Despite firm assurances that the Daily Sound would be back in its racks this Friday after money problems forced it to stop printing last week, owner and publisher Jeramy Gordon said Thursday that the five-times-a-week free newspaper has in fact suspended print publication indefinitely.
“The Daily Sound is currently in a state of re-organization,” Gordon said in an email to The Santa Barbara Independent, explaining the paper will now focus exclusively on its website, thedailysound.com. The decision wasn’t an easy one, he went on, and was brought about by “financial and contract reasons.” Gordon said ad sales this year had been steady but cash flow became clogged. He didn’t rule out the possibility that the Sound might someday soon find itself back on newsstands.
After just a year in business the Montecito Messenger, on the other hand, completely folded this Wednesday, July 4. “The Montecito Messenger will be closed permanently,” Gordon wrote in the same email. “The online site will be redirected to thedailysound.com where we will continue regular news coverage.”
Gordon launched the Montecito Messenger in June 2011 with documentary filmmaker Sam Tyler and former Montecito Journal writer Judy Forman. Though the weekly publication started off strong, reports soon surfaced that writers weren’t receiving promised payment, their bylines quickly disappearing from the paper’s pages.
The Daily Sound has been beset by somewhat similar money problems — an outstanding business loan to Montecito Bank & Trust, past and current employees not getting paid, and public requests for donations. At least a couple of the former employees, however, were recently made whole, and “advertisers have been surprisingly supportive” of the decision to go web-only, said Gordon. “They are just as optimistic and I [sic] that we will come back stronger and better than before.”
The first issue of the Daily Sound came out in March 2006, just months before the infamous Santa Barbara News-Press meltdown. It initially operated out of a small office on the Mesa and employed Charles Swegles to sell advertisements and current Independent staffer Chris Meagher to write news stories. Months later, Colby Frazier, a former News-Press reporter, was added to the roster, as were other sales associates. On its one-year anniversary, the Daily Sound distributed a 36-page edition, the largest paper it would ever print.
When news broke last week that the Daily Sound was in serious financial trouble, some speculated the problem lay in an alleged $200,000 contract dispute between the paper and its printer, Western Web Printing in Goleta. Gordon, however, said no such disagreement exists; a Western Web manager concurred.
As for the Sound‘s online-only presence, Gordon said readers won’t notice a difference in content as staffing will remain the same and its slate of columnists will keep active. He also promised a “vibrant relaunch and redesign” in the near future.