The Recorder Newspaper Plans Hopefully for a Better 2021

The Recorder newspaper in Bath and Highland Counties has been publishing since 1877.   The pandemic almost brought an end to that.  The Recorder is still publishing, but with the future a bit uncertain, the staff is looking ahead with hope and a plan.

Anne Adams is the Publisher of The Recorder.

“Back in March, when the Governor shut everything down, schools closed and businesses were restricted and everybody was on a stay at home order, it got very scary for us and it got scary for all those businesses that were suffering,” says Adams .  “They were shut down too and that, in turn, affected advertising for us which is our bread and butter.  So I had to sort of swallow my pride and ask for help.  Boy, it was amazing.   Our readers really came through for us.  It was such a critical time, because we didn’t have any savings, and we still had to publish every week because it was a really critical time.  People needed information on what was going on.   We knew we needed to keep moving, but printing and publishing is really expensive, mailing costs are expensive.   So we reached out and they came through in spades.  That support is really what got us through the summer.   These readers bought us time to think about the future and what we could reasonably expect to do.  So we got a plan in place by the end of the summer, a lot of it had to do with reducing whatever expenses we could’ve reduced.  It gave me time to apply for grants.  They weren’t super successful, but the ones that the counties did, Bath and Highland, those programs were really super helpful.”

“You may have noticed that we were doing thirty-two pages a week and then we dropped to twenty pages more recently because things will begin to get tighter now because we’re going into winter,” says Adams.  “And that’s always been the slow time of year for The Recorder, so we are trying to buckle down to survive the first quarter of 2021.   That’s going to be the hardest one for us.  But if we come out on the end of that ok, then I’m going to feel better.  Our plan includes, for example, we’re going to try to clean out our building in Monterey and try to sell that.  Just to help get us out from under some of the heavier debt.  I don’t know how long it will take to sell, given the markets right now, but if we can get that sold I’m going to feel a whole lot more comfortable about our future.   We’ll have the Bath office.  Fern Plecker in Bath was super duper helpful to us, to help us work through a lowered rent for a period of time.   But most of the staff can work from home pretty easily.  But we might hunt for a little office that we could rent at a much lower expense in Monterey on Main Street, preferably.  I really worry about our local businesses.  They’re suffering just as much as we are.  We don’t want to lose them. We don’t want to lose any of them.  So far we feel pretty stable at the moment, we’ll see what happens early next year.”

Adams says you can help The Recorder by supporting local businesses directly by spending your money in Bath and Highland Counties.  The businesses need to survive for The Recorder to survive.   You can also help by purchasing ads or subscriptions.  The Recorder is offering discounted $25 eighth of a page ads.  Readers have bought ads and asked that they be donated to businesses and non-profits and they have also bought subscriptions to be donated to anyone that needs them.

“I want to say thank you, because we could have gone out of business by the end of April without the support that we got,” says Adams.  “It was tremendous and it really brought us to our knees.   And I also want to tell everybody that my staff is just one of a kind.  They’ve been working super hard, and we wouldn’t survive without them.  They’ve been creative and dedicated and have really given us everything that they’ve got.  So this is such a blessing to live and work in Bath and Highland Counties.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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