- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2005


The Washington Times has named Richard A. Epstein circulation director, succeeding Arthur D. Farber, who retired in May after six years.

Mr. Epstein will be responsible for increasing subscriptions to The Times, which has bucked a national trend by growing its circulation base at a time when other newspapers have struggled to attract new readers and keep existing ones.

“The big challenge is to continue our growth and to make sure circulation is an enabler and not a choke point, as it can be at some newspapers,” Mr. Epstein said.

He brings 30 years of experience to the job. He ran the circulation department from 1992 until 2000 at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, where he helped design a new printing and distribution plant for the newspaper and led its conversion to an adult carrier system.

Mr. Epstein worked in the Miami Herald’s circulation department from 1975 until 1992.

Since 2001, he has worked as an industry consultant.

“We’re delighted to continue our tradition of attracting top-flight national talent,” said Richard H. Amberg Jr., The Times’ vice president and general manager. “Rick’s stature in the industry and his proven record make him a worthy successor to Art Farber, who also was a circulation innovator and widely acclaimed in the newspaper field.”

During the six-month period that ended March 31, The Times’ daily circulation from Monday through Friday climbed to 103,017 — an increase of almost 3 percent over the similar period last year, according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations report of publishers’ estimates.

Other newspapers saw flat growth or declines during the same period.

The Washington Post, for example, reported losing 20,682 subscribers during the first six months of the year, a 2.7 percent decline in its weekday circulation, from 772,553 to 751,871 during the similar period in 2004.

Industry executives and analysts have cited increased competition from the Internet, television, radio and other media for the circulation declines.

Also contributing to the drop: The national do-not-call list that went into effect in October 2003 and made telephone marketing a less-effective method for newspapers to sign up new subscribers.

“We have to be creative in the way we market ourselves,” Mr. Epstein said. “We have to use existing channels and create new ones to let our subscribers and potential subscribers know how The Washington Times can help them in their daily lives.”

Mr. Epstein is a widower with two adult sons. One son lives in Miami with his family; the other is in the Army and is expected to deploy to Iraq soon.

— Chris Baker

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