The Onion A.V. Club’s Denver/Boulder office to shut down in JuneBy John Wenzel | May 9th, 2012 | 4 comments
The hostile publishing climate has claimed another victim, Reverb learned today. The Denver/Boulder office of The A.V. Club, The Onion’s long-running culture and entertainment section, will close next month, according to editor Cory Casciato.
“The reason why, as far as I understand, is it’s just a cost-cutting measure,” he told Reverb over the phone this afternoon. “It had nothing to do with quality.”
The Onion, a satirical print weekly and pioneering website founded in Madison, Wis., has long struggled to make its satellite A.V. Club offices profitable. A centralized hub in Chicago generates syndicated content, which is then bought and published by local offices, but expansions in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Philadelphia closed almost as quickly as they opened. Other closures in recent years include Austin, Texas, and New York City.
Local editor Casciato will be laid off and his freelance staff of 4-5 core writers and another 8-10 occasional contributors will be let go. Currently, the Denver/Boulder A.V. Club covers, music, food, sports and other culture and entertainment along the Front Range. Contributors include Matt Schild (a former Reverb contributor), Kathleen St. John (full disclosure: my wife, and a Denver Post freelancer), Matt Pusatory, Tuyet Nguyen and others.
The Denver Post sells print and online advertising for the local A.V. Club and publishes and distributes it locally. The print edition will continue its weekly schedule after next month’s local A.V. Club closure — although without any local content other than Colorado-based advertisers.
Casciato said he got the official word last night, though he suspected he’d need an exit strategy before that.
“The (national A.V. Club in Chicago) spent a day trying to find out if there was some way they could salvage it,” said Casciato, technically a contractor for the A.V. Club. “I haven’t had a chance to look for anything. I told my wife last night and the first thing I did this morning when I got up after coffee was e-mail the Westword and be like, “Hey… remember how I used to be there?” So there’s a very good chance I could be working in a freelance capacity for them.”
Casciato is the only employee in the local A.V. Club office on the content side. He said he’s not privy to figures from any cost-saving measures in which this closure will result.
“We’re still profitable, it’s just looking for expense reductions, really,” said Denver/Boulder Onion sales manager Chris Anderson, who took the job about a year ago.
Anderson, who has also been a sales rep at The Denver Post for the past four years, declined to comment on any figures but said the situation would be much clearer early next week.
The office will cease operations no sooner than June 7 and no later than June 30, according to an e-mail Casciato sent to his freelance staff this afternoon.