Louis Keen, owner of the infamous Uranus Missouri complex and publisher of The Uranus Examiner, which emerged in September after a nearby daily newspaper shut down, announced the suspension of his publication because of financial difficulties after lenders pulled their funding.
In a lengthy Facebook post Friday, Keen explained what prompted him to pull the plug on his fledgling newspaper for now:
At the time, we had three different banks competing with each other and “promising” to refinance our property and give us some working capital to grow our businesses.
I was told by my friends, who own newspapers, that I had to be able to survive 6 months to get enough advertisers on board to make this work. With the “promised” loans, this was easily a no brainer…..but obviously, it was me with NO Brains. I should have known after years of false promises by banks that they would find another excuse to turn us down. […]
So what happened? They all bowed out, the final one last week. Each gave us a different excuse, but they could all be translated to “We won’t help you and loan you money because you once owned a strip club.”
One bank even had the nerve to say that they wouldn’t loan us money because I didn’t have a second income source. LOL. So I guess I need to start putting out some Job applications?
It would have been okay if we had sold some more advertising in the newspaper. Several of the businesses that didn’t advertise let us know the reason why. Basically, they said that they were afraid of the backlash of the Fuddy Duddy Patrol if they put an ad in our paper. I don’t hold that against them, I know of a few businesses that had idiots call them and complain about them advertising in our paper.
There’s more, including barbs at two local school districts, the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce and other “h8ters,” but you get the gist.
Keen isn’t entirely throwing in the towel. He said he’ll put out a twice-a-year publication, starting in the spring, with a circulation of up to 200,000 copies that will reach much of mid-Missouri.
Having been in the newspaper business for a long time, I knew Keen faced an uphill slog with his new publication, especially when he named it The Uranus Examiner. The vast majority of newspaper advertisers are conservative, and many would blanch at the prospect of putting their ads in a newspaper of that juvenile, if eye-catching, name.
Attracting young talent to work for the newspaper also would have proven problematic. Can you imagine the reactions of employers if they saw a publication called “Uranus Examiner” on a job prospect’s resume?
Being an upstart publication was a challenge, too. Some of the defunct Waynesville newspaper operations were consolidated to the Rolla Daily News.
And I haven’t even gotten started with newspapers competing with the internet.
I was sort of hopeful Keen could make a go of it in that line of work. After all, the newspaper industry is replete with mavericks and misfits who changed the sector, often for the better. But it seems he’s not going to be one of them.
(Excepted front page of the latest edition of The Uranus Examiner via Facebook)