Creative Loafing

Creative Loafing
CL, Inc.
Type Privately held
Industry Publishing
Founded 1972
Headquarters Tampa, Florida, United States
Area served Chicago IL, Washington D.C., Atlanta GA, Tampa FL, Charlotte NC
Key people VP/Group Publisher Alison Draper, VP/CFP Tammy Bailey
Products Alternative weekly Newspapers
Owner(s) Atalaya Capital Management

CL Inc. is the Tampa, Florida-based publisher of three city newsweeklies and their associated websites. Each of the papers focuses on local news, politics, arts and entertainment, and restaurants. The papers include Chicago Reader, Creative Loafing Atlanta and Washington City Paper.

Members of the management team include VP/Group Publisher Alison Draper, former publisher of the Dallas Observer and a senior sales executive at the Dallas Morning News; VP/CFP Tammy Bailey; Washington City Paper Publisher, Amy Austin; and Creative Loafing Atlanta Publisher, Sharry Smith.

Before September 2006, the Tampa and Sarasota editions were published under the name Weekly Planet. The company also acquired the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper in 2007. After filing for bankruptcy in 2008, the company was sold to Atalaya Capital Management on August 25, 2009.[1] Creative Loafing Charlotte and Creative Loafing Tampa were sold to SouthComm Inc. on Oct. 10, 2011.



Original editions

First published in 1972, Creative Loafing Atlanta (ISSN 08898685) is the oldest of the four original Creative Loafing newspapers. Creative Loafing Atlanta and the Chicago Reader each has a circulation of 100,000, making them two of the top twenty alternative weeklies in the United States, as indexed by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.[citation needed] Founders Deborah and Elton "Chick" Eason established Creative Loafing Charlotte (OCLC 34797893) in 1987, and Creative Loafing Tampa (OCLC 71753914) in 1988. The company once owned another paper, Creative Loafing Savannah (OCLC 35905461), which later became Connect Savannah. It also owned Spectator Magazine in Raleigh, NC, which it sold to The Independent Weekly in 2002. The paper was promptly closed.

Weekly Planet

Ben Eason, son of Deborah and Elton, purchased the Tampa paper from his parents in 1994 and changed its name to the Weekly Planet. In 1998 he expanded the paper and launched a second Weekly Planet in Sarasota, Florida. Two years later, in September 2000, he led a group of investors to purchase a controlling interest in the entire Creative Loafing chain, and subsequently brought the Planet papers into the fold. After a false start during which the May 31, 2006 edition of Tampa's Planet was prematurely published with a Creative Loafing banner, the Tampa paper officially reverted to its former name and the Sarasota paper became Creative Loafing Sarasota.[2][3]

Partnership with Cox Enterprises

To help finance the 2000 deal transferring ownership to Ben Eason's group, media conglomerate Cox Enterprises purchased a 25% minority share of the company for approximately US$5 million. In the process, Cox executives filled two seats on Creative Loafing's eight-member board.[4] An uneasy four-year relationship between the two companies followed, as Cox also owns Atlanta's only daily, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as television and radio outlets in the Atlanta area. After the Journal-Constitution in April 2003 quietly launched its own free entertainment weekly named Access Atlanta, in direct competition with Creative Loafing, the Easons and Creative Loafing board members voted to censure the two Cox executives for unethical conduct, and by June 2004 both companies agreed to allow the chain to repurchase its shares from Cox.[5][6]

Acquisitions; Bankruptcy

On Oct. 10, 2011, the Board of Director’s of CL, Inc. announced the sale of Creative Loafing Tampa and Creative Loafing Charlotte to SouthComm Inc., parent company to Nashville Scene and Kansas City Pitch.

On July 24, 2007, Creative Loafing announced the purchase of the Washington City Paper and the Chicago Reader,[7] along with the Reader's properties The Straight Dope and the SDMB, the associated message board. According to CL executives, the papers will receive neither name changes nor major content adjustments.[8]

In order to accomplish the acquisitions, the company borrowed $40 million. The ensuing economic slump hurt ad sales and their ability to pay down this debt.

CL Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 29, 2008. As a result the company was sold at a bankruptcy auction to its largest creditor, Atalaya Capital Management, on August 25, 2009 for $5 million. (This exceeded a bid of $2.3 million by the Easons. Ben Eason was removed as CEO).[1]

Creative Loafing Sarasota was closed in December 2010.


  1. ^ a b Scott, Jeffry (August 25, 2009). "Creative Loafing chain sold to biggest creditor for $5 million". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Tampa alternative weekly changing identity". Tampa Bay Business Journal. September 19, 2006. Retrieved January 19, 2007. 
  3. ^ Creative Loafing Press Release (September 22, 2006). "Weekly Planet Toasts Name Change with 'Best of the Bay' Beerfest". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved January 19, 2007. 
  4. ^ Iwan, Christine (September 27, 2000). "Creative Loafing to Sell Minority Interest to Cox". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved January 18, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Creative Loafing goes to battle with AJC". Atlanta Business Chronicle. June 3, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2007. 
  6. ^ Hundley, Kris (July 19, 2004). "Weekly Planet is back in its own orbit". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved January 18, 2007. 
  7. ^ Hau, Louis (July 24, 2007). "Ambitious Move By Creative Loafing". Forbes. Retrieved January 14, 2008. 
  8. ^ Ahrens, Frank (July 25, 2007). "City Paper Sold to Tampa Alt-Weekly Group". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2008. 

External links

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