CPI Employees to Take Furlough

Community Publishers Inc., parent company of the Tulsa Business Journal, announced Monday that it has asked its employees to take a five-day unpaid furlough between May 1 and July 31.
The cost-cutting move was prompted by declining advertising revenues related to the national recession. The furlough affects all employees, including senior management and the home office.
“Our Neighbor Newspaper division, including 23 daily, semi-weekly and weekly newspapers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, has seen significant revenue and profit declines over the past year,” said Steve Trolinger, president of CPI. The advertising declines have been sharpest in the auto and real estate sectors.
“As the economy improves, probably in 2010, we expect to grow again,” he said.
Furloughs and other personnel cutbacks have been implemented widely across the newspaper industry in the last year, as well as in other businesses hard-hit by the economic downturn.
“Making the decision to implement this program has been one of the most difficult in our 27-year history,” Trolinger said. “Unlike many newspaper companies across the nation, though, we have had no layoffs and hope to avoid them.”
CPI, which is privately owned, has more than 315 employees.
The company’s commercial printing business, Nowata Printing, with plants in Springfield, Mo., Harrison, Ark., and Nowata, has experienced smaller revenue declines and has actually increased profits due to falling commodity prices and through expense control.
“I cannot say enough to express our appreciation for the dedication and effort of our people during this difficult time,” Trolinger said.
Company officials stressed that CPI’s problems stemmed from advertising revenue, traditionally vulnerable to economic fluctuations, and not readership. Readership of its newspapers in print and online is now larger than at any time in its history.
“Because Neighbor Newspapers are hyper-local community newspapers generally located in suburban markets, we remain the main source of news, advertising and community information, which has kept our audience strong and growing,” Trolinger said.

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