Take it from us. When Time Out Chicago magazine launched four years ago, there were plenty of naysayers who were convinced the magazine would never last. And that was long before the unbelievably hard times that have now hit just about every form of print journalism. Four years later, however, Time Out Chicago is still kicking, which is about three years longer than most in local publishing circles probably expected the weekly entertainment and listings guide would last.
That's not to say it's going to be all smooth sailing for TOC going forward. No general interest consumer magazine -- or newspaper for that matter -- could expect that to be the case in this environment. But per Frank Sennett, TOC editor-in-chief and general manager, the Chicago weekly magazine appears to have survived the recent effort by a group of investors in the start-up to sell their share in the publication. Of course, when we heard an investor group wanted out, we were baffled. Who in their right mind would think they could get anything close to their original investment out of a magazine deal now when no one seems terribly interested in buying even a share of a print publication.
Sennett told us this group of unnamed, but antsy investors have come to their senses and backed off of selling their share in the magazine. Chicago-based Joe Mansueto and his local investor pool still hold the controlling interest in Time Out Chicago, and Mansueto appears to be among the firm believers in a future for print publications.
Meanwhile, Sennett and his gang are prepping for the debut of a Time Out Chicago kids edition targeted at parents with children that would be published at least twice a year. There's certainly no indication, right now, that Time Out Chicago is planning to disappear. Rather the cover of the fourth anniversary issue seemed to suggest a message about TOC's attitude about itself as it turned four years old: "Essential Chicago, the Tools You Need to Thrive in the Windy City."