Lonsinger wraps up career with lifetime achievement award

| November 15, 2018

COSHOCTON – Mark Lonsinger’s retirement after 44 years in the media business was celebrated with a lifetime achievement award from the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce.

“I was blown away when I found out and absolutely speechless,” said the Coshocton resident. “You do a lot of things because that is what you do. You don’t realize how other people view them. It’s pretty humbling to think that a group of people thought enough of me to present me with something like this.”

Lonsinger’s first news job was with the “Coshocton Tribune.” He started there after graduating from Coshocton High School in 1974.

“I had covered five murder trials before I was 21 years old,” Lonsinger said. “By the time I was 21, nothing could faze me. I saw a lot of things in a short amount of time.”

He advanced to the city editor position before moving across the street to WTNS.

“I started in 1979 as the news director and my first day on air was the day after the hostages were taken in Iran – Nov. 5, 1979,” Lonsinger said. “My first news cast I had all these Iranian names and things in there I had to say. That is something I will never forget.”

In 1991 Lonsinger moved on to work at WKLM in Holmes County, which was bought by WTNS.

“I had a lot of chances to meet a lot of famous people,” Lonsinger said.

He also made numerous trips to state tournaments with high school teams.

“Some guys never get to go, but it seemed I was going every year with somebody,” Lonsinger said.

He worked at the Holmes County radio station until 2008.

“I met and worked with some tremendous people,” Lonsinger said. “You don’t do anything alone. I’ve been blessed and fortunate my entire life to always be surrounded by really good people. I learned a lot at a young age in my career from people who were a whole lot smarter than I was. I tried to learn from them as much as I possibly could.”

Two of those people were the late Frank Shepherd from the “Coshocton Tribune” and the late Tom Thompson from WTNS.

“Frank opened doors for me and taught me how to open doors,” Lonsinger said. “I learned from Frank and Tom that there was a way to do things and I always tried to do business the right way. Doing that opened doors and helped me form good relationships with athletic directors and coaches. They knew the way I did business and that if it was off the record, it really was. Many of those people are still friends of mine 40 years later. I tried to honor the certain way I was taught to do things.”

When Lonsinger left the radio business in 2008 he started his own website, “The Voice of Holmes County.”

“We built it from the ground up from technology to the way we wanted to do things with it,” he said. “My friend who helped get it started was the technical person. We spent four or five weeks working out of the house. He literally pretty much moved in so we could test equipment. We had to figure out how we wanted to cover (high school) games, video, audio and print for the website, buy cameras and studio lights.”

Eventually they were able to move the business out of Lonsinger’s home and into its own location in Millersburg.

“I had 42 charter advertisers start with me,” he said. “I never raised prices. They were the same at the end as when I started.”

The website, however, retired along with Lonsinger.

“I retired on July 31 and wanted to take the rest of the year off,” Lonsinger said. “My plan was to sit back and enjoy some time off before looking for something part time. Five days after I announced my retirement though, which I did on May 1, I got a call that Harvest Ridge (an event center at the Holmes County fairgrounds) was considering hiring a marketing person. They wanted to know if I was interested. If I had to write down what I was looking for it would have been this job.”

He started working part time as Harvest Ridge’s marketing director on Aug. 1.

“It’s been good,” Lonsinger said. “It’s a great facility with great people. It’s nice to have four days a week off too.”

He is very grateful for the opportunities both Coshocton and Holmes counties have given him.

“It doesn’t get any better than to have worked with the people I did in these two communities,” Lonsinger said. “I had no desire to go somewhere else like the big city. In Coshocton and Homes counties, I could connect with the people I was working for. These are two great communities and I was fortunate to have the chance to work for both of them.”

Category: Business

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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