Walworth County History
CSI Media, LLC has a long, proud and unique history in southeast Wisconsin as a publisher of newspapers, shoppers and myriad special products that link thousands of readers with our many valued advertisers. CSI, headquartered in Delavan, Wis., also has evolved in recent years into the region’s top commercial printer, complete with state-of-the-art technology and a multi-talented work force that caters to the impressive demands of dozens of satisfied clients.
The company organized under the name Delavan Printing & Publishing Co., when Martin Karstaedt bought the small shopper from Chester Dorschner on Aug. 21, 1953. Mr. Karstaedt had worked for several years in the newspaper business as the national advertising director for the Beloit Daily News in Beloit, Wis. During his time at the Daily News, Mr. Karstaedt worked closely with his father, who had a one-third ownership of the paper and also was its editor and publisher.
The Delavan-based shopper was published from an office at 133 Park Place in the city’s historic downtown business district. Some 9,200 copies were distributed weekly to the largest communities in Walworth County. In addition, 16,000 copies of a sister publication, the Walworth County Advertiser, were delivered once a month to all houses in the county. Advertising demands eventually resulted in the Advertiser being published twice a month. In 1964, the two publications merged into the current Shopper-Advertiser, which is published Wednesday and has a circulation of more than 40,000, audited by Circulation Verification Council. That paper remains a direct link to CSI’s emergence as the region’s most influential publishing company.
In October 1964, the company moved from downtown Delavan to 309 Wright St., the location of the former Synchro Flame Co., which produced gas burners for furnaces. Martin Karstaedt operated the newspaper business until his death in 1974 at age 58. His legacy lives on as CSI continues to cultivate meaningful relationships with its readers and advertising customers.
After Mr. Karstaedt’s death, his wife Virginia and son Steven took over management of the firm. Fifteen years later, in 1989, CSI moved into a new 32,000-square-foot building on a 4.5-acre site at the corner of Wright and Ann streets in Delavan. The company had outgrown its former facility and now looked forward to an exciting new era that would see it become a statewide leader in the growing free community newspaper industry.
Also that year, CSI launched the Shopper Sunday in February. The circulation of the paper, which has since evolved into Walworth County Sunday, is now more than 40,000. By this time, CSI had expanded its markets into Rock County, Wis., and rapidly growing areas of northern Illinois.
CSI’s evolution continued in June 2008, when the company was purchased by Bliss Communications of Janesville.
In April 2009, CSI launched a redesigned Web site (www.communityshoppers.com) that allows the company to post all of its newspaper and special-section content, including advertising, online in a unique and entertaining format. In addition, the site features such things as photo galleries, digital video, blogs, Web polls and links to advertisers. The site was launched in collaboration with a new Bliss Communications site www.walworthcountytoday.com, which features content from Bliss and CSI reporters. The innovative sites were designed to drive readers to the wide variety of content produced by CSI and Bliss’ flagship newspaper, the Janesville Gazette.
The expanding CSI work force at its three locations, including Delavan and Beloit, now numbers more than 120 employees. Some 350 people are contracted to deliver papers to houses, businesses, stores and apartment complexes.
Since CSI Media’s inception, we have recognized daily that our company’s greatest asset is people — our employees, our readers and our many valued customers and clients. Our achievements — past, present and future — always have been and always will be dependent on the people who help define the evolving future of CSI publications.