Retirement Ending 31-year Career

Charles E. Cagle made a change to advance his newspaper career and take on new challenges when he moved to Tulsa in 1975.
That was the year he joined the Retherford Publications Neighbor Newspaper staff as advertising manager.
Cagle, now general manager, is retiring Dec. 31, ending more than three decades of service to Neighbor Newspapers and the communities where he worked.
Moving to Tulsa from Clinton, where he was managing editor for the Clinton Daily News, was a ‘‘frightening experience’’ because he had never before worked in a large city. Previously, the large cities where he worked generally had populations of about 5,000 people.
Cagle worked in various capacities at the Harrison (Ark.) Daily Times starting in 1949. His newspaper career was interrupted by a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force. Returning to Harrison in 1960, he worked as a reporter/photographer and in advertising sales before leaving that publication for Ava, Mo. and one-third interest in the Douglas County Herald. After nearly six years in that position, he and his family moved to Oklahoma at the invitation of his brother, Roger, who was trying to entice him to get into the automobile business.
‘‘I always wanted to sell cars,’’ Cagle said. Before I made the move, I had applied for the news editor position at the Clinton newspaper, a job he didn’t take.
The year was 1970 and the new car salesman found first that it was hard to sell the vehicles — if they could get them from the factory.
For a short time, he owned and operated the Claremore Printing Company, but when two big customers went out of business, Cagle sold the company.
He contacted Charles Engleman, owner and publisher of the Clinton Daily News at Clinton asking if the managing editor that had been hired worked out.
That person wasn’t working out, so Cagle and his family moved to Clinton, a position he would hold for five years.
Retherford was seeking an advertising manager and he felt that it was a good opportunity to advance his career.
‘‘I walked into an unorganized advertising department,’’ Cagle recalled. There were two sales people with few skills in marketing the product.
Yet, the job presented a challenge and an opportunity to build a career — and a company.
Even though the new sales director was scared about the market he had entered, he took to the task of selling advertising in three markets — Southeast News, a community paper that served southeast Tulsa, Tulsa County News, Retherford’s original newspaper that he purchased in 1965 (founded in1921), and the Owasso Reporter.
In addition, he sold advertising for the Collinsville Pennysaver.
Because he had such a wide market with the three publications, Cagle found himself spending one day each week in most areas.
The Tulsa-based newspaper group experienced a stabilization from 1975 to 1979 and growth started from within.
‘‘There were 16 people at the first company Christmas banquet I attended in 1975,’’ he said. That number grew to more than 100 over the next 30 years.
The Skiatook Journal was started in 1980 against two other small weekly newspapers in the community, Cagle said. Additional publications — The Broken Arrow Scout, Coweta American, Wagoner Tribune, Glenpool Post and Collinsville News were added in the mid 1980s — expanding the Neighbor Newspaper family. The Tulsa Business Journal was included in the newspaper mix in 1990.
It was in 1995 that Retherford purchased five newspapers, The Broken Arrow Daily Ledger, Sand Springs Leader, Jenks Journal, Bixby Bulletin and Mannford Eagle.
This growth would test and hone Cagle’s sales and management skills because of the demands of bringing the various newspapers into the Neighbor Newspaper group.
He also found himself handling real estate leasing activities for Retherford’s multiple properties.
Looking back over his time in Tulsa, Cagle said he has thoroughly enjoyed his 31 years with the company, being part of the growth and working with a great employer.
‘‘I was part of a family atmosphere and Bill Retherford worked hard to make all employees feel part of a family,’’ he said. ‘‘I enjoyed working for Bill and the quality employees in the company.
‘‘This job turned out to be more than I expected and I would do it again,’’ he said. ‘‘Over the years, I had opportunities to go with larger newspaper groups, but I preferred the family-type atmosphere.’’
Cagle and his wife Sandy have lived in Broken Arrow for 11 years. They are members of the Heritage United Methodist Church.
Sandy is director of membership services for the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

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