After the ‘Post’ loses music critic Dan Aquilante, it also kills an ad he bought for his new venture
Dan Aquilante, the New York Post's longtime music critic, has left the paper to start his own editorial syndicate.
And after 32 years of loyal service, he thought the Post would be an ideal venue in which to advertise his new venture, DanTheManPress.com.
So when he opened up the paper on Tuesday, the day on which his weekly column would have gone to press if he hadn't left the Post last week, he was surprised that the ad he had purchased the day before to run in the arts section was nowhere to be found.
Aquilante called the advertising department, he said, and was informed that Post editor Col Allan made the call to pull the promo, which was to run for several consecutive Tuesdays. He said insiders privately corroborated this claim.
"I'm baffled why you'd kill my ad," Aquilante wrote to Allan in an email later that day, which was shared with Capital. "It allowed readers who have followed me for 30 years at the Post to know where I went. I was also supporting the Post by buying advertising. That's not something every fledgling company does. But most importantly, that ad was a raised flag that showed that there's no hard feelings between the Post and I.
"Obviously I'm wrong, since you must feel hurt by my departure," the email continued. "If you'd like, lets have a drink and talk it out."
As of Thursday morning, Allan had not taken Aquilante up on his offer. A Post spokesperson did not have a comment when reached by Capital.
Aquilante said that he parted with the Post, where he began as a copy boy in 1980 and became music critic in 1985, on amicable terms (or so he thought).
"I still have friendly feelings toward the Post," he said. "It's a wonderful place, so I was rather shocked."
As for why he decided to leave, Aquilante said the music coverage had been scaled back little by little. He had the idea to branch out on his own and syndicate his writing to "smaller community newspapers that would never have access to, say, a Madonna interview," or a chat with Aretha Franklin, whose Post Whitney Houston tribute he ghost wrote.
Aquilante has yet to nab his first client, though. (He said the Post turned him down.)
"A paper like Dan's Papers," he said. "Or a paper like The Wave in the Rockaways, where I live. Or like the Trumbull Times, where I grew up in Connecticut. Papers that wouldn't necessarily have the same industry contacts I have or the resources to do this kind of coverage. It seemed like a good idea that might actually click and has a chance to grow."
One encouraging sign is that Aquilante's sources and flack contacts seem to be game even though he is no longer working for the News Corp.-owned tabloid.
"I've had a great deal of support from most of my sources over the years," he said. "They've given me calls to say that this is a great idea and that our relationship is not changing."