Oh so close, yet close doesn’t count except in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Somewhere we hope to find $7,800. That’s all the staff needs to hit $3 million. Not $3 million for year, that wouldn’t be anything to brag about.

$3 million for the month. Of November, 2016. Typically not one of the largest months over the course of a year. There’s still several days left in this month and while we’ve already started on December placements, maybe an advertiser or agency will come along with a $7,800 order and make it official.

Technically, we could claim the $3 million mark if we looked at the “gross placement” for the month. However, the figures in that column include all totals prior to the commission given back to advertising agencies. So we normally only look at the “Total Billed,” the amount KPS will collect from agencies and advertisers and then use to pay newspapers for the space involved.

(FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Each Friday morning, I get an up-to-the-minute ad placement report from the Ad Department. This morning’s report shows the Total Billed column at $2,992,197.84, just $7,802.16 shy of THREE MILLION DOLLARS! The “Total Gross” column — that’s prior to an ad agency’s commission being factored in — is $3,009,258.55. So in a sense, we have hit the $3 million mark. And what about newspapers? Most of that goes to the newspapers when we issue advertising checks.)

The “Total Billed” run sheet for the month shows the $2.992 million was scattered over 96 different ad placements. From $103.31 for one placement to $1.782 million for another. And lots of five figure placements and another well into six figures.

November, 2016, now goes down as the largest ad placement month in KPS’ more than 50 years of placing ads. And it’s not even close for second place. That belongs to February, 2010 — another not-typical high advertising month — with $2.425 million.

Of course, there is a catch. Newspapers have to run the ads as ordered. Any breakdown in a newspaper’s ad department affects what we end up billing a client and what a newspaper’s ad check total will be.

So the ball’s in your court now. The KPS ad staff has done its job; you must make sure your ad department runs all of the KPS placements as ordered.

It’s been a while in coming, nearly seven years, but it was worth the wait.

Of course, the big beneficiaries are the newspapers and that’s what the purpose of KPS is — to sell advertising for Kentucky newspapers.

Yes, KPS benefits from the commission and it is our for-profit side of the house. KPA is the non-profit side and the Kentucky Journalism Foundation is our charitable side.

But the commission KPS makes on placement goes right back into the services we offer. Yes, of course, we have nine staff members and the salary and benefits come mostly from the commission.

Think interns! KPS rents part of the central office from the foundation. It pays monthly rent and then the foundation turns around and places 20 interns each summer with selected newspapers. There’s a $3,000 stipend to the interns for their 10 weeks of work, totaling $60,000 a summer.

Think the Freedom of Information Hotline, a service that’s been around for 30 years. Unlike some state press associations that require newspapers to pay or subscribe to their hotline, Kentucky’s is totally underwritten by the organization. That’s free access to the top media attorneys in the state answering questions about everything from Open Meetings and Records, closed courtrooms to advertising and pre-publication review of stories or letters to the editor.

Think the Kentucky Press News Service! It’s now seven years old and shares stories from some 90 participating newspapers for other newspapers to use. It’s available at no cost to member newspapers although the Board is studying a request to add a funding mechanism so it can continue. Since October 1, 2009, when we launched KPNS, we’ve shared more than 47,000 stories and probably another 5,000 editorials from those 90 newspapers.

And every bit of it made available at no cost to participating newspapers.

Think lobbying, think legislature! We don’t just pick up the phone and ask a legislator to be in favor of or against a piece of legislation. It takes leg walk, being at the Capitol. It takes reading every single piece of legislation — sometimes 1,500 of them during a 60-day session — and then contacting the bill’s sponsor to talk with him or her about KPA’s position. Then it’s appearing before committees after talking with most committee members about our position and how a bill might affect newspapers. If it’s a bill we don’t like, then it’s time to talk to all the members of that chamber and encourage them to vote against the bill. Or for the legislation if we like it.

And I’m far from doing that alone. We use Ashley Pack with Dinsmore & Shohl and we use the top-rated lobbying firm in Frankfort, Top Shelf Lobby with five of the best lobbyists in the business.

So you see, KPS deserves the advertising commission to provide the staff that works FOR you every single day. We deserve the commission to provide the services that are known to be among the best services provided by any state press association. And being KPS is for-profit, if we make a large profit for a year, we pay lots of taxes. And that would be money we can use providing more and better services.

So the next time you get a placement order from KPS and you notice KPS’ commission that’s being taken from you, remember it’s money that’s going back into providing the services you have access to.

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