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FIRE SALE: Is David Unger Unloading All of Window Media?

kapferunger

It was only March that Genre magazine folded. Is David Unger’s entire gay media stable next?

We’re hearing from a source who delivered accurate information in the past — that Unger’s camp initially disputed but turned out to be true — that some 30 companies and individuals have been sent query letters to see if they’re interested in buying all of Window Media or pieces of it. What’s under that umbrella these days?

Last we checked: The Washington Blade, The Southern Voice, Express Gay News, David, Houston Voice, The New York Blade, 411 Magazine, and a minority stake in HX.

There’s a two-week timeframe for bidders, we’re told. The news follows previous reports of a cash crunch at the company and major departures, all of which Queerty was the first to tell you about, including how Unger (pictured, right, with former Genre publisher Bill Kapfer) was facing questions from the U.S. Department of Labor and how his Avalon Equity Fund being placed into receivership for failing to meet the Small Business Association’s loan requirements.

If you know more, tell us. But we’re hearing Regent Media (newish owner of Out and the Advocate) has expressed some interest.

By:           editor editor
On:           May 21, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • 33 Comments
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      My gawd, how much more of our “gay media” will go bye-bye? Well, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised… So much of the overall print media has died.

      May 21, 2009 at 11:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      The Houston Voice is beyond pitiful these days – worthless.

      May 22, 2009 at 6:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      I can’t fault David as much as others would like to. He made some bad decisions. Genre was a loser with Richard Settles ran it, I can only imagine he must have cooked the books to make it look appealing for purchase. The New York Press was always an also ran to the Village Voice. And he let Matthew Bank eviscerate the New York Blade. But he also bought print publications at exactly the wrong moment in history, as did a lot of other wealthy investors at the time. He can’t be blamed for that. And he installed good editors — Kevin Naff at the Washington Blade, Steven Weinstein at the New York Blade and some others.

      May 22, 2009 at 9:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GinGin
      GinGin

      “he also bought print publications at exactly the wrong moment in history, as did a lot of other wealthy investors at the time. He can’t be blamed for that.”

      Yes, he (and they) can. And also for the manner in which they managed these important community properties, from day one:

      http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=23570

      May 22, 2009 at 10:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • adamall
      adamall

      It would be a tragedy to lose the Washington Blade, which is one of the community’s most important newspapers.

      May 22, 2009 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Good lord
      Good lord

      If one reads between the lines in the latest PlanetOut SEC filing, Regent is running short of cash for their purchase of PlanetOut, and instead is ponying up the proceeds from their most promising film to be released this year. Times are tough all over.

      May 22, 2009 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stamp
      Stamp

      Isn’t this the same David Unger who fired a certain editor at the time of purchase, who has gone on to a very successful career? Isn’t this the same David Unger who hired as a replacement an editor who was clueless and left a month later and a publisher who was later caught embezzling—yep, this sounds like a man who has made all the right decisions.

      May 22, 2009 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frieda Fabulous
      Frieda Fabulous

      Ahem, check your facts HX is not owned by Window Media. Window Media is a minority share holder in the company. If anything their SHARE in HX is up for sale – NOT the company.

      May 22, 2009 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dane Avery
      Dane Avery

      After the fine job they did with Bostons IN NEWSWEEKLY, they still don’t have a clue.

      May 22, 2009 at 12:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell
      Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

      @Brian: The NYBlade is so pathetic you almost have to remind people it actually exists.

      Things are terrible everywhere. It’s almost as if everything, regardless of sexual orientation, has lost it’s way.

      May 25, 2009 at 6:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Needin Pageviews
      Needin Pageviews

      You keep saying “news” in your article… You apparently have nooo idea what the term “news” means. lol. Have you SEEN this “query letter” that you mention in your “article?” Of course not. This is because it is simply gossip coming from you rather than any legitimate source. Seriously, news? No, it’s called gay gossip.

      May 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Thank god there are still companies like Hotspots Magagazine of Florida. They have been in business almost 25 years now and still going strong. Cheers to the staff of Hotspots.

