Less than three years after launching a glossy magazine designed to "provide a positive antidote to the numbing, distorted depiction of Newark printed daily in the Star-Ledger," Paul Profeta says he planning to cease publication of Radius at the end of the year.
In a note from the publisher in his latest edition, the wealthy real estate investor said he is losing $50,000 per issue and as much as $200,000 a year publishing the magazine.
When he started the magazine, Profeta said he locked in 31 "founders" to subsidize the production costs, each presumably purchasing a full-page ad at a cost of $4,000. In his latest edition, he is down to just 17 founders.
"The diminishment of the founders list has surprised me," Profeta wrote. "Most of these institutions are housed in Newark and have a vested interest in improving the environment in which they work."
Profeta specifically calls out the New Jersey Devils and Edison Parking, owned by notoriously parsimonious Jerry Gottesman, for never joining the Founders Club.
"These are the institutions that were the first to benefit from the increased traffic that Radius produced," Profeta wrote.
Hopkins Samson & Brown, Audible, Woodbridge law firm Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, Pershing and Cushman & Wakefield are among some of the notable names that appeared as founders in the first edition, but not in the latest.
In his first publisher's note, Profeta was upbeat about Newark, noting that Radius is "an advocate for -- and a reflection of -- the new Newark, another brick in the spectacular renaissance of Brick City."
"One third of all development occurring in the state of New Jersey is taking place within the city limits Panasonic just moved its North American headquarters to Newark. Prudential is building two headquarters towers on Broad Street," Profeta wrote. "Whole Foods is re-imagining the old Hahne's Department store and will soon take over that space."
But by 2016, Profeta's breathless boosterism has been replaced by disappointment.
In a two-page Note from the Publisher, Profeta excoriates former Mayor Cory Booker, who many credit for ushering in the renaissance that Profeta described only three years earlier.
Profeta took Booker to task for what he called a lack of "executive ability," and the mayor's failure to follow through. He also said Booker either knew -- or should have known -- what was happening to the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Corporation, which was mired in scandal under the mayor's watch.
That's the kind of hard-hitting critique you'd expect to read in a Tom Moran column in the Star-Ledger, not in a magazine that devotes the rest of its pages to event listings, gala coverage and a 10-page spread to Prudential's new office tower.
Profeta is not a magazine publisher by trade. He made his money in real estate investments, management and leasing. He owns Paul V. Profeta & Associates in West Orange and also started the Profeta Urban Investment Foundatin, which provides financial and intellectual capital to businesses owned by minorities in Newark, such as Duke's Southern Table. He donated $1.5 million to Rutgers University Business School to endow a chair in real estate.
Radius' departure does not leave Newark without a glossy magazine touting the glories of all things Newark. About five months before Profeta's first edition, Vic Nichols published the inaugural issue of Newark Bound, which like Radius, seeks to portray Newark in a positive light. Newark Bound continues to publish and its publisher shows no sign of throwing in the towel.