Newspaper cutbacks mark changing of times

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This week we are taking a look at two long time industries that were jilted with announcements of cut backs in their operations.

As you probably know by now, many major daily newspapers are reducing their circulation to three days a week. The Mobile Press Register is included in that group.

My research confirms the thinking that those four lost days of production will be absorbed by the Internet.  I can tell you right now this will not set well with advertisers who have helped the larger newspapers sustain their operations for years. You see, there just are not enough Internet “users’ out there at this time. Perhaps several years from now when younger generations become involved, the Internet will play a big role as our main source for news, sports, etc. But right now there are only a “handful” of Internet users causing advertisers to refrain from dishing out money to empty audiences.

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Now, independent Mom and Pop Internet websites, unlike the national websites, will continue to operate because they do not depend on those larger advertisers. Even when word gets around and is aired nationally that big time advertisers refrain to advertise to a limited audience they should be Okay.  I bet you can name a hundred people who, not only do not own a computer, but have no knowledge of the internet whatsoever.

Yes, the Internet is growing but it will take a long time to equal the loss of daily newspaper readers.

I am sure I will draw the ire of some smaller Internet website operators. But this is not about them. These folks can continue their small operation without any drastic problems. Most of their advertisers come from local firms. Local weekly newspapers will not see a dent in their operations.

Many newspaper jobs will be lost as a result of this cutback decision. It has a nostalgic meaning also. Some of you probably delivered or “threw” the Mobile Press Register in your younger days. I did.  The money we earned back then was “big” to us. I think I earned about three or four dollars a week. That was real big for a twelve or thirteen year old back then.

There will be more stories to come about this cutback. But there will even be more stories about how advertisers will handle the problem.

The other story of interest is the closing of some Alabama National Guard armories.

Apparently the Atmore Armory has escaped this scalping as a Montgomery Advertiser story Monday did not include us in their list of approximately thirteen nearby armories that will close. Some already have shut down. Reasoning behind these cutbacks are desires for a smaller military force and changing needs and budget constraints.

I have several retired guard friends and I know they are saddened by this story. These pals, and many other retirees, enjoy excellent benefits including retirement income and medical treatment. Even now some worry that the present administration may inject a new policy that could cut back on some of their benefits.

Those towns to close armories are Georgiana, Greenville, Grove Hill, Hartselle, Heflin, Linden, Lineville, Millport, Moulton, Ozark,
Thomasville, Union Springs and Wetumpka. All fingers are crossed in hopes we will not be affected in the future.

Finally, for those of you older folks who use ROKU, I need some help. I have requested ROKU to add a new channel to their channel store.

It would be a nostalgic channel to include old “Golden Days Of Radio” shows and full orchestras like Hugo Winterhalter, David Rose, André Kostalani and Fred Warring and his Pennsylvanians. I would also like included western swing band greats, Bob Wills, Asleep At The Wheel, Spade Cooley and Bob Nolan and the Sons of The Pioneers. My research reveals a longing for this type entertainment. And what better place to watch it than on a ROKU channel. This little $50 box plugs into your TV offering a number of channels of varying interest.

Southeastern Conference fans can enjoy The SEC Channel, which carries news and updates of all SEC teams. And the good thing about these channels is most of them are free.

Be back with more next week.

Lowell McGill can be reached at