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The Fitzgerald family continued to own and operate the paper until 1969, a year after Capital Cities Broadcasting entered the publishing industry and purchased The Pontiac Press as its first daily newspaper and published the paper as a six-days per week daily. The paper didn't change its name to The Oakland Press until 1972.
About the time of the sale of the paper by the Fitzgerald family, Capital Cities appointed Dan Burke, former head of Detroit radio station WJR, as president of the company. Burke, who spearheaded the purchase of the paper, then appointed Phil Meek as publisher of the paper, who had previously worked in Ford's central finance department. In 1971, Meek released the paper's editor and replaced him with Bruce McIntyre, who was made publisher in 1977 and remained at the paper until 1995.
From his start, McIntyre said the paper quickly earned a reputation as an essential news source for Oakland County.
"The first thing we ran into was the busing crisis," McIntyre said, recounting some of the coverage that earned the paper its solid reputation. "Unless you were there, you can't understand what it was like. The Ku Klux Klan came in and bombed the school buses a week before school opened. It was a nasty period."
With less than eight months on the job, McIntyre sent the entire news staff into the field to cover the first day of school in Pontiac. The coverage gained national attention and the staff became a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.
"We cleaned the building out of people," he said. "By that, I mean we sent everyone in the editorial department, except for someone to answer the phones, on the streets. Sports writers. Everybody. All over town. All the schools. Every school that we could get to, to report what was going on. It was quite a day."
As the county seat, Pontiac at the time was the largest city in the county. The surrounding communities hadn't yet gained their current stature, and in 1972, The Oakland Press was the only daily newspaper in the county, albeit six days a week, without a Sunday paper.
As the events of 1971 influenced residents to leave Pontiac, many settled in the surrounding communities, causing the paper's circulation to spread into much of the northern part of Oakland County. As new residents moved into the growing municipalities, so did the newspaper's circulation.
Throughout his time at The Oakland Press, McIntyre said daily circulation peaked at about 75,000 to 80,000. When two of the labor unions went on strike at the paper in 1977, McIntyre said The Oakland Press continued to publish by bringing in outside help, allowing the paper to add a Sunday edition to its publishing schedule....continued on page 7