Paul Block emigrated from Germany to upstate New York in 1885, and began in the newspaper business as a young man in Elmira, NY, and later in New York City. In 1900, he left a secure job to form his own ad rep firm which sold national advertising for client newspapers. By 1927 he was publisher of 11 newspapers located in such cities as New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo, and Memphis. Though the Depression of the 1930s took away many of his assets, at the time of his death in 1941, he still had the rep firm and three newspapers, one in Pittsburgh and two in Toledo.
His two sons, Paul, Jr., and William, and the next two generations of Blocks and their employees would build upon those assets to develop the Block Communications, Inc. of today – a privately owned 118 year old diversified media company.
The Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo were acquired in 1926 and 1927 respectively; Buckeye Cablevision, Inc., was started in 1965, and Erie County Cablevision was acquired in 1981. In broadcast TV, BCI acquired WLIO in 1972, WDRB in 1984, KTRV in 1985, WAND in 2000, and WFTE in 2001. A construction firm, Metro Fiber & Cable Construction, was started in 1994, and Buckeye Telesystem, Inc., was started in 1997.