Longtime Mirror GM Eckenrode named Florida publisher

The Altoona Mirror’s longtime general manager is heading south to take a new position with Ogden Newspapers.

Ray Eckenrode, general manager in Altoona since 2004, has been named the new publisher of Breeze Newspapers, headquartered in Cape Coral, Fla.

The group includes operations in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, North Fort Myers and the islands of Sanibel, Captiva and Pine Island, as well as a large commercial print operation in Fort Myers.

“I have loved and lived the Mirror and this area since I started here as a copy editor in 1992 so it took a really special opportunity for me to consider leaving,” Eckenrode said. “But these are great community newspapers and a facility with a state-of-the-art press in one of the fastest growing areas in the country.”

During Eckenrode’s tenure, the Mirror maintained its emphasis on local news and sports coverage and expanded its reach in the market with the development of alternate revenue streams involving glossy magazines, events, concerts and stage shows, ticketing and a full-service creative agency.

The company also grew its community commitment to the arts and youth programs.

Eckenrode and Publisher Ed Kruger also worked together to create the Mirror’s Season of Sharing, a holiday fundraiser that has raised more than $250,000 for community causes since 2008.

“We cannot say enough about the leadership and example that Ray set for all of us at the Mirror,” Kruger said. “He was not only a very competent coworker but also a good friend. We all will miss him greatly while wishing him all the success with his new responsibilities at Breeze Newspapers. They are fortunate to have him there.”

Eckenrode assumed his new role in Florida on Tuesday.

“Media is a business, journalism is a vocation and community newspapering is a privilege that involves giving back and I’ve tried to keep all three of those things in mind during my time at the Mirror,” Eckenrode said. “The things I’ll remember are the great journalism we’ve done.”

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