AWOL was first published in October 2008, initially under the umbrella of the Observer Group, but in January 2009 the project was taken on by the staff, and the company, AWOL Co. Ltd, taken over by Mrs Chukamol James and her husband Steve, who is the Managing Editor.
AWOLonline came into being in December 2009, initially as a means to distribute the digital version of the printed paper, but the online presence has steadily grown and now encompasses the main website, Classifieds, Directory, Forum and Property sections, with more to be added as time goes by. While the newspaper is currently a local concern, the website is aimed at a broader market but still with a local focus.
Currently AWOL is distributed in printed form to over 180 outlets in the Hua Hin, Khao Takiab and Cha Am areas, with about 1000 copies delivered every Friday evening. In addition the paper is available to download as a compact PDF file, with a regular weekly download figure between 80 and 100 copies. In September 2011 AWOL celebrated three years and 150 issues to firmly establish itself as the leading English language publication in the area.
AWOL is intended to be a light hearted, entertaining read, with a mixture of news and information on Hua Hin and surrounding areas, plus a variety of regular features ranging from puzzles and horoscopes to page 3 girls and sports. It is loosely based on the style of UK tabloid newspapers. This website is intended to be an extension of that, but with an increasingly national and international emphasis, rather than the local focus of the printed version. The website is constantly being tweaked and developed and we are hoping that you, the readers, will tell us what you would like to see in addition to what we provide – you can do so by using the myriad of contact capabilities we have made available – you can email us using the contact tab above, comment on the blog or the forum, send personal messages on the forum, send real mail or call us with your comments, criticisms, suggestions, requests or any other feedback you wish to give – we welcome it all.