      May 26, 2009 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SoFLo
      SoFLo

      We love Hot Spots!!! It is the best source in South Florida – thank God Unger did not get his fat fingers on that market. He almost had it and it slipped out of his dirty hands.

      May 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Hot Spots serves a purpose in the community. 411 has more substance. Allegedly Unger is making available individual titles and is breaking up the company for the highest bidder, It make sense that Hots Spots would buy 411 and make a mega-magazines for the Fort Lauderdale community. The Advocate should buy the Blade in DC and the others should simply close. Sounds like a clean solution.

      May 27, 2009 at 8:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Citizenship
      Citizenship

      Windowmedia got a bum deal. David Unger has put more money into gay media than any other individual in the US. He has invested his entire life in the gay space as a way of creating a legacy to the community. Just because he hires editors that like to spend too much money and that do not understand that editorial is just as important to the budget as the product they are putting out, does not translate clearly into blaming the business side individuals that funded the great publications. Leave David Unger alone and go focus on Paul Colichman or JR Pratts at Instinct or Joe Landry at OUT Magazine or even Chris Crane. They have just as many problems. Print is dying and for some unknown reason David Unger is the only one taking all the blame.

      May 27, 2009 at 8:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      @Citizenship: “Just because he hires editors that like to spend too much money and that do not understand that editorial is just as important to the budget as the product they are putting out.”

      I defended David, but that remark comes from someone who has never seen the kinds of budgets Window editors have to work with! I know people who work and have worked there, and they have pennies to spend and skeleton staffs.

      May 27, 2009 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Citizenship
      Citizenship

      @HARDMANNYC: All editors work on tight budgets, the Window teams have always felt that hiring freelancers on top of their paid staff was regular practice. They have always been the last to want to give an inch when the company-wide cutbacks had to go into place. The editors are truly the cause of the problems, not David Unger.

      May 27, 2009 at 9:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RockStarNY
      RockStarNY

      Who cares about the editors the problem is Unger himself. When I went over to the HX office last year to be included in their 100 issue the one with the 100 most popular and visible personalities and promoters in the city David Unger insisted on sitting on the couch in the lobby right in the middle of all of us. Even when the photographer came down to give us direction he would not move and acted as if he should be on the cover. His problem is that he took his eyes off of the money piece of HX and Window and wanted to be part of everything. The guys from HX I asked said that they cannot get rid of him and that he acted more like an employee of the magazine than the boss. Equity companies invest in companies they don’t run them. Unger wanted to have and eat his cake – and he sure can eat it. The community would be so disappointed if HX was closed and there are many leaders who would step up to the plate and keep it alive if asked. HX is a great investment and once the investors that do not know how to run gay pubs are taken out of the mix it can go back to community that it belongs. Matthew Bank was a visionary when he created the bar guide. He should be the one that we should be celebrating.

      May 27, 2009 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellsKitchen
      HellsKitchen

      Express Gay News was renamed South Florida Blade last year. Queerty needs to get on the ball. How about the other people who built HX? It was not just Matthew Bank but Gary Lacinski and Laurie Goldstein (who got muscled out of a job by Unger) and other who put their own money into the mag over the years. Not cool. HX was a quality magazine that was made sour by bad leadership.

      May 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake

      David Unger is not a nice human.

      May 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mi opinion
      mi opinion

      I think within the year we are going to see nearly every gay publication online. Everything is heading in that direction and the longer they (the mags) resist the more money they foolishly burn through.

      HP has teamed up with AT&T and now offer a VERY NICE netbook for $199. You can’t beat that AT THIS TIME. By the end of June expect top of the line netbooks to hit an average of $200-$250 with webcams and all. By christmas what you paid $200 for will be $150.

      Times are hard. The NYTimes have mortgage their sparkling new tower in mid-town Manhattan. The editorial staff at the NYDaily news is so demoralized there are typos galore in their online articles one can only wonder if the people down there understand basic english sentence structuring.

      HX is history folks. Practically no one is reading the hard copy of the Washington Blade. Why the NYBlade even exists is a big question to me. There are practically NO advertisements in it at all. I think they will be gone by Oct. HX and the NYBlade are not going to last out the year.

