Friday, September 30, 2011

"Gay Chicago" Goes Web-Only

Some sad news from Gay Chicago Magazine:

Effective today, Gay Chicago will cease publication of its print newspaper. Gay Chicago will continue, however, to produce an online news and entertainment.

Gay Chicago Magazine was founded in 1976 by Ralph Paul Gernhardt, who passed away in 2006. “It is with great sadness that we have come to this point in our publication’s history,” said Craig Gernhardt, the publication's publisher.

For many years, Gay Chicago was the only openly gay publication in Illinois and one of a few openly gay publications in the North America.

Gay Chicago was started at a time when routine arrests of gay people were common place and where no laws existed prohibiting discrimination on the basis of LGBT status.

“My dad did an incredibly brave thing by putting out a gay magazine. He did this despite the risks he faced and provided a sense of community for many LGBT people in the state of Illinois when no one else would.”

Mr. Gernhardt, who passed away in 2006, was inducted into Chicago’s Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2004. Gay Chicago Magazine was inducted into the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1991.

In April 2011, Gay Chicago hit a milestone with its 35th anniversary.

“Continuing print operations became more and more difficult in the past few years with dwindling ad revenues and rising print and operating costs. We just can’t sustain our old model anymore,” said Gernhardt. “It’s time to turn toward a new direction.” And that's the internet.

"Gay Chicago will continue to serve as a dynamic news, information, and lifestyle portal for Chicago’s LGBT community. Gay Chicago plans to continue serving as a consistent voice for the LGBT community," said Gernhardt.


  1. A lot of publications face this. There was talk ages ago (years before the iPad) that large newspaper companies were going to give away Kindles, free, with newspaper subscriptions. Just like a free phone with a 2 yr cell phone contract. This Kindle idea was to cut costs and keep those agencies alive. But American's were not ready for that innovation so the idea drifted until the release of the iPad. Now more than ever we need to cross that threshold and move into a digital age where we can buy magazines/newspapers on our "tablets" and read them instantly.

  2. There's more to this story than meets the eye: competition from GRAB & Boi mags (GRAB being operated by a former Gay Chicago biz-partner), the collapse of ChicagoFreePress and the subsequent hiring much of their editorial staff by Gay Chicago.

    Gay Chicago is going through this transition not because the market has destroyed its print viability, but because of other business relationships and straying from its niche.

    Its future viability is tenuous at best.

  3. Just to mention it, panhandlers often try to sell the freebie newspapers like this to tourists, when I first moved to Chicago a wild-eyed guy shoved a copy of the Onion in my hand, and then asked for a dollar.
    I gave it back to him.