The Pee Dee Post suspends operations

Editor’s note: At the request of readers, the link to the Post’s 3-month-old online campaign to raise funds through private contributions is added – click here for details. If each of the Post’s monthly average of 40,094 readers would donate $3, we’d start Spring 2015 stronger than ever. If each of the Post’s 5,800-plus Facebook fans would donate $10, we’d make an immediate hire and provide more coverage than ever.

Staff report

ROCKINGHAM — Business is good, but not quite good enough, said Kevin Spradlin, owner and managing editor of Richmond County’s daily news source.

That’s why The PeeDeePost and PeeDeePost.com is suspending operations. It launched on April 28, 2014. Between today and the end of February, stakeholders will step back, re-evaluate and reconsider options moving forward. Everything is on the table, Spradlin said, including ceasing daily publication.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.08.57 PM“We have plenty of readers,” said Spradlin, noting the average of 40,094 unique visitors each month from May 1 through Dec. 31. “I think the higher-than-expected number of readers and the active engagement with the community showed a true thirst for locally produced news from a locally owned organization.”

During the suspension, PeeDeePost.com will continue to publish free obituaries as well as the full-length “paid” versions, which are free for military veterans. In addition, event calendar items, news releases and opinion pieces will continue to be available to readers.

The Post operated in the black — barely — for all but one of the first eight months, Spradlin said. That began to chance towards the end of December through early February.

“That period began a downward trend in revenue,” Spradlin said. “I still think the product is a viable one but … I began this operation on a shoestring budget. My wife and children have been very supportive of me and the digital newspaper since the beginning, but I can ask of them only so much patience for only so long. I started this venture on a shoestring budget, and I’m out of shoestring.”

“I want to thank everyone who has been supportive, both publicly and behind the scenes,” Spradlin continued. “The overwhelmingly positive response has been — well, humbling. I am grateful. The Post has been a part of some really great memories over the past nine months.”

Several opportunities to keep the Post going — in some form or fashion — are being considered.

Spradlin plans to reach out to individual advertisers who might have paid quarterly or yearly on their advertising agreements to “make things right.” If normal operations resume on March 1, or before, existing advertisers will simply be credited for the suspended time. No advertiser will be charged for the period between Feb. 15 to when a decision is made about the digital newspaper’s future.

“I’ll work to make sure everything’s above board with each company and refund the portions paid for which services have not been provided, if it gets to that point,” Spradlin said.

Questions, comments or concerns should be made in writing by email to peedeepost@gmail.com or to The Pee Dee Post, 301 E. Washington St., Rockingham, NC 28379.

 

Filed in: Announcements, Business, Latest Headlines, News

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  • http://frutke.com/ Frutke

    I just sent you an email, Kevin. We want to help.

  • Alice Kaulfers

    I hope there is another avenue to keep you going. The Pee Dee Post has the best up to the minute news coverage in our area.

  • Brenda David

    I really enjoy reading the peedee post. You always report news quickly. If you decide to do a talent show, fashion show, silent auction whatever me and my family are willing to help.

  • Realistic

    RCO is a generous place and will probably step in to save this young man’s bacon. But what happens the next time he runs out of money…and the time after that? Will he be asking for donations once a year, twice a year, every season, every month? This is not a charity, it’s a business. If Mr. Spradlin can’t make the business profitable, what are our contributions really buying? A little more time? If a shutdown will happen eventually, why delay it?

    • Kevin Spradlin

      I’d love the opportunity to sit down with you and share my plans for The Pee Dee Post. If the Post can make it over this little “bump in the road,” then the future bodes will for it (and, by extension, for readers who enjoy what the Post offers).
      Email me at peedeepost@gmail.com if you’re willing to have such a conversation. We can meet at my office, 301 E. Washington St., Rockingham.

      Kevin

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