Sources tell FishbowlDC that DCRTV’s Dave Hughes is in financial hot water with his local news website. “He’s losing money in a major way,” our source told us on condition of anonymity. Hughes is telling friends and contacts that he brought in $40,000 last year, but his expenses are $60,000.
In the meantime, Hughes is asking everyone and his second cousin twice removed for funds — in the amount of $1000 a pop in exchange for advertising on his site. So far, most of the people he’s asking are turning him down, despite his bragging about having a “big rolodex.” Hughes confided that he may have to sell the business as it appears to be about to “fall off the cliff.” He has also said he has had a good 15-year run and now may be the natural time to head off into the sunset.
We’re told that Hughes made up the $20,000 last year by dipping into his savings and using credit cards. What’s more — and this is pretty foolish — Hughes has not filed to trademark DCRTV. You’d think in all this time he would have thought to do this. Then again, the process requires immense patience, roughly $400 and when it expires you have to repay and refile.
The Big Denial
Hughes denies that his site is in any financial trouble and says he has never told anyone that the site might close. He’s careful in his wording. He also claims that he has never asked anyone for “a loan” which of course doesn’t mean that he has never asked anyone for funds or to purchase advertising in the amount of $1000 from his site. See his comment (i.e. the novella) he sent after the jump. We wish him the best of luck picking up the pieces.
Hughes wrote to FishbowlDC via email: “I am not in financial trouble. But thanks for asking! However, I do need to make more from my various self-employment activities, which include freelance writing publications like Baltimore’s PressBox newspaper. Yes, each year I do have to depend a little too heavily on my savings, primarily due to rapidly escalating health insurance premiums from Kaiser HMO, which now cost me $930 a month. This is the standard rate they charge for someone in my age group for the particular plan I have, and NOT due any health issues on my part. DCRTV and my related freelance work cover about 80% of my bills, including DCRTV’s costs. I am working to increase my earnings another 20% or so this year. That is why I am currently doing a $10,000 spring fundraiser for the site. So far, I have received about $6,000 from donors.”
Hughes insists he will not close DCRTV: “Even in a worst case scenario, if DCRTV were to fail me as business concern, the site will NOT close. I might need to get a fulltime ‘job job’ someday, but DCRTV would continue, although not updated as frequently and with the Mailbag features moved to a moving to a more automated status on Facebook. I’ve been able to run DCRTV for almost 15 years on advertising revenue and the kind donations from many in the area media community and I hope to continue.”
Hughes says he plans to launch a new media site this summer that would cover “nostalgic TV shows movies and appeal to a larger national audience.” He says hopefully the revenue would help him fill in the 20 percent he has been losing from DCRTV.