In 1972, publisher Angelo Martinelli watched the first issues of Hudson Valley roll off the presses at Gazette Press, the printing company his family had owned for nearly 25 years. Since that time, Martinelli and his six sons have built something of a media empire: their Today Media is the parent company of four regional magazines (including both HV and Westchester Magazine) as well as several specialty publications. In celebration of HV’s big birthday, Martinelli — now 84 years young — reminisces about those early days.
When I came out of the service in 1945, I went to work for my father, who owned a daily newspaper in Yonkers. He put me into the typesetting area, working with linotype, lead, all that. I got my hands dirty. When Gazette Press came up for sale in 1948, my father said, “Yeah, I’d like to buy that.”
But he also said (like I do now), “I can’t run it, but I’ll give it to my son.” I had three brothers, but I was the only one who had worked in the printing end of things. So my father put me at the head of Gazette. The company started as a business in 1864, and I think I’m the third or fourth owner.
When my kids were small, I used to bring them to the office one day a week to clean the floor, move the cartons, something. Every Saturday they would go to work. They either hated it or loved it, but they all got involved somehow, and it didn’t do them any harm.
The first issue: April 1972
In 1972, [original HV editor] Ron Rozen and [advertising director] Jim Flanagan came and asked me if I’d like to start a magazine. They said, “We’ll supply you with everything. We’ll do all the work. All you have to do is print it.” Gazette was printing Stock Market and some other trade magazines at the time, so I said, “Why not?” I thought it had great potential.
We had an office in Pleasant Valley, above a drugstore if I remember; we used to lug the cartons of magazines up to the second floor. At first, we didn’t make a lot of money — I don’t think we printed more than 10,000 copies. But people throughout loved it. They embraced it as the magazine of the Hudson Valley. Different people would come up to me and say, “Mr. Martinelli, your magazine, I really love it, and I wouldn’t be without it.”
My overseeing of the magazine became less and less as my sons started to take over. I let them run the magazines. Now I’m semiretired; I’m involved more as an advisor. A “what would you do, Dad?” kind of thing. And — much to their credit — they respect the experience that I have.
The Hudson Valley is a fantastic area, and I think Hudson Valley hasn’t even scratched the surface yet. The region is growing so fast, and the magazine’s going to grow with it. As long as it retains that personal touch, I think it will do well.