Gay Media Deathwatch: New York Blade Shuts Down


We’d call it “surprising news,” but it isn’t: The New York Blade has shut down. With a circulation of just 22,000, the Blade has been published by Matthew Bank’s HX Media, which itself has been plagued with rumors of trouble. The firm just sold the gay bar weekly guide HX. And now, the Blade goes under. And since part of the Blade is owned by David Unger’s Avalon Equity, the rumor mill will continue to swirl, given our report that Unger was fired from Avalon (or was it a “resignation”?). There will be more news like this to come, as the suffering advertising industry becomes unable to support small-circ niche publications.

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  • GinGin

    According to DC mag MetroWeekly, an audit revealed that The New York Blade was at around 16,000 circulation, “yet it remains on the ‘Publications’ list of Window-Media’s website with a claim of 52 pages and 100,000 readers.”

    So, wow, either Window Media took a publication from 100,000 circulation to 16,000, a stratospheric plummet, or they were lying about the 100,000 circ.

    If the former is true, management was inept well beyond any economic challenges. If the latter is true, were the inflated numbers used in seeking advertising? If so, could that constitute fraud or other unethical business practices? Perhaps advertisers should explore their refund and/or legal options. And with the State Attorney General’s office as well. And all backed by the SBA? Very serious questions here, that go way, way beyond current economic pressures.…

  • Carlos

    Their corporate site is *way* out of date based on the content, so who knows when those figures are from. Also, circulation and readership are two different metrics, referring to the actual number of copies printed vs. the total number of readers, respectively. In our household, for example, my partner and I both read the same physical copy (circulation) but there are two of us (readership.) In public places the numbers are higher, and individuals lower. There’s nothing fraudulent with these numbers, it’s the way the industry works.

  • GinGin

    If you’re suggesting they could rightly claim each copy is passed on and read by up to eight persons, I’m not buying it. Let’s assume their circulation was double what it is today, wouldn’t that mean they were still assuming each and every single copy of the NY Blade was passed on and read by at least three more people?

    I’ve heard of torturing numbers until they tell you what you want to hear, but this is absurd and completely raises question of fraudulent calculations for the purposes of luring businesses (many of them were small local places) into parting with their hard-earned cash.

  • Carlos

    @GinGin: Like I said earlier, it’s clear from the content of the site that it hasn’t been updated in a long time. It still shows the New York Blade as being owned by Window Media, for example, yet they sold it to HX Media in 2007. There’s nothing fraudulent in having an out of date website.

    No one uses website numbers to make advertising choices, they use the numbers from certified auditing bureaus. I just looked up The New York Blade and found it’s numbers at

    What’s the point of harking on old numbers on the newspaper’s prior owners out-of-date website? The answer is: there is no point. Print publication circulation numbers are plummeting around the globe as people get more and more of their news from online sources.

  • QueerNSmart

    Hey Queerty. More than your queer agenda is showing. SO is your blog agenda. Death of gay press? I always read that niche pubs are in the best shape ad-wise. Did you see the Gay City News pride issue? DId you see that truck they ran down Fifth Ave. Looked like they were throwing the parade. Ever since I came to New York couldn’t figure out how the Blade survived. Gay CIty kicked their butt week in and week out. I think this is all due to the good taste of New YOrkers, and I’m glad to be one.

  • GinGin

    Carlos: BULL. The NY Blade was using these questionable numbers directly in their marketing kit, to seek advertisers. The online versions can be accessed through InternetArchive, and show they were claiming “more than 100,000 readers with each and every issue,” “more than 52 pages per issue” and distribution at “900 locations throughout the five boroughs and New Jersey,” every single year, from 2003 clear through 2008: Window Media, Blade-HX, Unite Media, whatever card in the curious house of them Unger built.

    These weren’t “old numbers” at all. And, what’s the point? It’s another revealing tidbit in the questionable operation that was Window Media, and the Blades. A house of lies from day one, and well here we are. So stop claiming they are victims of present economic circumstances. They bought these papers in a dumb debt play, and mismanaged them to this sorry end of the tale.

