Toledo Free Press moving to Sundays, boosts circ to 150,000Written by Justin R. Kalmes | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Free Press announced Dec. 19 the free weekly newspaper will change its distribution day and increase circulation beginning the final weekend in January.
Starting Jan. 28, Toledo Free Press will change its distribution day from Wednesday to a Saturday/Sunday edition. The newspaper, which is in its second year of existence, will publish 150,000 copies each week.
The move will give Toledo Free Press more copies in its distribution area than any newspaper in Northwest Ohio. The bulk of the newspaper’s weekly copies will be distributed to single-family homes in Lucas County, northern Wood County and southern Monroe County.
“We’re going to spread our glass-half-full approach to the entire area,” said Thomas F. Pounds, Toledo Free Press president and publisher. “[Toledo] has a self esteem problem, and we want to help counter it.”
To distribute the publication, Toledo Free Press has formed a partnership with Targeted Distribution Services, which will deliver 135,000 copies of the newspaper to single-family homes within its distribution area. Fifteen thousand copies of the publication will still be available for pickup in more than 500 locations.
Craig Bourne, TDS director of operations, said his company breaks its carrier routes into specific census blocks to offer advertisers a better opportunity to deliver their products.
“It’s going to give advertisers a nice option to have their products distributed,” Bourne said.
Carriers will distribute the newspaper by placing it in plastic bags containing advertisement inserts and hanging the bags on doorknobs or mailbox posts, Bourne said.
“It’s going to be a nice, clean delivery,” he said.
Pounds said the partnership with TDS will accommodate the newspaper’s growing list of advertisers and readers.
The paper’s expansion, Pounds said, came quicker than he initially expected when he founded the paper in 2005.
“Our five-year plan was to get to 50,000 [copies],” he said, “and here we are two years later going to 150,000.”
Michael S. Miller, the newspaper’s editor in chief, said the editorial mission will remain consistent.
“The new day gives us some expanded opportunities for previewing governmental meetings, but the bulk of our coverage will not be affected by the change,” he said.
John K. Hartman, a journalism professor at Central Michigan University and newspaper industry commentator, said the expansion should have an “interesting” impact on the local media market.
“I think there’s certainly room for two weekend papers in the market and competition, generally speaking, is good,” Hartman said. “It may make Toledo a major laboratory in the newspaper business.”
Many trade experts, Hartman said, believe free publications are the future of the newspaper industry. He compared Toledo Free Press to other free newspapers such as The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Examiner, which focus on community news and are geared toward an adult audience.
“This is a very unique undertaking,” Hartman said. “This will really put Toledo on the map at the forefront of the newspaper and communication industry.”