(December 2021) – Dear readers, advertisers and supporters of the RoundAbout: After 23 years in business, I have decided to retire effectively Jan. 1, 2022, and stop publishing the free, monthly, regional RoundAbout Entertainment Guide.
It has been a very hard decision to make because so many people in our 12-county distribution area and beyond have come to love reading the newspaper. It has become a vital source of information and events in our region, especially with the demise or reduction of several other publications in our area in recent years.
But considering today’s challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as an internal staff shortage and facing an increase in the cost to print next year, to name a few, I feel this is the right decision at this time.
Believe me, after surviving the past year and a half of COVID-19 impacts and the resulting shrinking advertising revenues on the part of many local businesses, tourism offices, government and nonprofit agencies, it is hard to shut down publication. In fact, 2021 has been one of my most successful years, partially attributed to the additional funding opportunities made available from government and local authorities. But with little or no staff, I have also had to work extra hard this past year to service our clients’ advertising needs and keep the great feature stories coming, and then produce and distribute the newspaper, plus our four special sections – Regatta, Ribberfest, Chautauqua and Holiday Guide.
I especially feel torn over this decision because of the support of so many loyal advertisers over the years who made this newspaper possible. Many of them have been on a contract for years, and a few have advertised in every edition of the RoundAbout! I really can’t thank them enough for that support.
Then there are the thousands of readers who eagerly pick up the paper each month and promote it to their friends and families. Many readers provide supportive and thankful comments in their RoundAbout Webwinner entries in their monthly attempts to win tickets to area attractions.
It has been a great run, and I will miss it. I will miss all the monthly communications with our advertisers in getting their ads ready for publication. I will miss working with our freelance writers who have devoted their time in making the best stories and photos possible on people, events and places around the region.
In addition to those stories, I’m sure our readers will also miss the regional calendar of events that keep them posted on what to do in the area. And when next summer rolls around, we will all miss those festival guides to tell us about the performers and artists and activities at Madison’s major events.
All of our staff-written stories for the entire 23 years are posted on our website at www.RoundAbout.bz and are searchable by keyword. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to read or learn about the people and places in our region. Just recently, the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library requested a collection of all RoundAbout editions printed in PDF format. This collection will be made available to the library, and to the Jefferson County History Center Archives, in December. So many of our past cover stories focused on the history of our area and serve as a valuable resource.
The first RoundAbout was published in April 1999. From 2010-2015, there were two separate RoundAbouts printed each month, one for Indiana and one for our Kentucky counties. The Kentucky edition was also mailed to all residents and businesses in Oldham County and Prospect in an effort to grow that market. In 2016, the single edition of the RoundAbout again began servicing all 12 counties. In recent years up until now, the RoundAbout was distributed to more than 500 locations each month, including 100 of our own racks. Our busy racks were restocked weekly.
For those paid subscribers and advertisers who have prepaid for ads, the remaining balances will be refunded going forward. I appreciate your patience as I wind down the business after the first of the year.
Looking back, it has been many years of hard work, but it has also been personally rewarding, and I am proud to have successfully published the RoundAbout for the last 23 years. So thank you again, Kentuckiana, and Madison, Ind., in particular, for all your support.
• Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at info@RoundAbout.bz.
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