Owners Clancy and Margo DuBos hope to sell the paper.
After a two-year run in Louisiana’s capital city, Gambit Weekly Baton Rouge is taking a rest. The 25,000-circulation alternative published its final issue under owners Clancy and Margo DuBos on March 29, and publication will remain suspended until the paper is sold.
The DuBoses also own AAN member-paper Gambit Weekly in New Orleans.
According to Clancy DuBos, the decision to suspend publication comes despite a dearth of competition and Baton Rouge’s status as one of fastest-growing markets in Louisiana.
DuBos feels the paper did a good job of addressing issues that dog most start-ups — distribution, deadlines, editorial quality — but failed to “get the response from advertisers,” he said.
Selling the publication to a local buyer will give the paper the connections in the community it needs, he added.
“Baton Rouge has a lot of small-town qualities about it,” he said. “It’s not an easy town to break into.”
According to DuBos, there are four prospective buyers. In addition to the fixed assets that would be transferred in a sale, the DuBoses are willing to allow the new owners to continue to publish under the Gambit Weekly name.
“We have not closed the paper or the company,” DuBos stressed. “We anticipate a sale and are in discussions with several prospective buyers right now.”
The DuBoses are seeking an undisclosed and undecided amount for the publication. “We’re leaving that open,” he said.
But, with considerable assets in place, name included, DuBos said, “we’ve given it a good base.”
Mukul Verma, editor of the Baton Rouge weekly, described a town ripe for an alternative weekly. With a metropolitan population of 550,000, and the 80th largest radio and TV market in the country, Baton Rouge has a large college population, and no weekly after Gambit Weekly closes, he said.
“There is no other weekly, [there are] a lot of other small papers, but nothing really competing directly with us,” Verma said of the paper’s position.
The Baton Rouge paper had 13 full-time employees, half of whom have been offered jobs at Gambit Weekly in New Orleans, according to a company statement.
Gambit Weekly Baton Rouge was published by a corporation of the same name, while the New Orleans paper is published by Gambit Communications. Both are owned solely by the DuBoses.
“We want to stress that each paper has a separate, and completely independent corporate identity,” said Margo DuBos, in a company statement. “Gambit Weekly in New Orleans remains one of the most successful alternative weeklies of its size in the country.”
The decision to withdraw from Baton Rouge will allow Gambit Communications to focus all of its attention on projects in New Orleans, she added.
Gambit Communications, Inc. also publishes The Best of New Orleans, a slick monthly guide for tourists, and thebestofneworleans.com.