The team at FingerLakes1.com is growing. The leader in digital media announced a series of important hires, and recently welcomed longtime local broadcaster Ted Baker to the team.
Baker has been the voice of news in local radio since coming to the Finger Lakes nearly two decades ago. He joins the FingerLakes1.com team as a content manager – producing news, sports, interviews, podcasts, and much more.
“I’ve known the people behind the website for a number of years and have admired what they’re doing,” Baker said of the career change. He accepted the position with FingerLakes1.com, embarking on his first career move since coming to the region. “I didn’t go looking for this position, they came to me and said ‘We’re growing and we think you’re the person to help make it happen’. It’s nice to be wanted.”
FingerLakes1.com has undergone explosive audience growth in 2021. In October, the website was read more than 25 million times – marking a match to the website’s total audience in 2019.
“To see the changes we’ve made in content production come to life, be embraced by readers, and audience grow as it has over the last two years is inspiring,” said Josh Durso, who has moved into the role of Vice President of Content. In that position he will oversee all aspects of content production at FingerLakes1.com, leading the growing publishing and digital media team. “Make no mistake – our success is tied to our ability to remain nimble as an organization. While traditional media has struggled to adapt, we have been constantly evaluating the best methods to deliver the news of the day to communities who rely on us. We’ll continue to reinvest in those communities through expansion of our content team.”
Samantha Goodman, a Phelps native and HWS graduate, joined the team in June. She will continue in her role as content manager, producing news and lifestyle features.
Paul Russo, a Seneca Falls native and Gannon University graduate, joined the team in October. He is leading FingerLakes1.com’s live events and serves as studio manager.
FingerLakes1.com started as a website, and has morphed into a platform providing a range of audio, video, and written content. FingerLakes1.com President Jim Sinicropi said dedication from the beginning allowed the company to thrive and grow into the dominant force it is today. Now, adding experienced, dedicated personnel means an even greater volume of local content across a number of platforms.
“When FingerLakes1.com was launched on December 4, 1998, the only way people could connect was through a dial-up modem on a desktop computer. More than 20 years later over 75% of our visitors access us through their smartphone,” he said of the company’s early days. “Our local content is delivered on almost every digital media platform available. Our users access our content on their televisions, tablets, via social media and in ways we never dreamed possible in 1998. Throughout this time we have remained laser focused on bringing our region the best possible local news, information, and entertainment we could deliver. Adding a legendary broadcaster like Ted Baker is a gigantic leap forward in continuing that mission.”
These changes are only the beginning. “We’re here to stay,” Durso added. “FingerLakes1.com has been a staple in communities around the region for over two decades. Those who rely on us for the best local news, sports, and entertainment in the region will continue to get a constantly-improving product. One that will always be free to its users.”
Free access has been central to the mission at FingerLakes1.com. Despite the opportunities to charge readers over the years, or create a paywall to limit the amount of ‘free content’ that can be consumed — the team has focused on reaching as large an audience as possible, finding other ways to sustain. Even during the pandemic, while creating a paywall seemed like a viable way to compensate for lost advertising revenue — FingerLakes1.com remained free to all.
“Becoming the region’s leading digital media company and news outlet was never an easy financial proposition,” Sinicropi added. “But, we have remained steadfast in our resistance to put any of our content behind a paywall or to require a subscription fee. We believe that the work of our outstanding team should be available to the communities of the Finger Lakes as a free, public service. We are appreciative of the businesses and patrons whose support has made this possible. With the addition of Ted Baker, we promise some exciting enhancements for our users in the Finger Lakes and beyond.”