Someone You Should Know: Leaving home, to move up in the company

Billy McMacken is this week's Someone You Should Know.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 7:56 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Billy McMacken started working at the Brookings Register in 1990.

“Really one building I’ve worked in my whole life,” said Billy.

The 53-year old has done it all.

“You know, I was a general assignment reporter when i started here. Moved to reporter, to assistant sports editor, to sports editor, to managing editor, to ad sales, to publisher. I’ve really done everything you know in a small newspaper. I’ve done paper routes. I’ve helped run the press,” said Billy.

For Billy, Brookings is in his blood. He grew up here. Went to college at South Dakota State. A baseball star in college and later as an amateur player. Two years ago, he felt the support of his hometown after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

“Just so people know, right now i’m in full remission. No evidence of cancer right now. You know, how did I announce that i have cancer. In the newspaper. I have a platform where I can talk about my diagnosis. What it means and what we’re going to do. You know, I really thought the entire cancer ordeal, between the dozens and dozens of gift cards delivered to our house. Cards, texts, calls. It was phenomenal the way the Brookings community rallied behind me,” said Billy.

McMacken was recently offered a big promotion with News Media Corporation. The company that owns the Brookings Register.

“Our company president called me and said what would it take to move to Illinois and become the C-O-O. And I said make me an offer. I talked to my wife and we decided it was good fit for us, and we will be moving,” said Billy.

The move will be to Rochelle, Illinois. The father of three, had to get his eight and six-year old on board. McMacken will oversee 65 properties over eight states as the Chief Operating Officer.

“I just really felt i needed to do it. You know, I talked a lot with my wife Carly, because we are both Brookings lifers. We’ve both lived here our whole lives. Still have family here and that’s a tough thing to leave,” said Billy.

He’ll be missed.

“For a lot of us, he is really kind of the heart and soul of the Register, for those who have been around so long. We’re going to hate to see him go,” said reporter John Kubal.

And he’s excited for a new challenge.

“What I want to do in this next phase is I’ve been challenged by our owner along with our company president to transform our company a little bit. We need to become better digitally. We need to become better with content of what we give to our readers. We may be back someday. I ran into somebody at the post office today and we talked about the move. I said maybe we’ll be back. We can always come right. He said, yeah of course,” said Billy.

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