LACONIA — Rick Hopper, who for more than 30 years has been coming up with creative ways to meet the needs of Lakes Region advertisers, has joined The Laconia Daily Sun as sales director.
Hopper comes to The Sun after spending 42 years in broadcasting, most of that time — 35 years — working in advertising sales for local radio station WLNH.
When Hopper started looking four months ago for a job opportunity that would allow him to spend more time closer to home, he was drawn to The Sun, he said, because of the paper’s community involvement and the quality of its local reporting.
He pointed to in-depth articles the paper has run on pressing issues such as homelessness, mental health, and the opioid crisis as evidence of The Sun’s dedication to coverage of issues and events which have a real impact on its readers.
“The Sun takes community advocacy seriously,” he said.
Hopper, who grew up in the Albany, New York, area, landed in central New Hampshire in 1977 to take a job as a disc jockey at WFTN in Franklin. After a brief stint there led to another at a radio station in Plymouth, Hopper landed at WLNH.
When Hopper showed up for his job interview, Warren Bailey, WLNH’s long-time on-air personality and program director, asked, “Do you like disco?” Hopper, eager to get the job, replied, ”I love disco.” The truth of the matter was that, at that time, Hopper was into punk and new age music. But hosting the 98-minute nightly disco program on WLNH taught him to appreciate what today he calls “good disco,” and provided the gateway for more opportunities.
Some months after joining WLNH, Hopper started writing the copy — or text — for 30- and 60-second commercials, as well as producing commercials for use on air. In 1984, he moved into radio sales. About 10 years later, he took on the additional responsibility of organizing periodic special events which the station sponsored and promoted.
While the field of newspaper advertising is different in lots of ways from radio advertising, Hopper is excited about the opportunities his new position at The Sun afford him.
The Sun “is the perfect environment for retail businesses to get their message out about what they have to offer,” he said. He explained that businesses that advertise with The Sun can bring attention to their products and/or services not only in the traditional printed paper, but also through digital options that include the e-edition, a digital version of the printed paper. Other advertising opportunities are special publications, such as the recently released Fall Fun Guide, and special events such as the Best Of party.
At a time when many daily newspapers are facing the challenges posed by dwindling readership, coupled with declining advertising, “The Sun has found a formula to thrive and grow, and primarily because of terrific content,” Hopper said.
As Hopper gets settled into is now position, he is busy organizing The Sun’s Pub Mania team which will help support the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, which raises money for Lakes Region organizations that help children and families in need.
“We had to heed the call of the Pub Maniacs,” he said.
The team will include members of The Laconia Daily Sun staff, but Hopper pointed out that membership on the team is open to anyone who wants to take part. The Pub Mania event is set to take place next week — on Dec. 5 and 6.
Hopper lives in West Alton with his wife, Kathi Caldwell-Hopper. They have two grown children, a son, Daniel, who lives in Durham and works for a sound-and-lighting production company, and a daughter, Megan, who is a registered nurse at the VA Hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
In addition to his work, Hopper is an active member of the Gilford Rotary Club, and is working — albeit slowly — on a CD of songs he has written.
“I’m hoping it will come out during the 21st century,” he said.