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Metro Publishing Group completes spinoff, separates ownership of community papers

SAN JOSE -- Continuing the evolution of what has become the Bay Area's leading alternative newspaper group and Silicon Valley's largest community publishing group, Metro Newspapers has completed the spin-off of its community newspapers into a separately owned and operated company.

Effective today, Dan Pulcrano, who had been Chief Executive Officer of Metro Newspapers and Executive Editor of its four alternative weeklies, becomes principal owner and CEO of Metro Newspapers, as well as publisher of its flagship weekly, Metro. David Cohen, who had been Chief Executive Officer of SVCN, Inc. (Silicon Valley Community Newspapers) and publisher of its six community newspapers, becomes principal owner and publisher of SVCN, LLC.

The formal separation of the media businesses by two long-time friends and business partners culminates nearly 17 years of growth in two distinct types of newspaper publishing.

"Metro/SVCN was one of the first companies to successfully embrace both community papers and alternative weeklies, and the strategy resulted in rapid growth," Mr. Pulcrano said. "Now that both groups have achieved critical mass, each has enough revenues to operate on its own. And each one can now pursue independent and more specialized editorial visions and business strategies."

"With a community newspaper-dedicated company," Mr. Cohen said, "we will be able to focus all of our energy on delivering the fiercely local coverage that make our papers strong in the valley's established family neighborhoods. And the Metro group will be able to concentrate on its mission of providing cutting edge content to broader markets."

Metro Newspapers publishes Metro Silicon Valley, Metro Santa Cruz, North Bay Bohemian and Oakland's Urbanview. It also operates two web-based businesses, Metroactive, a Bay Area-wide arts and entertainment service, and Boulevards, a network of city information sites encompassing more than 20 major city.com addresses.

SVCN publishes the Campbell Reporter, Willow Glen Resident, San Jose City Times (a legal newspaper), Cupertino Courier, Sunnyvale Sun, Los Gatos Weekly-Times and Saratoga News.

Metro will continue to operate from its offices at 550 South First Street, San Jose. SVCN expects to move its offices to 1085 The Alameda in San Jose when construction is completed in late January.

Circulation, Revenue and Awards

The San Francisco Bay Area is the nation's largest market for alternative newspapers, which deliver lively news, arts and entertainment coverage via free distribution points in urban regions. Metro's four alternative papers reach an estimated 500,000 readers in seven counties. Metro Newspapers employs 100 people, distributes nearly 200,000 copies weekly and anticipates 2002 revenues of more than $10 million.

SVCN's delivers community newspapers to 100,000 homes with 200,000 readers in the communities of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and the San Jose neighborhood Willow Glen. SVCN employs 50 people and anticipates 2002 revenues of $8 million.

The community newspapers focus on community news, ranging from city council and planning commission actions to police activities and education. SVCN newspapers have won numerous awards for excellence and sponsored hundreds of community events and organizations. Among SVCN's state and national awards are three of the California Newspaper Publisher Association's highly coveted General Excellence awards, along with first place awards for design, editorial pages, sports reporting, public service, photography and spot news reporting.

Publishing History

At 23, Mr. Pulcrano founded the Los Gatos Weekly with the support of a local group of investors. It competed with the century-old Los Gatos Times-Observer, then owned by the Meredith Corp. of Des Moines, Iowa. Building on the Weekly's early success and witnessing the emergence of San Jose as an urban center, Mr. Pulcrano invited Mr. Cohen, a veteran of the LA Weekly and Connecticut-based Advocate publications, to join him in launching Metro in 1985. It grew from an initial circulation of 40,000 to its current circulation of approximately 100,000, which is distributed at more than 1,200 locations in business districts, university campuses and well-known high-technology companies.

In 1990, Metro acquired the Los Gatos Weekly and the Los Gatos Times-Observer and merged them to become the Los Gatos Weekly-Times. The following year, it purchased the weekly Saratoga News and the Willow Glen Resident, at the time a monthly. Those purchases formed the foundation of a community newspaper group that now also includes the Cupertino Courier, the Sunnyvale Sun and the Campbell Reporter. The Sunnyvale and Campbell papers were started by Metro. The Cupertino Courier, which has published since 1947, was purchased in 1995.

Concurrent with the aggregation of community newspapers in Santa Clara County, Metro expanded into other counties in the Bay Area with alternative newspapers.

In 1994, the company began publishing Metro Santa Cruz and assumed control of the Sonoma County Independent. The Sonoma County Independent was renamed the Bohemian in 2000 when it expanded coverage to Napa and Marin counties. Metro began publication of Oakland's Urbanview earlier this year.

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From the December 20-26, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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