Weekly ‘Toledo Free Press’ to Go Head-to-Head With Sunday ‘Blade’

By: E&P Staff

Beginning Jan. 28, the Toledo (Ohio) Free Press, a free weekly, will compete head-to-head with the Sunday edition of the daily Toledo Blade, the paper announced Wednesday.

The Free Press, a general-interest paper, said it is moving its publication day from Wednesday to a Saturday/Sunday edition — and will increase its distribution to 150,000 copies.

Most of that run — 135,000 copies — will be delivered to single-family homes in the Free Press distribution area of Lucas County, northern Wood County, and southern Monroe County in an arrangement with Targeted Distribution Services.

In an article in its Wednesday paper by metro reporter Justin R. Kalmes, the Free Press said that inside its distribution area it will “distribute more copies than any other paper in northwestern Ohio.” The area’s biggest daily, the Block family-owned Toledo Blade has a Sunday circulation of 167,686, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations report.

Publisher Thomas Pound said the paper, which launched in 2005, is operating ahead of plan. “Our five-year plan was to get to 50,000 [copies],” he told the paper, “and here we are two years later going to 150,000.”

John K. Hartman, a journalism professor at Central Michigan University who on occasion has written commentary for the Free Press, said the paper has done a good job of introducing itself into the marketplace, but needed to step up against the Blade.

“I think they kind of reached a plateau,” he told E&P. “When you’re going up again the Blade … eventually you have to compete head-to-head with them, and I think that’s what they’re trying to do with this move.”

Hartman said he estimates the paper is “taking a $1 million to a $1.2 million out of the market right now, which for a publication that doesn’t have a niche … like an alternative paper (does) is pretty good.”

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