  • Barbara

    How sad. Another voice of our community has gone quiet as a result of Matthew Bank and David Unger from Avalon Equity. If there had not been so much bad management on the part of Avalon Equity and David Unger the SBA might not have had to come in and twist their arms to sell. I wish all the kids that lost their jobs down in NYC good luck in future endeavors and just go forward knowing how luck you are not to be working for Matthew Bank and David Unger. What is up for the Washington Blade and South Florida Blade. Blades dead? The NY Blade ROCKED!

  • Carlos

    @GinGin: It’s pretty clear you’re bitter about something. That’s a whole lot of hate.

  • JJ

    Carlo: had you been as intimate as Gin Gin obviously was with this group you would not bring up the “bitter” thing. It is so warranted to be disappointed with Matthew Bank, his drug sniffing troll BF and David Unger. They were absolutely horrible people who plagued our community. We are sorry that the magazine is gone, but if you had to work in that office for any length of time, you would have understood Gin Gin’s passion.

  • Carlos

    David Unger was the kind of gay media and it is sad that all the money he put into the lousy industry did not make him money. You do the math, the biggest investment of personal wealth into the gay space, did not pay off, you’d be angry too.

  • GinGin

    Oh, yes, Carlos, poor David Unger.

    At the risk of having you pivot back to a personal attack in response to facts, I’ll remind you that serious managerial issues arose from the outset of Unger’s “investment.” If you knew at all what you were talking about, you’d express some sympathy for unpaid workers, lapses in health care payments, default on the bank loan, default on payments to the people from whom they’d bought the papers–the men who’d actually worked themselves to exhaustion to build these community papers. You’d express some sympathy for the cities that lost gay papers because the managers felt it more important to acquire a gay in flight mag, or to shore up a glossy bar rag.

    I say this with proud righteous bitterness: you’re a giant douchebag with your oddly placed sympathies.

  • Carlos

    Gin Gin: I was one of those advertisers who did not get paid by Unger, who dated a guy who had Unger take his health care payments for himself and not pay, who opted to take a vacation to China while his managerial team could not pay printers, landlords or employees — and could not care less. As for cities that lost gay papers, I am waiting for our to go away because of what David Unger from Avalon Equity did to our city. Chris Crain was a rock in the DC community when David Unger insisted that he get fired. David Unger and his greed was the downfall for the entire gay media industry — in my humble opinion.

  • Carlos

    For the record, the Carlos under posts #11 and posts #13 are some other Carlos or someone trying to pass themselves off as me. I only posted #3 #5 and #9. Silly games.

    @jj: I’m the freelance contractor who’s responsible for building out the systems behind the relaunched and websites.

    It’s been frustratingly slow to get paid, but a lot of clients have been that way over the years. My response has generally been “how can I help?” Apparently I didn’t help enough, heh. Getting mad over it, what’s the point, it’s not personal. It’s not like I imagine Matthew at his desk, wringing his hands, thinking of ways to stiff me. I think the fear of, oh I don’t know, maybe all the vowels disappearing from his site may have helped :)

    We’re don’t mingle on the outside, but I have a business friendship with Matthew that I’ve enjoyed for a year and a half now. Friendly, professional, smart, and knows how to attract talented people. Who knows if I’ll ever get paid the balance I’m still owed, but I’ll do business with him if the opportunity arises. Maybe I’ll negotiate a retainer next time though :)

    Oh and name calling like “his drug sniffing troll BF” is for 15 year olds. You’re not 15, are you?

  • Dusty

    Didn’t David Unger fire Andy?

  • Its About Time

    Only at HX or NY Blade can you preform your duties hit your goals
    and get rewarded by getting FIRED. we can only hope that
    Banks and Unger get what they deserve. what goes around comes around.
    I hope they both rot in HELL

  • Mark

    David Unger is a loser! The truth will come out and he will do jail time right next to Madoff.

  • Furonda Brown

    @Mark: But who will be bringing the charges against him? And what will those charges be? Not trying to be on the offensive, but when you say these things, I want to know what hte scoop it. I’m a naughty gossip girl that way. I’m just waiting for the HX Media shareholders to band together to order an audit so they can see how much was skimmed out of the business and into the pockets of Matthew Bank to keep him in the lifestyle that he became well accustomed to living.

  • Mark Cahill

    Let’s hope “The Voice” in Dallas is next. It is pathetic.

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