Cincinnati papers bite the dust


Even with a grandfathered newspaper-TV crossownership situation, E.W. Scripps Co. says it can't keep its Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post newspapers alive. The dailies will cease publication December 31st when Gannett terminates its joint operating agreement. That will leave the Cincinnati Enquirer as the only daily newspaper in the Queen City. Scripps will still have WCPO-TV (Ch. 9, ABC) in the Cincinnati market.

"It's always a difficult decision to cease publication of a newspaper, especially two with such fine traditions of journalistic excellence and community service as The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post," said Rich Boehne, COO for Scripps and, coincidentally, a former Post staff member. Gannett gave notice three years ago that the JOA would not be renewed. After exploring options, such as switching to a free circulation paper, Scripps decided to shutter the operation.

According to circulation numbers posted on the Post website, circulation for the afternoon daily was only 28,549 last year, compared to 197,962 for the weekday Enquirer (and 288,030 for the Sunday edition). Back in 1976 the Post actually beat its morning competitor during the week, with circulation of 198,694, compared to 188,092.
RBR observation: Will this add to the weight of evidence in Washington for elimination of the crossownership rule? Perhaps not, since Scripps had a grandfathered crossownership and still couldn't keep the market's #2 daily newspaper alive. But it certainly shows again just how much trouble the newspaper business is facing.