 2013, Hubbard Broadcasting opted to move to CoxReps. Hubbard was the rep firm’s first client, joining the then Edward Petry & Co. in 1932.

As of today, the Petry website listed a handful of clients, including Drewry Communications. One source said that Drewry had recently left, bringing its rep business in-house. Calls to those companies were not returned by press time.

Comments (16)

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alicia farmer says:

July 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

RIP to a once excellent company. Monumental mismanagement from Tom Burchill / Tim McAuliff, and then Earl Jones blew it up. Very sad.

Cristiana Lombardo says:

July 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Great people with poor ownership!! So Sad!!

Gregg Palermo says:

July 1, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I had a general sales manager explain the rep business to me this way: You can switch reps like changing your shirt, it’s that easy. We were with Katz at the time.

megan dickey says:

July 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

I didn’t even know they still existed. Petry used to be one of the greats.

Kate Waxley says:

July 1, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Another sign that the business is getting worse by the day. Perry and Blair were head and shoulders above their competition from a personnel stand point, poor management, competition that competed on being cheaper, lead to station groups leaving as their Private Equity groups screamed for higher profits. Kind of sad….. TV was once a great business to be in.

John Graham says:

July 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Jan 79 – Jan 91. First job in media. Never thought I’d see the day.

Tom Snider-Lotz says:

July 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

My first job in media as a trainee in 1974 under Dick Waller. Learned the business and many lessons that have lasted apparently longer than the company. Too bad to see the original station rep company disappear.

    James Long says:

    September 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Larry, I am glad things are going well. Bill

Gina Pappani says:

July 1, 2015 at 8:06 pm

No one can be shocked, only that it made it through the 08′ collapse. This company was bleeding out since Post News Week left in the late 90’s- Media General, Gannett- the list is long and painful. For christ sake, they have grammatical errors on that embarrassing web site, not even sure half the people are affiliated with Patriarch. As Tim McCaullif and Leo MacCourtney would tell the troops year after year, keeping this station group was not a wise business decision for the company.. Heh, can we maybe rethink that corrupt strategy now that it’s too late. RIP

Sean Smith says:

July 1, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Among the foundations in the rep business… Petry, Katz Television, Blair Television, Tele-Rep, MMT, HR Television, Avery-Knodel, Peters, Griffith, Woodward (PGW), Harrington, Righter & Parsons, Meeker, even Adam Young VTM back in the day…… sad to see Petry go, but it’s a new world order these days.

Wanda LaCroix says:

July 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm

It was once a great competitor. Val Napolitano deserved better.

Roger Lyons says:

July 2, 2015 at 12:07 am

At least the TV representation business still has two healthy competitors. Radio is down to Katz and that’s it.

Sena Mourad says:

July 2, 2015 at 11:55 am

Petry, once a great organization in a great business. Stations never figured out that a rep salesman was the same as a local salesman, just working in a distant city. Stations took business direct thinking they were saving commissions or getting a bigger share. The reps got weaker as they lost business going direct to the stations and the ball started rolling. A rep salesman would leave and the rep company would replace him or her with their secretary and the sales force got weaker, etc. etc. etc. The words “business direct” is used in most businesses today. There were a lot of smart people in the rep business. Very fortunate to have spent 8 years in the business and learned a lot that has served me well along the way. Good luck to those people who have lost jobs.

Cassie Hicks says:

July 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

Made nearly 30 years & started in the “old days” when there were a bunch of rep firms. Didn’t know how bloated the industry was at that time, but a sharp u-turn left this mostly exciting industry about just dollars & cents. The final blow, when a non-broadcast owner, private equity firm came in. Blair WAS THE BEST!

Linda Porto says:

August 24, 2015 at 9:18 am

Truly sad to see but that it lasted this long is the story. Some very talented people there but mediocrity ruled as if the thought was that it was still 1970 and bloat could be afforded.

James Long says:

September 5, 2015 at 10:00 am

I am sorry to see this. I worked for the firm in the early 80’s after 7 years at PGW and one year at Avco, all in Chicago. Petry did me a big favor by letting me go after a total of 21 years in Broadcast it was time to change lifestyle and industries. Bought a KOA campground 32 years ago and life could not be better. I never sent Bill Carney a Than You. The Rep life was fun, but time and tide has moved on.

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