About UsThe Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. is a family-owned multimedia company in Fredericksburg, Va. It includes The Free Lance-Star daily newspaper; the Star Radio Group - WFLS 93.3, WWUZ 96.9, WWVB 99.3 and WYSK.com; fredericksburg.com; and the Star Directory phone book. For more than 120 years, the company has developed a reputation for integrity, credibility and innovation in this region and throughout the media industry.
The Free Lance–Star
Publishing Co., Story
The Free Lance was first published in 1885 when a group of local merchants and businessmen created the paper to serve the news and advertising needs of the community. In 1900, the company merged with The Daily Star and published the two papers independently until 1926 when under the leadership of Josiah P. Rowe Jr., they were combined into a single, six day a week newspaper: The Free Lance–Star. Rowe eventually became the owner and publisher of the newspaper.
The sons of Josiah P. Rowe, Jr., Charles S. Rowe and Josiah P. Rowe III, took over as co-publishers after their father’s death in 1949. In 1997, upon Charles’ retirement, the family of Josiah P. Rowe III purchased total ownership of the business. Florence C. Barnick and Nick Cadwallender, Associate Publishers, currently serve as the companies’ leadership with Josiah P. Rowe III as President and Publisher. Today, the family owned and operated newspaper, radio, Internet and directory businesses provide a strong, independent voice for the community. In 1998, The Free Lance–Star responded to changing lifestyles and regional growth by adding a Sunday edition and moving from afternoon to morning publication.
WFLS, the company’s first radio station, began on-air operation in 1960 and today its country format is the region’s radio powerhouse. In 1994, WYSK became the company’s second station. Situated in Spotsylvania County, its alternative rock format is quickly rising in popularity among younger listeners. To round out radio offerings, the company purchased WWUZ Classic Rock out of Bowling Green in 2001.
As the Internet emerged in the mid-90s, the company developed a Web presence under the name FLStarWeb.com. Since then, the site has become the premier news, advertising and community portal for the region under the name fredericksburg.com. In 2003, Star Directory was established as a local telephone book community resource.
For 120 years, The Free Lance–Star Company has developed a reputation for integrity, credibility and innovation in this region and throughout the media industry. As the company grows to meet business and audience demand, the mission remains: to improve and connect the lives of the people in the communities we serve.