OC Register Sports Page Stuck w/Embarrassing UCLA Headline 'Cause of Earlier Press Time: UPDATE

And another swing!
And another swing!

SECOND UPDATE, OCT. 5, 8:30 A.M.: So yesterday was one giant clusterfuck for the Register, their new carriers, and their new press time to appease said carriers, so much so that the paper had to run an unsigned story on their website since last night explaining what was going on.

But the biggest victim was the Sports section, who suffered the ignominy of not being able to publish the Los Angeles Dodgers' score in today's paper even though the game ended around 10pm yesterday--already past their new press time. Even worse, though, was the below headline, prompted wholly by the nuevo press time:

Whoopsy-doodle!
Whoopsy-doodle!
Photo by The Mexican

UCLA, of course, lost last night, 30-28, in an upset to the Utah Utes on a twice-missed field goal, a non-existent running game outside of Brett Hundley, an invisible offensive line, and a horrific defense (sorry--that's the pissed-off Bruin in me). I feel bad for the Sports guys, who have consistently put out great stuff despite Reg owner Aaron Kushner's continued floppy axe swings--and now have to live with early press times on a section that can least afford it.

Meanwhile, Register readers are contacting me as of this morning that they STILL haven't received their paper. Gentle Reg readers: this is the time where I suggest you drop the Reg and subscribe to this infernal rag, as we charge nothing other than sitting through my ¡Ask a Mexican! rants.

Upcoming Events

The reader uproar is so bad that the Kush's Minister of Information, Eric Morgan, sent the following internal email yesterday afternoon titled "FROM RNET: How to direct subscriber calls after the Register transitions to new delivery vendor"

The Register began its transition to new independent carriers to manage paid subscriber delivery on Saturday, Oct. 4. Customer Service is experiencing a higher volume of calls today, and anticipates higher volumes during the next few weeks as the new independent contractors become familiar with new routes. Here are options for directing subscriber inquiries you may receive:

Phone: Please transfer live callers or forward voicemails to extension [Gustavo note: stricken by me in the faint hope that maybe this act of charity will convince Morgan to be a source some day] from the Register headquarters. (Note: Please do not share the [Gustavo note: stricken for the previously stated reasons] extension externally, as it is specifically for forwarding or transferring internal calls). Customer Service is temporarily extending its hours as part of the Oct. 4 transition. Hours will be as follows: Monday-Friday: 5:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Sunday: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

E-mails: Forward to customerservice@ocregister.com

Online: Subscribers may also manage their subscription online at ocregister.com/customerservice on their desktop computer or the Customer Service link at the bottom of the ocregister.com home page.

Associates and subscribers are also encouraged to complete an online form at ocregister.com/go/delivery if there are any specific instructions concerning their routes (e.g. placement of the newspaper) that may be helpful to their new independently contracted carrier.

Just a quick note: Eric and Aaron, don't you think your newly hired carriers should already be familiar with their new routes, given that's their job?

FIRST UPDATE, OCT. 4, 11:58 A.M.: Today, the first day after the Registertried out their new carriers after dropping their old ones due to unpaid bills, chaos has predictably reigned. From a subscriber:

Thought you'd like to know, no one in our condo complex got our Saturday morning newspaper, only to get a recording at OC Register subscription tel # to go to web page to re order paper delivery, NOT!, ( that was a cluster fuck to navigate thru) then another recording came on to say in laymen's terms "You'er Fucked" if I thought you were going to get a re delivered paper today!

Meanwhile, other aggrieved subscribers are letting the paper have it on the Reg's Facebook wall.

Just a sample:

Just one more:  

Meanwhile, I've yet to go see the Saturday edition of the Reg to see if they had the score for yesterday's Angels-Royals thriller. Stand by...

ORIGINAL POST, FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 8:03 A.M. Today, the Orange County Register published two tiny notes that most readers will ignore until tomorrow, when they realize what destruction Reg owner Aaron Kushner has wrought on their paper--again.

One, buried in the front page below the fold next to the weather and news blurbs, tells readers that their papers will now be delivered by new carriers. This comes, of course, after the Los Angeles Times stopped delivering the Reg because Kushner owes them mucho dinero in unpaid bills. The other note is even more obscured--run right next to a headline below the fold in the front page of the Sports section, alerting readers that there will be no OC Varsity section in the Saturday edition.

The reason for these two developments? The Register is moving up its printing time two full hours to 9 p.m. so their new, cheaper carriers can deliver the paper, according to sources. And it's sent the Sports section into an uproar, because they're now faced with the embarrassing prospect of not being able to publish the results of games the following day--you know, at a time when both the Angels and Dodgers are in the playoffs, and UCLA and USC football are having good seasons.

"The most important Angels and Dodgers games of the year arrive, and the Register might not be able to provide final scores in print for the night games?" says a source who, as usual, requested anonymity. "UCLA [which plays this Saturday at 7:30 in the evening] is an unbeaten Top 10 team and they just won't appear in this Sunday's edition because Kushner's financial woes led to a change in delivery service?"

Sources say this isn't a permanent change yet, and hope--pray, really--that the reader rage that will surely follow will convince Kushner of his folly. And the angriest readers will be those who live for OC Varsity, a separate section in Sports that has run every Saturday since at least the early 1990s, when I'd steal copies of the Register to keep up with the Anaheim High Colonists. Kushner boasted upon buying the Reg that his print-first strategy would expand OC Varsity, with better pictures, stories, and the like. Instead, the note today urges readers to the OC Varsity website "for live updates tonight and for stories and photos once the games are done."

Web-first? Then what's the point of a standalone OC Varsity section, Aaron, especially when the scores will be a day-and-a-half old? You better run an OC Varsity on Sunday that's Harper's-esque in its scope--or there's no point to it whatever.

Kushner, of course, doesn't talk to us anymore. But maybe we can get a comment down below from Steve Fryer, the Reg's legendary prep sports columnist who smokes the Kush's kush a bit much but is a good guy and at least puts his name in the comments. So, Steve: ya happy?

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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