City Paper Shutting Down, Merging Operations with PW

City Paper's print operations will cease next week. The website will be folded into PW's site. Editor Stephen Segal is out at PW.

The Philadelphia alt-weekly wars are over.

Today Broad Street Media today announced it had acquired the rights to the City Paper intellectual property. As a result, City Paper will cease print publication on October 8th; its website will be merged into the operations of Philadelphia Weekly.

The Northeast Times, which Broad Street Media also owns, first reported the story. “Sev­er­al of the part­ners of Broad Street Me­dia are also part­ners in R.P.M. Philly, which owns Philly Weekly and South Philly Re­view,” Broad Street Media publisher Perry Cor­setti told the Times. “While we re­spect the his­tory Phil­adelphia has with City Pa­per, we have made a com­mit­ment to Philly Weekly that we in­tend to hon­or. It doesn’t make sense for us to com­pete with ourselves.” The paper reported that it’s expected that City Paper‘s operations will be consolidated and its best features will be be incorporated into PW.

In February, a group known as RPM Philly (with essentially the same ownership group as Broad Street Media) purchased PW and the South Philly Review from Review Publishing.

City Paper‘s editor, Lil Swanson, says, “We’re all in shock right now. We just worked 10 days straight so we could cover the pope.” PW‘s editor Stephen Segal tweeted today he was leaving. No other details have been released on the two papers’ futures.

The papers once had a similar focus, but they have diverged since the sale of PW to Broad Street Media in February. City Paper continued as a traditional alt-weekly with a strong news presence — its editor, Swanson, is a former Northeast Times editor — while PW turned more into an events-and-culture newspaper. It even ran a full-page cover ad for vaping (okay, vaping and concerts) in May.

(Disclosures: I worked for PW as its blogger for about three and a half years in the mid-2000s; I was an occasional contributor to City Paper from 2013-2014.)

According to the Times, PW’s circulation is 55,000, while the latest figure for City Paper lists a 50,000 circulation. PW is generally smaller, page-wise, but City Paper does not run full-page cover advertisements.

Bruce Schim­mel established City Paper in 1981. He sold it to the Rock Family in 1996, who then sold it to Metro’s owners in 2014.

“Philly Weekly and phil­adelphi­ have grown tremendously since we redesigned and revitalized them after tak­ing over in Feb­ru­ary,” Cor­setti told the Times. “We con­tin­ue to be the go-to source for the latest in food, arts, mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment in Phil­adelphia. We’re ex­cited to wel­come City Pa­per read­ers to Philly Weekly as we con­tin­ue to grow and im­prove the pub­lic­a­tion.”

Reaction to news of City Paper’s eminent demise was immediate:

This is a developing story.

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