As we mentioned in an earlier post, Christy Everest announced today that OPUBCO — which includes the Oklahoman, NewsOK.com and, yes, even Wimgo.com — will be acquired by the Anschutz Group.
This news is surprising, but not too surprising. If anything, we probably should have seen it coming. In addition to the well publicized struggles of the newspaper industry, just look at some of the recent events that have taken place in the Dark Tower:
1. In response to sagging revenues, The Oklahoman began a series of massive layoffs in 2008. This resulted in many longtime (and loyal) employees losing their jobs or taking early retirement. OPUBCO also began cutting costs at all corners, eliminating delivery in remote areas and even closing their childcare facility.
3. In June, well-liked and well-respected Managing Editor Ed Kelley fled the Dark Tower for the zany Washington Times. Not soon after, Publisher David Thompson announced he was retiring. Both positions were filled with longtime OPUBCO Kool-aid drinkers Kelly Dyer Fry (Editor) Chris “Wimgo” Reen (President).
Knowing all that, I guess it’s not too surprising that the Gaylord family finally decided to cash out. You can’t blame them. I have no clue what the sales price is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the billions. If someone offer me a billion – or $10,000 — for this website I’d probably take it.
Anyway, here are some other thoughts about this jaw dropping story:
• My Grandpa will need to find a new rich Oklahoma family to blame on everything. The Gaylord Family has always been my Grandpa’s favorite scapegoat. He blames them for just about everything that ever goes wrong (or right) in Oklahoma City. Although the family will still run the paper and continue to use their clout, money and influence to protect and nurture their own personal interests and those of their friends, it’s not as fun to blame them for everything if they don’t own the paper.
• The new owner of the paper, Philip Anschutz, is the 124th richest person in the world. He’s also a Grade-A right-wing wacko. The estimated net worth of Philip Anschutz is $7.5-billion. He’s a major contributor to Institute for American Values, Morality in the Media and several anti-gay rights groups. He also co-founded Major League Soccer and helped produce the crummy Chronicles of Narnia movies. All of those things are dumb.
• Phillip Anschutz looks like Lee Corso.
• What impact will this have on the local community. Say what you want about their politics, but at least OPUBCO tried it’s best to be good stewards of the community. They were actively involved in the local chamber of commerce, and seemed to base some decisions on what they felt was right for Oklahoma. Now that they are owned by some billionaire from Denver, you have to wonder if they will continue.