Fike has gone from pa­per­boy to pub­lisher

Record Observer - - Opion - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­

EASTON — David Fike first be­gan work­ing for The Star Demo­crat at age 10, when he was a pa­per boy for the lo­cal news­pa­per whose of­fices were a few blocks from his home in Easton.

More than a decade later, he be­gan his ca­reer with The Bay Times, sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing for the Kent Is­land weekly pa­per also owned by Ch­e­sa­peake Pub­lish­ing.

Fike, who cel­e­brates 25 years with the news­pa­per com­pany to­day, now serves as the pres­i­dent of APG Me­dia of Ch­e­sa­peake and pub­lisher of The Record Ob­server. As APG pres­i­dent, he also over­sees daily and weekly pa­pers and mag­a­zines on both sides of the Bay.

Fike said the news in­dus­try is chang­ing so dy­nam­i­cally and so quickly that it is an amaz­ing and, at times, dif­fi­cult pe­riod in the busi­ness.

“It’s kind of a crazy time and dif­fi­cult time to tran­si­tion a busi­ness model like ours but I look at it dif­fer­ently — com­pletely op­po­site,” Fike said. “To me this is an ex­cit­ing time to be a part of it.”

“Our in­dus­try has been stag­nant for a decade, if not a cen­tury, and all of a sud­den tech­nol­ogy and reader habits have caused us to look at our in­dus­try in a to­tally dif­fer­ent view and no­body has a clue what it is go­ing to look like decades from now,” he said. “So we have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a new busi­ness model for an in­dus­try that has been around for cen­turies. It’s kind of cool to be run­ning a com­pany that is do­ing that.”

“Our job is dif­fer­ent ev­ery sin­gle day,” Fike said. “We know what the mast­head will be and the over­all look of the pa­per but we ab­so­lutely do not know what is go­ing to be in the pa­per.”

“It’s like bak­ing a new vari­a­tion of a loaf of bread ever y sin­gle day,” he said. “And with that we get dif­fer­ent re­sults and chal­lenges too.”

Fike’s first stint with the news­pa­per be­gan when he was 10. A driven child, with plans for the fu­ture, he saved the money he earned from his pa­per route, mow­ing lawns and other jobs to pay for col­lege. “I was pretty en­tre­pre­neur­ial at that age,” he said. He jokes now that his sav­ings barely paid for his first se­mes­ter.

“I look back at it now and wish I would have been more like a 10-year-old and spent the money,” he said.

Fike at­tended the Univer­sity of Mary­land in Col­lege Park, and grad­u­ated with a de­gree in busi­ness. He had no in­ten­tion of stay­ing on the Shore and had his heart set on mov­ing to the “big city.”


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