KC Alternate Post Sold to New Ownership Group

The Pitch announced its new owners on Saturday.

The Pitch announced its new owners on Saturday.


For the third time in 10 years, The Pitch has changed ownership.

Carey Media sold the 41-year-old local alternative publication to a group that includes current Pitch editor-in-chief Brock Wilbur; his wife, Vivian Kane; his father, Tom Wilbur; and two local business owners, Mat Moody and Steve Chase.

“This is a group of people who thought KC would be a lesser place without the voice and presence of TPitch it, ”wrote Brock Wilbur in a Publish announcing the news on Saturday. “The magazine will grow with more pages, more writers, more voices, more weirdos and more of what you’ve always loved about our rambling journalistic business.”

Stephanie Carey, who owned The Pitch with her husband, Adam Carey, called the decision to sell both personal and professional.

“Adam and I are getting a divorce, and that of course colors everything when you own a business together,” Stephanie Carey told The Star. “And COVID has done us a disservice. “

It’s been a dark decade for most local media companies in America, but especially for free publications like The Pitch, which since its founding in 1980 has relied heavily on advertising revenue from classifieds and local businesses to fund its operations. coverage of arts, culture, and city life. Tech platforms like Craigslist and Facebook have since captured much of this market share. Then came a pandemic that saw bars, restaurants and concert halls – Pitch’s main advertisers and distribution points – unable to host gatherings.

Formerly a weekly newspaper and now a monthly magazine and glossy website, The Pitch currently has seven full-time staff, including editorial and sales, “down significantly from pre-pandemic levels. “Wilbur told The Star.

“Our plans are to grow steadily over the next six to 12 months by hiring as many people as we can support,” Wilbur said, but did not specify how many.

“We are expanding the newsroom in proportion to new incoming sales and new programs around it. “

Moody, who recently launched a website in Salina called Salina311, told The Star in an email, “We’re going to experiment a lot. The old ways of doing things in the news no longer work, but the problems they solve remain.

Salina311, launched in October, declares on his site that it “is not a press or media company. It is a network built to foster commerce and opportunities in this community. Stories on Salina311 are “submitted by community members or automated through public information sources. Some stories are written / edited by artificial intelligence software. This allows stories to unfold quickly and often automatically.

Moody is also the founder of Bellwethr, a Kansas City startup that claims to use machine learning to help businesses retain customers for longer.

About the other new owners: Vivian Kane is the political editor of The Mary Sue, a pop culture website that calls itself “The Geek Guide to the Universe.” Steve Chase is the founder of GrooveWasher, a vinyl record cleaner. And Tom Wilbur is a retired banker; he was previously president of Bank VI in Salina and, before that, president of Security Savings Bank in Olathe.

Tom Wilbur is also a registered Republican who donated $ 250 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2020, according to federal election records. Chase donated $ 100 during that same cycle to the Lincoln Project, a Republican-led PAC opposed to Trump’s candidacy.

When asked if these new investors intended to influence the progressive worldview that The Pitch has long espoused, Brock Wilbur said, “The new owners are not taking any part in the editorial part of The Pitch, and I’m mostly removed from the business side. The decision to buy The Pitch from all investors came about because we loved what we were doing and how we were doing it, while also recognizing that the business itself could be run in a very different way.

Tom Wilbur told The Star, “Brock and I disagree on a lot of things politically. This allows for an interesting holiday dialogue. But (wife) Marlis and I fully support The Pitch’s mission, giving everyone a voice in Kansas City.

This story was originally published November 29, 2021 11:18 am.

David Hudnall is a narrative writer for The Star. He is originally from Kansas City and graduated from the University of Missouri. He was previously editor of The Pitch and Phoenix New Times.

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