Thursday, February 18, 2016

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

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