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Herald names new ad director

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

ALBANY, Ga. -- Veteran advertising executive Kevin D. Austin has been named advertising director for The Albany Herald.

Austin, 44, has about 25 years in media advertising, primarily in New York, Michigan and Florida.

"The Albany Herald is extremely fortunate to have someone of Kevin's caliber lead our advertising department," said Michael J. Gebhart, executive vice president of Southern Community Newspapers Inc. and president and publisher of The Albany Herald. "After an intense nationwide search, Kevin was clearly our No. 1 choice for the position.

"I am confident he'll be able to continue to expand the best advertising vehicle in Southwest Georgia. There is no doubt that he and his wife are going to be well-received in the Good Life City."

Herald General Manager John Hetzler agreed that Austin was the obvious choice after the nationwide search, calling him "the most highly and uniquely qualified leader to make a positive impact on the ad revenue for The Albany Herald."

"Kevin is a solid ad executive, as well as an all-around good person for Southwest Georgia," Hetzler said. "I am thrilled he is part of our executive team."

Austin said a love of reading newspaper sports sections at an early age and his creative nature led him to a career in the newspaper industry.

"I have always been creative," Austin said. "And even at a very young age, I always had an interest in newspapers, sitting down and reading the sports section. It was just a natural progression to combine the love of newspapers and the creative process."

Austin said he believes one of his strengths is targeting the right advertising products for his customers.

"There is no reason to try to sell something to a customer that doesn't work," Austin said. "I've always found ways to provide products that work for advertisers to help build their business, and this is what we will do here at The Albany Herald -- provide the right products to meet the needs of local merchants."

Austin said the newspaper industry is changing, and advertising representatives have to be prepared to adjust.

"With the progression of the Internet, we have to be more savvy than we were before," he said. "We have to provide the right tools online to match the need.

"There is a digital revolution going on. Readers are going online for practically everything, and there are more opportunities for businesses to sell their products and services online. We want to be the main source for both readers and advertisers when they think about the Internet for advertising, news and information."

Austin and his wife, Manuela, are in the process of relocating to Albany from the Orlando, Fla., area, where he has owned and operated a media consulting business for the past two years.

In addition to his varied newspaper advertising experience, Austin said he ran a newspaper for Spanish-speaking readers for a couple of years.

Austin obtained his bachelor's degree in business management from Northwood University in Midland, Mich., where he played basketball. He also played semi-pro basketball overseas following his graduation.

Austin said he plans to become a visible part of the community.

"I like to get involved in the community," he said. "You can expect to see me out becoming a part of the fabric of the Albany community. I look forward to being in the greater Albany area for a long time. I am excited to be here."