For the second time in 33 years, the Register newspaper is changing its name to reflect what publisher R. David Threshie said is the paper's emergence as a countywide chronicle.
As of Sunday, when the new masthead and logo are officially unveiled on Page 1, the paper's name will be the Orange County Register.
Threshie said that while the change merely recognizes what the paper has informally called itself for several years, executives felt an official name change was still necessary.
He said the newspaper wants advertisers and media executives on the East Coast to recognize that the Register covers a county widely known for its affluence, tourism and rapid growth. Register executives were also unhappy, Threshie said, that the 81-year-old paper is still known in some circles as the Santa Ana Register, a name it shed in 1952.
The name and masthead changes are just two of the latest and more visible moves the paper has undertaken in the nearly six years since Threshie became publisher.
Under a corporate mandate to fully exploit the paper's potential, Threshie has nearly doubled the Register's work force to 1,800 and spent about $15 million on advanced new presses.
In addition, the company is building a new five-story office complex adjacent to its Santa Ana facility to house all but its production operations. The $25-million complex is expected to be completed early next year.
At the same time, the paper has enjoyed rapid growth in circulation. Unaudited figures from last September through March show an average circulation of 291,617 daily and 326,038 Sunday. By comparison, when Threshie took over in 1979, daily circulation was 213,538 and Sunday circulation was 243,274.
Advertising has grown from 87.7 million lines in 1979 to more than 96.5 million last year, but the paper's national ranking fell to sixth from fifth position during that period. Closely held Freedom Newspapers Inc., which owns the Register, does not publicly release profit or revenue figures.