LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freedom Communications Inc. said Monday that it has set April 16 as the launch date for its latest newspaper venture, the Los Angeles Register.
The new publication is part of an ambitious expansion driven by Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz, who bought Freedom in 2012. The pair bulked up on newsroom staff at the Orange County Register, launched a new daily newspaper in Long Beach in August and bought the Press-Enterprise in Riverside in October.
It'll be the first incursion for the newspaper company into the heart of the metropolis long dominated by the 132-year-old Los Angeles Times. So far, Freedom has been focused on the suburbs.
Freedom said Monday that the "community building" newspaper will cost $1.50 on weekdays and $2 on Saturday and Sunday and be distributed at 7,500 locations around Los Angeles County. That's roughly the same price as the Times, which costs $1.50 Monday through Saturday and $2 on Sunday.
People who sign up for a daily subscription, which Freedom said will cost less than $1 per day, will be enrolled in Register Connect, a benefits program that includes free tickets to baseball and soccer games on a first-come, first-served basis.
Long Beach Register subscribers will also get free copies of the Los Angeles Register, the company said.
Freedom also said it will launch more than a dozen monthly newspapers serving specific towns along the coast and as far east as Pomona, about 30 miles from Los Angeles. It said details on the monthlies will be available in the coming weeks.
The Los Angeles Register will aim to cover daily local news, business, politics, education and other topics, along with sports at the high school, college and professional level.
It plans to serve as a government watchdog and provider of inspiring features, as well as a forum for opinions on local issues. Columnists "will clearly support the protection of individual liberties and freedoms," it said.
The company is making a big bet on print even as print ad sales and circulation drop industrywide. Kushner has said the printed product still accounts for 90 percent of a typical newspaper company's revenue but has been neglected as publishers chase after the elusive dollars that accompany online distribution.