Citing declining circulation and ad figures, billionaire and Eureka Reporter owner Robin Arkley II and Eureka City Councilman Larry Glass held a joint press conference Friday to outline an aggressive new revenue partnership to turn the tide on what they called “those smug bastards” at the Times-Standard.
The plan involves auctioning authentic Major League baseballs that have been signed by both Arkley and Glass, Arkley’s longtime friend and business associate, with the bulk of the proceeds going to pay down accumulated debt at the troubled newspaper.
“Larry and I market-tested this last year and found that these balls will retail in the $400 range,” Arkley said. “At that rate, we’d have to sell only about 5,000 balls a year to break even.”
Glass said he fully supports the venture and is pleased that the partners’ promotional event at Avalon in September raised awareness of the new product line.
“Oh he pushed me, he pushed me,” Glass laughed. “It was too easy. We’re on the front page of both newspapers like what, 20 times? And next thing you know, everyone in town is talking about our balls.”
Arkley said the cash infusion would finance significant internal improvements at the Reporter to make the struggling newspaper-like publication more closely resemble an actual newspaper.
Specific proposals include redesigning the paper’s recent web redesign so that it sucks less, and bumping up e-Paper subscriptions into the triple digits.
“If this works the way we think it will,” Arkley said, “pretty soon we’ll have as many readers as the Humboldt Mirror.”
Glass, widely known for his activist and charity work, said he was donating his time to help his friend. But Arkley plans to buy Glass a 2008 black Cadillac Escalade, “so he can chase his own paranoid ass around the courthouse,” Arkley said.
Sale of the men’s balls is expected to begin in March.
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