I know this is just a work-around but in "old search" you can click on "Ohio" (or whatever state) below the "Search all records" page or on the map, scroll down and click on "view all 169 Ohio Newspapers & Periodicals" (or whatever state), then narrow the years down to those you're interested in, then search each paper in your locality individually. If you don't know the geography of the state, just look it up.
This can probably be done in "new search" too but I don't know the steps. I think the location field in the search box just uses the location as a keyword so it will not help to use it. I sometimes have better luck putting nothing in the name fields and using the first & last names in quotations, like a phrase, in the keyword field.
I know this is a pain and isn't addressing the OP's complaint, and it doesn't make up for missing issues, but it is a way to make the best of a bad situation, and I have found very important pieces of information this way.