Ownership changes at Two River Times

RED BANK — Fourteen years after its founding, it’s a time of transition once again for The Two River Times. The Red Bank area broadsheet has new owners who say they will stick to the same popular format.

“We are not looking to make any major changes in the paper. We think the product is already excellent,” said Michael A. Gooch in a statement released last week.

Gooch and his wife Diane, Rumson, completed the purchase of the weekly from TV personality Geraldo Rivera on Nov. 11 for an undisclosed amount.

In a statement released last week, Rivera said that since divorcing and moving out of the area, his role in guiding the publication has been reduced.

“The city and the two rivers need a more connected and locally based hand on the helm than mine,” he said.

Rivera said the decision to sell the newspaper, which has a circulation of about 7,500, to the Gooches was based on the couple’s “enthusiastic vision … for the paper going forward.”

Diane Gooch will replace Rivera as publisher, the fourth person to hold that position since the newspaper was founded by Claudia Ansorge in September 1990.

“Mickey” Gooch, British-born chairman, chief executive officer and founder of the GFI Group, an interdealer brokerage with offices in New York and London, said in a statement released last week that the impetus for buying the newspaper was a desire “to be embedded in the community.”

He may, he said, write an occasional opinion piece while his wife “has ideas about issues and topics and content.”

The couple moved to the area 10 years ago from Short Hills.

“I’m very proud to be on the masthead of that paper in the continuing list of publishers and glad I had the opportunity to found that paper,” said Claudia Ansorge, publisher from 1990-96. “It really defined an area as the two river area.

“It’s a new era of the paper. It’s nice to see the integrity of the paper has been kept over the years,” said Ansorge, who heads Ansorge Unlimited, an ad agency.

“It was originally designed with a design team in the summer of l989. It’s design has really been maintained and it’s had different turns of editorial direction.

“It looks like the Gooches will have their own vision to be added to the base. I am glad to see it’s still around and they sound like very motivated and excited new owners,” she said.

Ansorge noted that the paper’s founding came at “the worst possible time in the late 1980s. The economy was terrible, Red Bank was Dead Bank.”

But, she noted, the town’s cosmic energy changed with the election of a new mayor, the founding of the paper and the inception of Red Bank RiverCenter.

“I felt like an assignment was delivered to me from the universe. It was a very real feeling that I was being asked to be part of an incredible transformation of place.”

Rivera was brought in as an investor, she said, then bought majority interest, and was joined by his wife and sister. “It became more of a family business,” she said. I had done what I needed to do — start up and carrying it through its first era.”