Peninsula News may never have started had it not been for Cec Bucello.
Soon after the Peninsula Newspaper association formed, it was looking for a commercial operator for the paper.
This would be a business that would produce and distribute the paper in return for the right to retain the advertising revenue.
Association president Mark Snell met Cec through a shared interest in bush dancing and Australian folk music.
Cec said he had previously worked for the Australian Government Publishing Service, where he had gained some publishing experience.
Then, after several years at the Australian Soccer Federation, Cec had started the soccer newspaper Inside Soccer and operated what may well have been the first soccer merchandise website, trading as Mail Order Mall.
Cec said he had moved to the Central Coast with the expectation of a “seachange”.
After a discussion with Mark, Cec offered to take the commercial operator role, a similar role to that he had at Inside Soccer.
Cec said that he started without any capital and that, for many years, the business was an edition-to-edition shoestring affair.
Despite growing to employ several paid staff members, it was not until three years ago that he was able to draw a regular wage of his own, he said.
Peninsula News started in the Woy Woy office of Open Windows Computer Consultancy, Mark Snell’s business.
The office came with desks, computers and room dividers, which went with Cec’s business as it moved from office to office. Cec still works at one of the original desks.
The first advertisement for the paper was in colour for Bruce Kerr’s real estate business.
“It paid for the printing,” Cec said.
For many years, the newspaper barely covered costs, with any drawings mainly being business-related.
His domestic costs were mainly covered by the work of his wife, Fran, as a book-keeper.
As well as being the main breadwinner, Fran also undertook the valuable and often invisible job of doing the business bookwork and managing its accounts.
As Peninsula News grew, Cec’s business moved to its own office near the corner of Blackwall and Victoria Rds, but soon outgrew it.
As the cost of renting an office rose, it cost less to service a loan to buy a shop in Tascott, where he stayed until the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
Cec launched his own publications, the Greater Gosford News and the folk music magazine Trad and Now, from the Tascott office.
He also changed the trading name to Ducks Crossing Publications.
With the sale of the Tascott office, Cec moved his business to Erina St, Gosford.
As the Greater Gosford News struggled, Cec replaced it with a sports newspaper, Grandstand, which also did not survive.
In 2010, this was replaced with Coast Community News and, two years later, the Wyong Chronicle was launched. Both publications continue to be published.
With the advent of Coast Community News, the trading name for the newspapers changed again to Central Coast Newspapers.
The business remained in Erina St, Gosford, until March last year when it moved to bigger premises in Mann St.
In July last year, Cec sold the business and it became incorporated as Central Coast Newspapers Pty Ltd, with Ross Barry as the commercial operator.
Cec was appointed as CEO for a three-year transition to the new ownership.
Cec retains his Ducks Crossing Publications business, which continues to publish Trad and Now, and to sell related books and music by mail order.
He said he was not sure what he would do beyond his time with Central Coast Newspapers.
He would be too old to plan, he said.
“I won’t even be buying green bananas then.”
However, it is likely that Cec, who was one of the founders of Woy Woy’s Troubadour Folk Club, will “do a lot of travelling”, particularly on the folk festival circuit.
Interview (Mark Snell), 6 Aug 2020
Cec Bucello, Central Coast Newspapers