Rob Ford, Mike Duffy inspire Frank magazine return

Ottawa-based satirical magazine Frank has returned as a digital subscriber service, five years after it last ceased publishing.
The political scandal over Mike Duffy's expense claims is one of the stories that inspired Frank publisher Michael Bate to bring the publication back. 'It doesn't get any better than this,' says Bate. (CBC)

Ottawa-based satirical magazine Frank has returned as a digital subscriber service, five years after its last incarnation folded.

The new edition of Frank launched Monday as an online publication, though returning publisher and managing editor Michael Bate said there will also be a paper copy with a limited run twice a month.

Bate said the recent scandals involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Conservative Senator Mike Duffy have inspired him to bring the publication back.

"With Duffy in the Senate expense scandal and Rob Ford, these are exciting times, it doesn't get any better than this," said Bate. "If you are a journalist, this is great stuff."

Years before he became a senator, Duffy was a frequent target of the magazine.

Frank folded in 2003 before Bate brought it back in 2005 as an online publication, but it folded again in 2008. (An independently owned and separately operated Frank magazine remained in operation out of Halifax.)

At the time, Bate said the business model for the muckraking journal didn't work anymore.

The relaunched online version of Frank magazine will be available to readers on a subscription basis. (Frank Magazine)

Now he says the real problem was a lack of good material for satire.

Chrétien era was 'dull times' for satire, says publisher

"It was dull times when Chrétien was in office, despite all the scandals and AdScam it was dull for a satirical magazine," he said.

"Conservative governments are always more entertaining for a satirical magazine, because they do crazier things."

Frank is charging $14.95 for a monthly online subscription and $129.95 for a 24-issue print subscription.

Bate said he believes the business model can succeed with as few as a thousand initial subscribers.


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