Parade Is Sold to Athlon Media

The first Sunday newspaper magazine will change ownership, relocate to Nashville and cut jobs.

By Steve Cohn

On Sept. 17, Athlon Media Group president and CEO Chuck Allen announced the acquisition of Sunday newspaper magazine Parade and the monthly epicurean-magazine Dash from the Newhouse family-owned Advance Publications. The sum was not disclosed.

Upon closing, Parade and Dash will relocate from New York to Athlon’s Nashville corporate headquarters. Neither the hierarchy led by five-year CEO Jack Haire and four-year editor-in-chief Maggie Murphy or most of the 85 staff members will remain with the magazines.

Since 1941, Parade has filled a void for newspapers (more than 700 at latest count) as their only Sunday magazines.  In a headier era, Parade would augment in-house publications from the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc.  But they were casualties of the downturn that accelerated during the 2008-2009 recession, which was compounded by the rise of digital media.

Diminished revenues are what led to the Parade and Dash sale to Athlon Media , which was a sports-magazine publisher before launching Athlon Sports in 2010.

In July 2013, Athlon took over the management of the American Profile, Relish and Spry Living print editions from Franklin, Tenn.-based Publishing Group of America Media.  They are also distributed through newspapers, but differ from Parade and Dash, mostly serving small, C- and D-county markets.

At 12 years old,  American Profile, with a 9.3 million circulationis the oldest of the three and the only weekly.

Parade‘s influence has long been renowned, as many  star were born on the pages of the magazine, which reaches 32 million. Popular features include What People Earn every spring and college football’s all-America team in the fall. Between 1983 and 2009, the magazine raised millions of dollars for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon by putting Lewis and–typically–a dystrophic child on the cover on the Sunday before the Labor Day telecast.

Dash, with a circulation of 8.8 million (in 150-plus newspapers), has served as a content extension for Condé Nast magazines, most notably Bon Appétit and That separates Dash from the 15 million circulation/1,000-plus newspaper-distributed Relish, and one would expect the CN relationship to continue.

Parade has been owned by Advance since 1976.  The New York Herald Tribune publisher John Hay ("Jock") Whitney was a previous owner.


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