Just a month after the Washington Blade celebrated its 40th anniversary, the well-respected gay newspaper has closed its doors. Window Media, the publishing company that owns the Blade and five other gay publications in Atlanta, Houston, South Florida and the defunct Genre, has reportedly closed down.E
Employees coming to work today were met with locked doors and a sign that read,
“It is with GREAT regret that we must inform you that effective immediately, the operations of Window Media, LLC and Unite Media, LLC have closed down.
Please return to this office on WEDNESDAY, November 18th, 2009 at 11:00 AM to collect personal belongings and to receive information on your separation stipulations. Please bring boxes and/or containers that will allow you to collect all your personal belongings at one time.
In February, the Small Business Administration put the company’s major stakeholder, Avalon Equity Partners, into receivership for failure to show private investments totaling half of the SBA’s $38 million loan to the firm. Several media outlets reported the probablity of Window’s demise as early as July 31 after Window CEO David Unger resigned amid speculation that he was forced out by the SBA. An effort to sell the publications failed earlier this year.
Founded in 1997, Window Media had wanted to build a nationwide chain of gay publications aroud the country. The company claimed a combined weekly readership of nearly 400,000 and that it was the nation’s largest gay newspaper group.
Window Media was still publishing The Washington Blade, David Magazine, the Southern Voice, South Florida Blade, 411 Magazine and the Houston Voice. The New York Blade, at one time owned by Window, was sold in 2007 and ceased publication in July. Genre Magazine suspended publication earlier this year.
QSaltLake publisher Michael Aaron was saddened by the news.
“We have been watching the story unfold all year,” he said. “Washington Blade was the grandfather of all gay publications and one which we admired. Publishing just a few months after the Stonewall uprising, it was a stalwart in even the most difficult periods of our movement.”
“Window Media had a good plan behind it, strengthening all of its publications with a strong corporate backbone,” he continued. “But the economy and the changing news market thwarted and, eventually, killed their efforts.”
“QSaltLake has maintained a managed and steady growth since we started publishing in 2004,” Aaron explained. “We have kept our overhead costs to a minimum while maintaining a compelling, readable and well-received product. At this time in our community’s struggle we find it important to be a voice for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Utah.”