… As the fall breezes arrived, the days shortened and the hurricane season wrapped up for 2011, Florida Currents arrived to members of electric cooperative members across the state. Bringing you month after month of great energy-saving ideas, useful garden, travel and photography tips, scrumptious recipes and all kinds of information that is both useful and important about your electric service, Florida Currents is your best way to stay plugged in to your electric co-op and find some family-fun reading, too.
Great Florida writers traverse the Sunshine State, readers submit photos and stories and your local co-op writes local pages specifically for your area.
The magazine is produced by Ruralite Services, a nationally recognized nonprofit communications cooperative recognized for high-quality electric co-op publications for more than 70 years.
Ruralite Services produces Florida Currents, Arizona Currents, Kauai Currents and Ruralite, the magazine that started it all. Edited for a family readership, all of our magazines feature regional places and personalities, recipes, outdoor activities, and undiscovered local treasures.
In the early 1950s, managers at rural electric cooperatives in the Northwest faced a dilemma: How could they provide the information their member-owners needed to make sound decisions about their cooperatives, yet do so in a cost-effective manner?
They found the solution in the cooperative spirit: pooling their resources.
In 1954, Oregon co-ops had only about 30,000 members. Recognizing their numbers were too few for individual magazines, Idaho and Washington co-ops said they would join with Oregon if the publication would serve them, too.
A committee worked five years to launch a publication for rural electric cooperatives in the Northwest, turning to Hank Alderman—a former newspaperman and Bonneville Power Administration employee—for help.
The forerunner of Ruralite magazine, “Northwest Rural Electric News,” was first published in June of 1954. About a dozen electric systems with an estimated 20,000 consumers subscribed to the eight-page tabloid.
In the first issue, Alderman explained the purpose of the paper “will be to keep you informed of cooperative matters, of the newer and better ways to use your electric power supply, and to enable you to participate more fully as individuals in the universal assumption of responsibility which we all have for keeping our region, our neighbors and ourselves supplied with low-cost electric energy.”
All of Ruralite Services’ magazines share the same mission today.
When the operation broke even the first year, the Oregon association surrendered its ownership of the paper to a new, nonprofit association it helped form: Ruralite Services.
Six months after its birth, the publication became known as “Northwest Ruralite.” In mid-1973, the magazine—then a 32-page publication—became known simply as “Ruralite.”
Utilities in Alaska, California and Nevada joined the Ruralite family. In 1998, the Arizona statewide association and several of its members decided to work with Ruralite Services to produce a satellite publication, Currents magazine.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative joined the Ruralite family in 2004 with a custom publication. Five electric cooperatives in Florida turned to Ruralite in November 2011 to launch a custom magazine for the Sunshine State.
All four of Ruralite’s magazines are designed to be flexible. Each utility can use a cover photo provided by Ruralite Services, or one of its own choosing. The back page is available for utilities to communicate important messages to their members.
Several inside pages are available for each utility’s use. Some use two of those pages to feature a member with an interesting story, job or hobby. The other four pages may be used to explain special programs the utility is offering, update consumers on local happenings or announce upcoming meetings.
The remaining pages are filled with articles suitable for the entire region. In those “common” pages, readers may be information about electrical safety, conservation and new products or ways of doing things. They also are kept up-to-date on developments in the power industry.
Among the regular Florida Currents features are Side Roads, In the Kitchen, Florida Gardener, Festival Roundup, Travel Journal, Outdoor Pursuits and Parting Shot.
By cooperating with one another, utilities have made Ruralite the solution to keeping members informed, connected to their utility and each other, and entertained.