The City Paper, a free daily in Nashville that has struggled for 7-1/2 years to make a profit, has been sold to a local company that plans to reduce its publication schedule to twice a week beginning April 28. Publisher Albie Del Favero and Editor Clint Brewer will continue to have the same jobs after the sale, and no layoffs were planned. The buyer, SouthComm Communications, also owns online business, music and news sites. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but the seller, Caterpillar machinery dealer De Thompson V, will join the board of directors of SouthComm and take a stake in the company, according to NashvillePost.com, a site owned by SouthComm.
SouthComm, headed by former Nashville council member and former local alt-weekly publisher Chris Ferrell, told the Nashville Business Journal he has been working on a new model for print and online media and the City Paper fits into his model. The model includes breaking news through e-mails and the Internet, while serving readers through less-regular print products.
Last November, Publisher Del Favero said in a press release about the purchase of a new software system that his paper was evolving from print to online: "We are a free daily in the mold of European commuter dailies, but since Nashvillians don’t typically commute via train or the bus, we distribute the paper in office buildings rather than commuter stations. Because of this, our readers are more likely to read The City Paper at their desks in the morning. And what we found was that increasingly more of them were actually reading the paper online. Because of this online readership growth and the expense of printing and delivering the paper each and every day, we are slowly evolving the paper from a print product to a primarily digital product."