The Ohio Circulation Managers Association was founded in 1917. With a suggestion from Edward Gans, associated with Editor and Publisher in New York, J. T. Kavanaugh of the Dayton News called a meeting for October 30, 1917, in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss the problems of newspaper circulation.
At that meeting, the Ohio Circulation Managers Association was organized with J. T. Kavanaugh being elected as president. Clem O’Rourke of the Dayton Journal-Herald was appointed to be responsible for entertainment. The first membership meeting was held April 2, 1918, at the Miami Hotel in Dayton, Ohio. Thirty newspapers were represented at the meeting.
Some of those in attendance at the first meeting were: Edward Gans, Editor and Publisher; J. T. Kavanaugh, Dayton News; Leslie Sauers, Zanesville Signal; P.W. Stiles, Middletown Journal; J. J. Quillan, Canton Repository; C. S. Wilson, Columbus Dispatch; B. J. Ullman, Youngstown Vindicator; E. L. Cohan, Cincinnati Commercial Tribune; C. D. O’Rourke, Dayton Journal-Herald; Ben Miles, Lima Republican Gazette; Stephen Weber, Hamilton Journal; W. L. West, Lima News; R. F. Hedges, Sidney Journal; J. C. Woods, Marion Star; H. L. Laudes, Springfield Sun; Victor Adler, Springfield News; W. J. Galvin, Wilmington News; H. S. Seymour, Akron Beacon Journal; A. J. Lisbon, Journal; and Herman Denman, Coshocton Tribune.
Over the years, OCMA strengthened its membership to the point where most Ohio newspapers had at least one circulation executive as a member of the association. Many newspapers had multiple members participating. In addition to the regular membership, many newspaper-related suppliers joined as Associate Members.
A number of members acted as Secretary Treasurer since that first meeting. Those most recently doing so include the following: Worthy Gee, The Columbus Dispatch, 1967-1971; Norman Rathke, The Toledo Blade, 1972-1983; Walter Santel, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1984-1988; Fred Weber II, Athens Messenger, 1988-1994; Bill Bockwich, The Plain Dealer, 1995-2001; Brian Barker, 2001-2011; and Carol Huddleston, 2011-2013.
The first woman to be elected to the Board of Directors was Leslie Counts, Lorain Journal. Leslie was later elected as the first woman president of OCMA in 1988. In 1978, to add continuity to the Board of Directors, the by-laws were amended to include two past presidents on the board for two-year staggered terms. In 1982, OCMA was incorporated as a Tennessee Corporation. King, Bellow and Little (Mike Zinser) served as counsel. More recently in OCMA’s history, Zinser and Patterson served as legal counsel.
The Glenn L. Cox Carrier Achievement Awards program was established in 1952 to honor youth newspaper carriers throughout Ohio. Over the years a number of changes have been made to enhance the program. The program now recognizes carriers in three different age-related categories, which are Youth, Adult and Senior. An award program is held annually with the award presented at the fall circulation conference. The award was named for the founder of the program, Glenn L. Cox, former circulation director of the Dayton Daily News.
In 1982, the Board of Directors established the OCMA Presidential Award. OCMA members in good standing who have made a considerable contribution to the success and betterment of the association or who have made an outstanding contribution to the circulation profession may be nominated for the award. The selection committee is chaired by the immediate past president. The award is presented once in a calendar year, not necessarily annually. To date, nineteen individuals have received the award.
OCMA, in recent years, had established a variety of training programs for its members. Most popular programs were in the area of district manager training, customer service training and legal training conducted by Mike Zinser. The association was recognized to be a leader in the training area as well as one of the stronger circulation associations in the country in general.
As the Ohio Newspaper Association continues key activities of the OCMA, part of this includes the ONA Circulation Managers Committee advising the Professional Development Committee on training.
In addition, most of the OCMA’s other activities are now part of the programming of the Ohio Newspapers Foundation, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization.