Rising Sun, MD (PRWEB) March 4, 2006
Ed Belote, Sr. knows a thing or two about growing things. The seeds of a county magazine were planted in his mind while he was operating a successful organic farming business. Upon retiring from the plow, Belote began nurturing his idea by talking to farmers, business owners and other locals to gauge their interest. “People are hungering for something positive,” noted Belote, a long-time resident of Cecil County with close ties to the community. He named his venture Cecil Soil Magazine, and calls it the first magazine created “By the people, for the people and about the people of Cecil County.”
Launched in October of 2004, Cecil Soil Magazine (CSM) enjoyed tremendous growth during its first year. With every quarterly issue the magazine expanded, and readers responded favorably.
“I feel like I have a tiger by the tail,” said Belote. “Our goal was to appeal to the people of the county and we have done just that. I do believe it is the most read print media in the county.”
The subhead of the magazine encapsulates its mission: “Down to Earth News for the Gentle People of Cecil County.” Boasting a 50-50 editorial/advertisement ratio, CSM is filled with stories and photos about its citizens past and present. Its articles and columns have an up-beat tone and a back-to-basics theme that highlights family values. “We would never include any controversial issues, or politics in our pages,” vows Belote. “CSM is there to honor our people and is as wholesome as the Fourth of July and apple pie.”
Many of its readers agree, as evidenced by the wealth of letters that are sent to the publisher after every issue, some of which come from as far away as Florida and even from the Middle East, where local soldiers stationed overseas receive copies from friends and relatives. Over 20,000 copies glossy-cover magazine are distributed throughout Cecil County and surrounding areas at over 400 selected locations, and they’re gobbled up quickly.
“Studies have shown that a quality magazine will be read by 4-6 people,” said Belote. “Couple that with the fact that people collect CSM and do not throw them out gives our advertisers a solid vehicle for their hard earned advertising money,” he explains.
The popularity of the new venture with both advertisers and readers is due to its editorial content which includes regular columns on local profiles, historical stories, business and farming as well as special features on a variety of local topics. The magazine publishes contributions from local freelance writers such as Apryl Parcher, Robert Hazel, Ed Okonowicz, JoAnn Dawson and Erika Quesenbery, and also includes quarterly reports from the County Historical Society (Mike Dixon), Cecil County Arts Council (Kerry O’Connell), Cecil County Tourism Office (Sandy Turner) and the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce (Pat Sparks).
A well-rounded publication, CSM appeals to a broad range of readers—from housewives and school children to business owners and farmers, and Belote measures its success in the goodwill it has generated in the County. “I just can’t believe how popular this thing has become,” he said. “People stop me in the street to tell me how much they enjoy it. That really means a lot to me…it’s like coming home.”
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