The Antelope Valley Press, colloquially referred to as the Valley Press by its staff and Antelope Valley residents, is a daily newspaper with emphasis on local news located in Palmdale, California USA. Its daily circulation is 26,065, with Sunday figures of 31,851 as of 2000 making it the largest circulating newspaper in the area. The Valley Press covers the fast growing Antelope Valley - especially the Palmdale/Lancaster Urbanized Area (a US Census Bureau defined term) and adjacent areas of north Los Angeles and southeastern Kern counties, including the upscale Los Angeles urban escapes of Acton and Agua Dulce. The newspaper is presently center-right in its political stance.
Other adjacent areas the Valley Press covers on an as-needed basis include the Victor Valley, Bakersfield and the southern San Joaquin Valley, and the Greater Los Angeles Area. This is especially true for aerospace related stories and local high school and college level sports.
On July 1 1958, four men initiated a partnership between the Markham and Odett families. Arthur F. Folz was president of the board of directors in 1958, with Ralph and his brother Maurice W. Markham as vice presidents and Lamont Odett Sr. as secretary-treasurer. Ralph H. Markham bought out Maurice W. Markham, and Lamont Odett Sr. bought out Arthur F. Folz on April 1 1961, to create the partnership of Ralph H. Markham and Lamont Odett Sr. In October 1975, Lamont Odett Sr. died and sons Bill and Monty Odett Jr. became co-publishers. On March 1 1981, William C. Markham joined the Odetts in daily management of the paper and was elected corporate vice president and advertising director. William C. Markham became president of the board of directors after Ralph H. Markham's death in November 1985.
The Markham family became sole owners of the Antelope Valley Press in January 1994. William C. Markham is president and publisher. The William Odett family had father William and his son Lamont ("Monty") Odett Sr. running the day to day operations of The Yuma Morning Sun (Now The Yuma Sun) with William's new wife Miriam as part of the team in the circa 1925 to 1935 period in Yuma, Arizona. When the Morning Sun changed ownership in 1935, the Odetts moved to the San Fernando Valley and later to Palmdale.
The paper later dropped the "South" from its nameplate, and became simply the Antelope Valley Press by the early 1960s. It was a Thursday afternoon weekly until 1959 when a Sunday edition debuted. The Tuesday edition was added in 1969, followed by Friday (1982) and Wednesday (1988), Saturday (1992) and finally the Monday edition in 1998, making the Antelope Valley Press a full-fledged daily newspaper - perhaps the first Mojave Desert California based newspaper to commence daily publishing with morning delivery. The paper remains in family hands, and has never been corporately owned or had nonlocal ownership.
The newspaper moved into the digital age beginning in 1986 when City Editor Bill MacKenzie was given the assignment to find a publishing system. The result of that search was the installation of a Morris Publishing System network of personal computers for both classified and editorial requirements. That classified system was replaced in 1999 with Digital Technology Internal equipment. Editorial followed in 2002 to make the paper completely paginated in one system. The classified system was upgraded in early 2005 and the editorial system will be upgraded by year's end.
A Valley Press legacy to the motorists of the Antelope Valley, as well as California and beyond is the Antelope Valley Freeway, which Lamont "Monty" Odett, Sr., championed in dealing with California state legislators in the 1950s and 1960s. Lamont Odett Vista Point - an Antelope Valley freeway rest area overlooking Palmdale - is named in his honor.
The paper, long Republican leaning, is gradually changing under its current publisher to reflect the current population and opinion trends of newer Valley residents. As a result, it will often publish two opinion pieces side by side of opposing persuasions. The featured writers in them increasingly are local residents with strongly held views, which can become controversial at times.