Thursday, February 18, 2016

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

What’s happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com.

AMBUSH, based in New Orleans, entered its 34th year of publication with its January 5, 2016, issue.

BAY AREA REPORTER, based in San Francisco, entered its 46th year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

DAVID ATLANTA entered its 19th year of publication with its January 6, 2016, issue.

HOT SPOTS, based in Oakland, Fla., entered its 31st year of publication with its January 7, 2016, issue.

LIVING OUT, based in Woodbury, Long Island, N.Y., entered its 4th year of publication with its December 2015/January 2016 issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS entered its 40th year of publication with its January 1, 2016, issue.

Q MAGAZINE, based in Key West, Fla., entered its 11th year of publication with its January 2016 issue.

SEATTLE GAY NEWS entered its 44th year of publication with its January 1, 2016, issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE entered its 47th year of publication with its January 1, 2016, issue.

THE WISCONSIN GAZETTE, based in Milwaukee, entered its 7th year of publication with its November 19, 2015, issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 11

Colorado's Out Front battles Outfront Media

by Joe Siegel

What's in a name? In the case of Out Front, everything — including its very existence.

The Denver-based LGBT magazine is ensconced in a legal battle with Outfront Media Inc., one of the country's largest outdoor advertising businesses.

The problems for Out Front began in 2014, when CBS Outdoor rebranded itself as Outfront Media Inc. and spun off to become a stand-alone public company with “OUT” as its ticker symbol.

The change has resulted in much confusion, according to Out Front's owner and publisher, Jerry Cunningham. Cunningham has owned Out Front since 2012.  

Cunningham has received phone calls from people wanting to buy ads on billboards they saw on highways. The confusion has escalated to the point where even local advertisers for Out Front have sent payment for ads to Outfront Media Inc., which is based in New York. The billboard company’s own lawyers have sent Cunningham’s business legal bills by mistake.

Another problem is Outfront Media sells billboard space to Chic-fil-A and other brands the LGBT community considers antagonistic, confusing readers of the magazine and advertisers trying to reach them.

Out Front was started in 1976 by Philip Price, who died in the 1990s. Its twice-monthly print run is 12,000 copies. Its website draws traffic from around the world as well as national advertisers, Cunningham noted.

Although Out Front had worked with one of its advertisers to correct the error, Cunningham said, the publication is still experiencing problems with advertisers sending payments to Outfront Media.

“We met with [the advertiser’s] attorneys and explained what was going on and set the record straight, and less than a week later, they sent the payments wrong again,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham's company, Q Publishing Group, filed a lawsuit against Outfront Media Inc. in federal district court in Denver in February 2015 claiming unfair trade practices and misappropriation under Colorado common law.

Cunningham hopes the court date will be set before March. He wants the opportunity to set the record straight about Out Front. 

“We believe this is a fight that's more than just principle, this is just wrong on all business levels,” Cunningham said. 

Cunningham noted that Out Front's sole source of revenue is from advertising, just as Outfront Media's sole source of revenue is also from advertising.

“You can't adopt the same exact logo as someone that's already been in the industry for 40 years regardless of whether you have a trademark or not,” Cunningham said. “We never thought we had to trademark [the Out Front logo] because it's been in existence for 40 years.”

Outfront Media denied that it was competing with Out Front magazine and website, according to the company's legal response.

TOP STORY
Volume 17
Issu 11

Cleveland’s Gay People’s Chronicle closes, now up for sale

by Chuck Colbert

Gay People’s Chronicle (GPC), based in Cleveland, Ohio, has ceased publication. Its last issue was volume 31, issue 13, dated December 25, 2015.

News of the paper’s closing came in email correspondence from Dave Ebbert, advertising sales manager, to Todd Evans, president and chief operating officer of Rivendell Media, the publisher of Press Pass Q.

“After 31 years, the editor, publisher and staff decided that it was time to finally call it quits,” he wrote.

And yet, he explained, “We are not looking at this in a bad way, as we are aware of our contribution to the advancement of the LGBT community throughout our history. Perhaps we advanced ourselves out of existence.”

Charles Callender founded Gay People’s Chronicle in 1985. At first, the publication served as a free monthly, but later on published every other week on Fridays. The paper’s content, explained Ebbert, featured major news, news briefs and entertainment, including movie and music reviews. “It was an all around newspaper,” he said during a telephone interview.

Distribution of the Gay People’s Chronicle — between 11,000 and 15,000 copies — primarily spanned Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

“We were in more than 300 businesses and every library system in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County,” he said, as well as “various bars and bookstores and on every college campus in the state.”

For a short time, the newspaper attempted to expand into the Columbus and Central Ohio area. But the publication could not gain a foothold there.  “We were not very well received. The community was not accepting of our coming into their neighborhood,” said Ebbert.

After several years, the newspaper moved back to its roots in the Northern Ohio and Cleveland market.

Asked what contributed to the staff’s decision to cease publishing, Ebbert said there were several factors.

“The core group of us had gotten to the point where this was not a money maker for us. It was a labor of love,” he said. “Rivendell [Media] was instrumental in keeping us going as long as we did with national advertisers.” In the end, “Rivendell kept us alive because the mom-and-pop shops had free options” to advertise through the Internet and social media, said Ebbert. Those options “were a lot more appealing than actually spending money.”

