Ralph Martin live p.23

By: Robert Neuwirth Highlights of Ralph Martin's speech to publishers at the Inland Press Association's Weekly Publishing Conference on Feb. 26:
? "Our goal was to reach $450 million in operating revenues, which we should do by the end of 1999."
? "We want 70% household penetration in all our markets. Good results for advertisers means more profits, which allows us to take 50% of those profits, pass them on to shareholders, and reinvest the other 50%."
? "We're buying the family history. We need publishers to stay on." Martin said only five publishers have left the company in two years, three of them to retirement.
? Management's task is to "dovetail editorial with circulation to improve conditions." Martin told his audience that circulation is the most undervalued department in a newspaper and may be adversely affected by editorial problems such as credibility or lack of respect and knowledge of the readers and the community.
? Other newspaper groups give awards for good ideas or accomplishments but at CNHI that's considered boring. What does CNHI reward? "We pay $100 for the biggest mistake. That keeps things interesting."
? In a question-and-answer session following the address, Martin acknowledged that CNHI has shifted gears on acquisition size. "We've set a new level of $25 million [to look at deals], but we've done smaller ones and lots of trades."
? Martin acknowledged that his lender, the $22 billion Alabama state pension program, recently discouraged the purchase of individual weeklies or small family groups, and Martin agrees that buying bigger is more cost-effective.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http:www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(Copyright: Editor & Publisher March 6, 1999) [Caption]


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