Fifteen years ago, on April 25, 2001, Susan and I published the first issue of the Tulsa Beacon.
A year earlier, I quit my job as an editor at the Tulsa World because I felt a Christian could no longer work in that newsroom.
All the time I worked at the Tulsa World, I heard comments like:
- How can such a conservative city like Tulsa have such a liberal newspaper?
- How can such a Christian city like Tulsa have such a secular newspaper?
- How can a conservative work at such a liberal newspaper?
- How can a Christian work at such a secular newspaper?
I worked as a reporter for the Tulsa World from 1978 to 1984. I left to start the Glenpool Post (which I sold in 1987 after Susan and I started having children).
In 1993, several months after the Tulsa World bought the Tulsa Tribune (and promptly shut it down), the owner of the Tulsa World asked me to come back and start special sections, called Community World.
I thought I could go there and have a much-needed Christian witness. That happened for seven years. Readers really liked Community World (they shut it down a few years after I left).
I left the World and got a job offer in Denver. The magazine I worked for decided to transfer its employees to New York City and I resigned.
With a lot of prayerful consideration, Susan and I decided to start the Tulsa Beacon. It was not a great business decision, but we were excited because we saw God work in the process.
If God gives you a job to do, He will give you the resources you need to get it done.
The Bible is clear that God wants our full commitment – not just on Sunday morning or Wednesday night.
It is a great privilege to make a living by telling people about Biblical principles and passing along news.
A day before April 25, 2001, I sent some e-mails to some TV stations and radio stations to announce our new newspaper.
Michael Del Giorno (formerly of KFAQ, now in Nashville) was on another local station. He had me as a guest on his show on April 25, 2001 – right after he spoke who U.S. Rep. Steve Largent, a friend who praised our new newspaper. The Tulsa World had constant criticism for Largent when he was in office.
And later that morning, former morning host John Erling had me on his show on KRMG. After the show, Erling told me to contact Git-N-Go. I did and suddenly we had instant paid circulation. A week later, QuikTrip called me and asked to carry the Tulsa Beacon. (Git-N-Go went out of business and just before Super Tuesday, QuikTrip stopped selling the Tulsa Beacon).
There was a parade of wonderful people who showed up to help us. Ken Staley, retired manager of KCFO, gave me a radio show. Bill Bickerstaff offered to help us with our office machines and his wife, Cathy, signed up to proof our pages every week. Marty Weese is a wonderful helper for Susan.
Jeff Brucculeri came by and signed up to write a sports column. Scott Higgins also wrote a column in the early years.
I had met Randy Bright, a Christian architect, a few years earlier and he became one of our columnists. Tulsa author Jim Stovall offered us his weekly column – another great addition.
Dan Keating, twin brother of former Gov. Frank Keating, asked to write a weekly column, as did Robert McDowell. (It took a few years for Dr. Walker Moore to come on board but he is a great addition).
We have so many loyal subscribers. While newspapers all over the country are cutting back or going out of business (the Glenpool Post, the Jenks Journal and the Bixby Bulletin were all closed), we are still here and vibrant.
We have some fiercely loyal advertisers. Some have been with us since the start.
I can’t tell you how many wonderful elected officials have supported our efforts. We have had opposition, but it is heartening to have such deeply rooted support.
Where do we go from here?
Lord willing, we will keep reporting the news. We will arm our readers with the facts and on our editorial pages and in our columns, we will promote a smaller, more efficient government with lower taxes and fewer regulations. And we will not hesitate to promote faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Who knows, maybe we will make it to our 25th anniversary in 10 years?