Still, he continued, “We had a core group of advertisers that had been with us from the beginning. They were supporting the paper, not by necessity, but because they wanted to support the community, regardless of whether they received a response from their ads or not. And we appreciated that core group very much.” However, “Throughout the years as the Internet became bigger and bigger, the advertising dollars were drying up,” Ebbert said.

Furthermore, “There are a lot of tech savvy people finding news online and can get up-to-minute news,” he said.  ‘We were an every-other-week publication, so by the time you got the news it was already old.”

By October, staffers decided it was time. “All of us had other things going on, we had been here quite a long time, and devoted everything,” he said, adding, “[it is] time to get fresher faces involved.”

So now, Gay People’s Chronicle is up for sale. For anyone interested in purchasing the paper, please call Dave Ebbert at 216-769-4528.

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 11

David Atlanta unveils new publication, Goliath Atlanta

by Chuck Colbert

Atlanta has a new LGBT publication, Goliath Atlanta Magazine, which co-publisher William Duffee-Braun called “the next chapter of gay Atlanta.”

Goliath Atlanta bills itself as “the ultimate creative cultural guide for the discerning gay man. Through its diverse blended journalism consisting of fashion, local interests, and must-attend gay event coverage, Goliath Atlanta is the leading publication for the modern gay Atlantan.”

Writing in the publishers’ notes section, co-publisher Duffee-Braun spoke of his experience leading up to founding Goliath Atlanta.

“Many years ago, when I first moved to Atlanta, I had a tough time figuring out how to become connected to the gay community,” he wrote. “I asked a few new friends for help and they steered me to David Magazine, Atlanta's gay scene bible. I used it for years to find out what events or parties were happening and where I needed to go to be in the mix.

“Eventually I found myself employed by David Atlanta as development director. One of my tasks is to take a hard look at our readership and make observations about what type of people pick up David and where they read the publication.

“What we've found is that while many readers begin to mature and may not frequent the scene as often, they continue to read the magazine. However, as the readers start to have a more complex life — marriage, children, home ownership — they start to desire more varied content than what David Atlanta has room to offer.

“Enter Goliath Atlanta, the monthly cultural magazine for you, the discerning adult gay man. Through our diverse blend of local interests, fashion, travel, health, and, yes, nightlife, we know you'll love this publication the same way you've loved David Atlanta for years.

“Each month we'll bring new and fresh editorial coverage for you, the modern gay man, which may or may not be limited to what's happening within our own community. You live a varied and diverse life, and our content will follow suit.

“And if you are new to Atlanta, consider Goliath to be just another part of your local gay magazine repertoire.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 11

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Windy City Times of Chicago

Interview with Publisher and Executive Editor Tracy Baim
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Chicago and its suburbs

Year founded: 1985

Physical dimensions of publication: 10.5” x 14”

Average page count: 32-40

Print run: 10,000 weekly

Web site: www.windycitymediagroup.com, average 115,000 unique monthly visitors

*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Windy City Times have been the most popular with readers?  

Baim: This varies a lot, but if a high-profile local LGBT person dies, we often are the only one to write a story about their passing, and those then receive extensive website views. It’s the same with other breaking news. But celebrity interviews, local and national, are also always popular.

PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it? 
Baim: Windy City Times was founded by former staff of GayLife newspaper in 1985. Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish and myself were the co-founders. I am not sure who came up with the name, but it was probably Jeff. He wanted something that did not have gay in the name. I was against this, but 30 years later the name has certainly stuck, and also it’s good it is not just “gay” something because of the “LGBTQ” we now use as a community.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome in the last 30 years?

Baim: It is always a struggle to get mainstream and even gay-owned businesses to see the value in LGBT media. We have some of the most loyal readers, but somehow, they continue to stereotype the market even though it is a proven entity. 
PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Windy City Times facing now?

Baim:  As the media world changes, we are constantly making sure to keep on top of new trends in publishing.
PPQ: How has the publication changed since it was first launched? 
Baim: We now have the web to break stories on a daily basis, and to fit far more content weekly than we can in the print edition. So the print edition has evolved to respond to the web, and the changing way the mainstream media covers the community.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 
Baim: If we had more financial resources, I would add more full-time reporters.
PPQ: What has been the biggest news story you've covered in the last 30 years?
Baim: There have really been too many to just say one. The overall 30-year coverage of AIDS in this community certainly is the most impactful series of stories. The Marches on Washington have been amazing to cover. Interviewing Barack Obama in 2004 when he was running for U.S. Senate is incredible to look back on, plus interviewing Mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s.
PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 [exclusively straight to totally gay], how gay is your publication? 
Baim: I would say we are a 5, because we definitely cover some straight entertainment and news.
PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist”? If so, in what way? 
Baim: I see every journalist as having a point of view, whether they admit it or not. My point of view is that LGBT is OK, but that there are both good and bad things within the LGBT community. I step away from being a journalist on big-picture issues because as a citizen I can’t just sit by and only be an observer. But that then also translates to me being able to do a better job as publisher, with expanded sources and connections.

PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader?

Baim: I hear from a lot of people who tell me that 20 or 30 years ago, when they were teenagers, they would sneak out to find a copy of Windy City Times, and how important it was in their early years. The fact that they remember those moments so long ago is very amazing to me. It motivates me for the youth of today.

PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?

Baim: Today is a very different world for all media. I can’t imagine starting a print publication today; it would have to be online only. But then, the revenues are very difficult to find online. So I am not sure it has ever been easy doing alternative media, so just dive right in and learn as you go!

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 17
Issue 11