Whoomp. there it is. Bankruptcy. The Loaf had once had vast profitability, both real and potential., for decades. It was the genuine alternative press for a large, hip and monied population that needed more than
Miss Ann's Coxtopus to inform them. The Gazette, Southline and Bird all died, leaving the Loaf the only game of alternative 411 in town. What the CL's gimlet-eyed bean counters do with the loot? They speculated in going into the hole to buy franchises around the country. The dollars that rolled in every week were dumped into a deep trench that did nothing but service a $40 million debt.
There was a golden age of the Loaf in Atlanta. During the 1970s and 80s, with very little money, the paper created a citywide buzz of excitement.
When the inevitable profits started to roll in, the witless Debbie-in-charge used the money to fund one ill-conceived money loser after another. After the palace coup of the Greedy Baby Easons,
Her feckless strategic management style continued with new and ever more capitalist swine ownership that had no more appreciation for city journalism than a sack of ferrets has for
the VisCalc codes of a Blueberry.The whole ghastly fandango leaves Atlanta with little more than text-messaging and smoke signals.
The Loaf's classified and display ad revenue should have gone into expanding the base line product for its most loyal audience, Atlantans. Someone in, oh, say 1980 should have said at a smokey, beery staff meeting: Spread the circulation; Hire the best damn writers and photo/artists available; Institute profit sharing among staff and local investors; Investigate the felonious city and
state governments; Win a Pulitzer or two; Keep the mission and output focused local, local, and LOCAL. That would have positioned the Loaf to be standing around with large bushel baskets when the gold coins began to rain down with the inevitable collapse of the AJC. Out here in Los Angeles, the edge of forever, we have the intensely local LA Weekly which runs around 90 pages a week and is a cash cow for its investors.
And let's not even get into putting some of the vast profits into design and administration of a news and entertainment website that would point the way for the New Journalism for a New Century.
So it is with the sadness of folding the flag into a blue and starry triangle that I hold my own funeral for the Loaf by deleting it from my favorite web sites.
The memories of those scraggly, dazed and brilliant alternative journalists and staffers who were Loafers from the Late Hippie to Dying Disco years will always be with me.
CL news editor 1975-76
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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