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Hoppy Kercheval (right) is by far the biggest political analyst/columnist/commentator in all of West KerchevalVirginia. And though he's interviewed Joe Manchin hundreds of times of his radio show though the years, the Democrat has avoided the show during the Senate campaign -- since Kercheval's boss (and friend) is Manchin's Republican opponent, John Raese.

This whole story from Politico is well worth a read, but here's just a bit on Raese's complicated media holdings in the state:

As the chief executive of Greer Industries, Raese oversees business interests including not only steel and limestone businesses, but also The Dominion Post newspaper in his hometown of Morgantown; the West Virginia Radio Corp., which owns 25 stations; and the MetroNews radio network, which serves 61 stations and counts as one of its star talents Hoppy Kercheval.

. . . Nonetheless, when it comes to Raese, his peers take [Kercheval's] opinion with a grain of salt. The Charleston Daily Mail, which is not owned by Raese but runs some of Kercheval’s syndicated columns, tends to avoid running the ones in which he writes about Raese. Kercheval said he gets frequent criticisms on the air about his relationship to Raese.

“I think people understand that it’s an unusual situation, and they respond to it,” said Miller, the president and chief executive of Raese’s West Virginia Radio Corp. “But the truth is, John Raese has never been the kind of guy who comes down into the newsroom and tells people what to cover. That’s so far off his radar. That would never cross his mind….The family has been in the news business for 70 years, so they are news people.”

Raese’s grandmother, Agnes Reeves Greer, was one of the “true pioneers of radio,” Miller said, and chose the call letters of WJER-FM in Ohio to honor her father, J.E. Reeves. Raese has continued this tradition by recruiting reputable journalists, paying them well, and making sure that the radio company is “at the current edge of technology,” he said.

Raese’s sole print holding, The Dominion Post, is co-owned with his brother, David, a former sports reporter who serves as the paper’s publisher and, unlike John Raese, is a constant presence in the newsroom.

Out of concern for the appearance of bias, the paper’s editorial board abstained from endorsing any candidates in the Senate race this year, as it did when Raese ran against Sen. Robert Byrd in 2006.

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