Cincinnati Post, Kentucky Post to close

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The E.W. Scripps Co.'s Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post newspapers will cease publication Dec. 31.

The two afternoon papers have held a joint-operating agreement with the morning Cincinnati Enquirer and its owner Gannett Co. Inc. since 1977.

Gannett informed the newspapers three years ago that the agreement would not be renewed when it expired.

"For 30 years the Enquirer and Gannett were responsible for all business operations of the Post, so we have none of that infrastructure in place," said Mark Kroeger, a spokesman for the E.W. Scripps Co.

"We would have had to have made substantial investment to replace everything and start from scratch," he added. "How much that would cost plus cost over time to build a competitive position in this market would have been economically unfeasible."

Under the joint-operating agreement, Gannett and the Enquirer were responsible for all business operations at the Post newspapers, but news operations and the editorial pages were separate and competitive. Scripps and Gannett shared the combined profits of the Enquirer and the Post.

In 2004, the Post employed 84 staff members. That number dropped to 52 employees when the company was notified of the contract expiration.

The Post newspapers had a combined weekday circulation of 27,000 in March. Circulation went up to 37,000 on Saturdays.

"The industry is changing - it's clear," Kroeger said. "This trend in particular - the closing of afternoon newspapers - [has] been ongoing for over 50 years. There were over 1,400 afternoon papers in 1950 and now the number is closer to 600."

Cincinnati, OH-based E.W. Scripps Co. will continue its presence in the Cincinnati area with local television station WCPO-TV and its companion Web site

Scripps owns local newspapers and broadcast stations nationwide. Its national network holdings include HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network.

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