Fike has gone from paperboy to publisher
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.”