We are sure that our readers have noticed a drastic reduction in our newspaper’s number of pages per issue, and the lack of pre-print advertising inserts, after the COVID-19 pandemic began in February of last year. This newspaper you’re looking at is a perfect example. In preCOVID-19 times we would have five or six pre-printed inserts and from 16 to 24 pages in a Wednesday publication. In this issue we have zero pre-print inserts and only 14 pages. This has become our norm over the past 12 months.
We didn’t ask for any of this, but nonetheless, we all received a heavy dose of the consequences of this virus. It’s been rough economic times and tragic family times for many of our friends and neighbors in Kingfisher County
No one could have foreseen the deadly and economically harmful events that befell our nation and world with the virus that came out of communist China in late 2019.
After enduring financial losses for a full 12 months, in the hopes that our local economy would improve, we have come to the conclusion that 2021 will in all likelihood not be any better for us at this newspaper than 2020 was.
The lifeblood of a small hometown newspaper is advertising support. If it’s not there, we can’t continue to produce the same product you have become accustomed to receiving. We’re at the point where we must adapt and adjust, or become extinct as a business.
I’ve been here since 1983 with the responsibility of ensuring that we are a profitable entity
Our business model has been successful (some years leaner than others) through those first 37 years. 2020 was the gigantic exception.
We are optimistic. We don’t think our hard economic times will last forever if we continue to do a good job of reporting our local and area news and canvassing our market for advertising revenue.
We remain healthy and we love our community We enjoy what we do, and Kingfisher County is our life. We would not want to live and work anywhere else.
Therefore, we will continue to publish our Wednesday issue every week, both printed and digitally. However, beginning with the Sunday, Feb. 7 issue, for the next six months, we will publish our Sunday newspaper only on the digital platform.
For the next six months, we will also be closed on Wednesdays in an additional expense-saving measure. Our new hours effective Monday, February 1 will be: 9 to 5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Many readers have told us that they only read our digital issues, and don’t bother with the print publication that arrives through the mail, especially those who reside outside of Kingfisher County and don’t receive their printed newspaper for several days after the publication date, due to slow postal delivery outside of our county.
Our price for a subscription will be remain $35 for 12 months for print/digital for all Kingfisher County addresses, $40 for adjoining counties, $45 for elsewhere in the state and $55 for out of state addresses.
But our digital only subscription rate will be reduced to $30 for 12 months. So for those subscribers who prefer to receive the digital editions only, we’ve reduced our annual subscription rate from $50 to $30, regardless of where you reside.
The digital version of our Wednesday and Sunday publications will still be available online every Tuesday and Friday evening, as it has been for several years. Nothing will change there. However, the Wednesday print publication will stay in the newsstands and be available on convenience store countertops for a full week during this six-month period.
We fully understand that many will be unhappy with this change — no one more so than us. However, if we are to stay in business, this is our only option. Until our advertising support returns, we won’t be able to stay in business for even another three months before we run out of funds to pay the staff, printing and postage expense for two publications, not to mention the normal bills of insurance, utilities and other overhead expenses that all businesses must pay.
Our second class postal rate went up yet again as of the 24th of this month, which also played a part in our decision.
Many newspapers throughout the state and nation have transitioned to this hybrid style of publication, and others have gone to complete digital-only publication, with no plans to ever return to print issues.
Our current $35 annual subscription rate has not covered our expense for printing and mailing out two newspapers a week for many years. Our advertising and legal publication income had always made up the difference and allowed us to keep our newspapers one of the more affordable news bargains in the state.
Kingfisher is the smallest community/market in our state to be home to a newspaper that publishes two times a week. It’s been that way for many years.
Much larger Oklahoma communities/markets such as Yukon, El Reno, Claremore, Sapulpa, Alva, Miami, Elk City and Sallisaw, to name a few, have twice-a-week newspapers. They transitioned from daily publications long ago.
All the other county seat rural communities in our state are already once-a-week publications, and many of those markets boast a larger population and advertising support base than ours.
Kingfisher is unique because it is blessed with mineral wealth and continues to be a hub of commerce and activity. Even with the downturn in the energy sector, our proximity to Oklahoma City, while not being too close, makes our community enticing for folks to move to and raise their families in an upscale small city environment.
Much larger communities such as Midwest City, Edmond and others, have lost their identity as a community because of their close location to Oklahoma City, and have also lost their newspapers because of it. Kingfisher remains a unique and stand-alone community.
We have not given up on our Sunday printed issue. We fully plan to bring itback as our business climate improves, as it most assuredly will in our estimation.
All questions regarding signing up for digital access may be addressed to Lacey Dunivin, who manages digital and print subscriptions, or Christine Reid, our senior editor and internet and website coordinator.
Christine and Managing Editor Michael Swisher work together to update and manage our Facebook page. (Watch for informational posts there which will also help you with digital registration and highlight all the features available on our website.)
We continue to have an ever-growing presence through our website, Facebook and digital publication footprint. Advertisements in every issue may be viewed through our website, as well as direct-access connection to our advertisers’ websites if they have one. We receive well over 10,000 website hits per week on our www.kingfisherpress. net platform.
We plan to continue on as Oklahoma’s oldest continuously-published newspaper for many years to come. Thank you for your support and understanding as we weather this difficult time together.
- Barry Reid, Publisher