In 1946, the year Arkansas’ electric co-ops began producing a monthly publication for members, the price of a gallon of gas was 15 cents, and you could buy a new home for $5,600. The average annual wage for a worker was $2,600, and the average cost of a new car was $1,120. It only cost 3 cents to mail a letter.
It was also a time when electric co-ops across the nation returned to building their distribution systems after a lull during World War II. As part of that effort, the Arkansas electric co-ops’ statewide association, known then as the Arkansas State Electric Cooperative, Inc., (now Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.), began publishing the Arkansas REA News in November 1946. The publication, then a newspaper, contained news about issues of importance to the cooperatives. The publication was later renamed Rural Arkansas, and the format changed to a magazine in the 1960s. The magazine was renamed Arkansas Living in 2012. Today, it continues its longstanding position as the most widely distributed publication in the state, with a circulation of about 408,000.