      May 28, 2009 at 8:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RU4Real
      RU4Real

      The South Florida Blade has just gone south like all these other publications. It´s been worse than ever since a former reality TV “star” got the editor´s job last year. While dozens of serious journalists remain unemployed in the South Florida Area, this guy and his lack of experience put the nail on the renamed Blade´s coffin. One of the paper´s last and best reporters finally quit a few months ago in disgust and moved to New York. Fawning articles, lack of hard-hitting news and comments about the editor´s romantic life a serious paper do not make. The “newsroom” there is nothing more than a “drama room”, and the readers are worse off because of that. So symptomatic of gay media.

      May 28, 2009 at 11:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lisa Lipshitski
      Lisa Lipshitski

      Touche’

      May 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdempsey
      tdempsey

      @RU4Real:

      I couldn’t agree more with the South Florida disaster mentioned earlier. It looks like they were trying to kill that paper with the hiring of the new editor.

      We still need the Blades (not the South Florida one) because of the good work they do and hopefully someone effective will buy Southern Voice and Washington Blade.

      May 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      Why is our entire LGBT media system going in the drain because one guy, David Unger?

      May 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdempsey
      tdempsey

      @Jason:

      One word – consolidation!

      Local LGBT papers should stay just that – local!

      When Windows Media bought so many publications at one time my soul shuddered. And then we got scantily clad boys in bathing suits and the same story in every paper – all for economies of scale. Then Windows became a victim.

      Well, local is local. LGBT papers should concentrate on their local communities and businesses. The supposed jackpot was never realized when consolidating.

      All is not lost – the current structure will fall and I see others filling the void. After all, Southern Voice started as a protest letter and history proves media can grow when needed. Also, the “new media” will make it easier to fill that void – and I see it happening everyday.

      So, not to worry. LGBT Media is dead – long live the “new” LGBT Media (and websites).

      May 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith
      Keith

      There are people at the Window Media publications that have devoted their lives to bringing us GLBT news and entertainment. Some of the best in the business..
      the only thing that postings like this do is put their jobs in jeopardy…
      Get the facts people, the REAL facts… these companies aren’t going to go away, yes they may end up with new owners, but the communities they serve need these publications

      May 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdempsey
      tdempsey

      @Keith: I agree there are very good people at Windows and I know many. It is too bad they are becoming victims and I expect the good people to rise to the top and survive. We are only seeing the beginning of the meltdown – and it will not be pretty.

      May 30, 2009 at 1:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MassEdge35
      MassEdge35

      I find it amazing that Regent is possibly even thinking about buying this company (or parts of it). They are trying to turn around two print brands that have been losing a ton of money for years. Given what I have received in terms of direct mail offers, they don’t know what they are doing. Why aren’t they offering a premium with a paid subscription? That’s publishing 101. Given the economic climate, and the publishing industry in general, my guess is that Window Media will be sold in pieces or will simply fold. Unless they have a solid online presence, one that commands significant traffic across all titles, and just use the print properties as extension of their brands, why would anyone pony up 10 cents for these titles?

      May 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellsKitchen
      HellsKitchen [Different person #1 using similar name]

      David Unger worked hard to do what he could for Gay Media. It is not David Unger’s fault that he did not have experience in magazines and felt that his cable experiences would translated to print media. The real victims in David Unger’s life are the hardworking journalists who gave it their all and had an unexperienced banker at the helm, making editorial decisions based on David Unger’s wallet. We lost many journalist during the David Unger period of Gay Media and can only hope that we can recover.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 8:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      It’s sad to know that South Florida will not have any credible publication for news.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      @David: HotSpots Magazine shouldn’t spend a dime on 411. They already have the advertisers. What would be the benifit of buying The 411?

      Jul 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Anyone who’s ever worked for Window Media, writers, editors, office staff, can tell you that they treat their employees like dirt, which they justify by babbling about “homophobia”.
      They lie constantly.

      This company is a bird’s eye view of what’s gone wrong with much of the gay community.
      We’d all be a lot better off if companies like this go under, which might open the door for reputable companies to replace them.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 10:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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