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Friday, March 5, 2021

A New Newspaper in Ely? What are you smoking, George?

 When I moved to Ely in 2008, I found a vibrant business community.  While it was obvious that the community had seen better times, there was opportunity for Ely to improve and grow.  The Ely Times and KDSS had active offices and KELY, recovering from a significant period after the AM and the FM KCLS were sold to different owners and KCLS moved first to Pioche and then to St George, Utah.  

And just like that, Ely went from four media outlets to three.  

Then Valley Broadcasting sold off co-owned KVNV-TV, being operated as a repeater of their Las Vegas Channel 3, to PMCM-TV.  There was a minor attempt to operate the station as an Ely television station, but it was short term as PMCM planned to move the station to New Jersey using some ancient FCC laws.  They succeeded.

The Ely Times was a vibrant concern when I moved here.  Ken Kliewer and Kent Harper produced a quality newspaper.  Until the paper was sold by the Las Vegas Review Journal, Ken Kliewer retired, Kent Harper moved to the RJ’s Mesquite property before he retired.  Apart from a short run under the tutelage of Rudy Herndon, the paper hasn’t been the same since.

When I first ran KELY from 2008 until 2011 I did six daily newscasts, aired City Council meetings on a same day delay, and until advertisers decided they thought it was too expensive, broadcast Bobcat Football and men’s and women’s basketball.  The expenses all came out of my own pocket, and I usually rode with the sports teams on the buses.  Then the owner’s partner, upset with the expenses, cut my salary and commissions to unviable levels.  I opted to exit temporarily the business and open  I closed the web site after several people went to my employers and threatened them.  

If it hadn’t been for Floyd Brown and Fred Weinberg purchasing the USA Radio Network and hiring me to be the host of Classic Radio Theater, and to keep KELY running with Ken Kliewer hosting the morning show from 8 to 9am, I don’t know what would have happened to this radio station.  To be honest, Classic Radio Theater has had to be my focus.  In the past five years, we’ve put over 50 radio stations onto Classic Radio Theater from Boston to Anchorage to Florida to Dallas to Alturas CA to Atlantic City and dozens of stations in between. Since Ken Kliewer retired a year ago, I took over doing two hours locally every morning in addition to my three hour national show.  

Local input has been a challenge.  Every week White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henroid has been on the air, even after the newspaper dropped his weekly column.  Every week Cozette Eldridge has been on our station, even after the newspaper dropped her weekly senior news from RSVP.  Every Friday a member of the White Pine Ministerial Association has supplied spiritual commentary.  

But other members of Government have been disappointments.  Ely Mayor Nathan Robertson came in for a while at the start of the pandemic but eventually stopped.  The County Health officer made a few appearances but he eventually stopped.  And not a single member of the White Pine County Commission feels it important to talk to the community through our station.  (That in and of itself is nothing new.)  Even our head of the Tourism and Recreation board hasn’t come back on since the pandemic began.

Local advertising has been a struggle.  If it wasn’t for advertising on our affiliated stations, we would be struggling more than we are.  Advertisers from Reno, Carson City, Dayton, Genoa, Virginia City, and Hawthorne, pick up the slack where Ely businesses have let you down.

Media is not inexpensive to operate properly.  And businesses and consumers of media are being seduced by “free” Social media.  

Except Social Media can and does limit your reach dramatically unless you advertise with them.  And all you REALLY get through Social Media is opinion, not news.  And it’s decidedly left leaning opinion. All you have to do is look at the last year to realize that Facebook is NOT the place to get your news.  If Markie Zuckerberg decides your opinions aren’t leftist enough for him, you’re censored.  

So when former Mayor George Chachas continues to rant about the City or County needing to “bring another newspaper” in here, who?  Newspapers across Rural Nevada have closed.  All you have left is a newspaper that’s a shell of it’s former self...and us.

And when I retire in 2024 or 2025, there are no bets what happens here then.  Better embrace your remaining local media and support them while you can.

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