Times Free Press Publisher Says Ad Revenues No Longer Sustaining Chattanooga Paper; Must Turn To Higher Subscriber Charges

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chattanooga Times Free Press Chairman and Publisher Walter Hussman Jr. said in a Saturday "letter to our readers" that advertising revenues are no longer adequate to sustain the newspaper.

He said it will be necessary to "rely more heavily on readers and subscribers."

The letter did not say how much charges for the longtime Chattanooga newspaper may go up.

Mr. Hussman said the Times Free Press plans to continue publishing seven days a week and to cover a wide circulation area. He noted that some newspapers have gone to three days a week and/or changed their news focus.

He said that circulation at the newspaper has increased in recent years, though many other newspapers had heavy circulation losses.

Mr. Hussman, who heads the WEHCO publishing chain based in Little Rock, Ark., said newspapers for many years thrived on advertising revenues that provided 80 percent of funds. He said there now are many advertising options and that some of the major advertisers have gone away.

He said due to the major changes in the newspaper business, including challenges from TV, radio, Internet news outlets and other competitors, "we have seen our profits dwindle to unsustainable levels."

Mr. Hussman said, "If you as our readers will support this change, we can continue to have a newspaper that all Chattanooga can be proud of as one of the best in America."   

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