Brochure boondoggle at Aspen airport
ASPEN, Colorado The brochure racks are bare at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport thanks to a recent contract change.On July 1, Clear Channel, a major media company with a $300,000 per year contract for advertising at the airport, reclaimed the brochure racks theyd long subcontracted to a local brochure operator, Aspen Activities Center.What that means is local businesses that had once paid an affordable rate for coveted brochure space near the terminals baggage claim area will have to renegotiate with Clear Channel, according to airport officials.David Ulane, the airports assistant director of aviation, said its just a transition.For years, brochure advertising at the airport was just short of being given away to local companies while other advertisers pay premiums for wall advertising through Clear Channel, Ulane said.So when Aspen Activities Centers contract expired in June, Interspace Airports out of Allentown, Pa., a Clear Channels subsidiary, took over the racks.They decided that they wanted to take the brochure center back in-house, Ulane said.The move prompted a pullout of all brochures at the airport before the busy Fourth of July weekend.The timing wasnt ideal, Ulane said. And the transition has been challenging.Clear Channel officials could not be reached for comment.Frustrated staff at the airport visitors center said they rely on the various company brochures to assist visitors.People need information, said Dorothy Frommer, director of guest services for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. We cant do our jobs.Tourists arriving for Fourth of July, for example, were out of luck because the racks were empty, Frommer said (though her staff keeps a stash of desk copies of local business brochures for visitors to see and copy phone numbers).On Wednesday, just a small rack displayed pamphlets from only three local advertisers whod signed with Clear Channel Homes & Land, a real estate company, the Aspen Art Museum and Full Circle Massage & Yoga.In a recent renovation, Clear Channel also installed a flat screen above the brochure area, but the TV simply loops three scenic photos of the Aspen area.Airport officials dont control what Clear Channel charges for advertising, Ulane said, but he believes the rate has gone up.Ulane added that local magazines, such as Aspen Peak and Aspen Sojourner which were once distributed for free also would have to pay for a slot with Clear Channel.Jim Ingram, owner of Aspen Whitewater Rafting, who advertises with Aspen Activities Center, said its too early to tell what the effects will be from losing his airport brochure slot.I dont know what the impacts are going to be, but its a bummer, Ingram said.He hasnt approached Clear Channel to negotiate space in the new racks yet, but Ingram said he expects a rate hike.Its just unfortunate that were all going to be shelling out to different entities, he said.For some 30 years, Aspen Activities Center, owned by Don Sheeley, has stocked the airport brochure rack.Local companies negotiate a flat fee for brochure advertising, and Sheeleys staff stocks some 225 locations in the valley.Sheeley said while he has lost the contract at the airport, his crews are still stocking the rack for Clear Channel and he could not comment on the email@example.com
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