As a former Aquarian Weekly employee (and co-managing editor), I am not happy to report this. But the music and culture publication is temporarily discontinuing its print edition and will continue online only.
I was a staff member from 1986 to 1989, when the newspaper was known as the East Coast Rocker. It was based, at that time, in Montclair, though it is now in Little Falls.
The alt-weekly’s history stretches back much further, to 1969, when it was one of many counterculture publications that sprang up all over the country. Few if any others have continued to have a print edition all the way up to 2020.
The Aquarian has never suspended print publication before. But the coronavirus crisis has made it impossible to conduct business as usual.
“It was with very heavy hearts that my partner Chris Farinas and I decided to temporarily suspend the print edition,” said The Aquarian’s co-publisher, Diane Casazza, in a press release. “For 50 years The Aquarian has not missed a beat: we survived the Vietnam War, the AIDS epidemic, the mass media online migration, the Great Recession, 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and all the milestones that have shaped our region and our country.”
Since the audience for print publications is drying up, anyway, it seems far less than a sure thing that The Aquarian will ever have a print edition again even (though the press release describes management as “eager” to return to print). It reports its print circulation as 25,000.
“In a lot of ways, we’re doing what other publications opted to do 10 years ago,” said managing editor Daniel Alleva, alluding to the fact that many other music publications are now online only. “We have been blessed with an incredibly loyal following of readers who like to have a physical newspaper. It’s not because they aren’t tech savvy — make no mistake: our readers definitely follow us on social media and read our features online. But our readers also understand the inherent value of something tangible, and that’s what we’ve strived to give them.”
Every issue of The Aquarian from 1976 to the present is preserved at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives.
“We have kept the dream alive for so many big and small musicians,” said Casazza, “and we pray that we can continue to do so.”
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