The Vital Voice, St. Louis’ great, and sorely missed, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered lifestyle magazine is very close to returning so we thought it would be a perfect time to sit down with the new head-honcho, and friend-of-the-site, DSly!
DSly has been a busy guy from the day we met him, and now with the the Vital Voice’s relaunch around the corner, and of course the holidays, we can’t imagine how busy he is these days, so we thank him for taking the time to talk with us.
Punching Kitty: You took control of the sleeping tabloid around September, so the first question is why was it so important to you to get the Vital Voice back on its feet?
D Sly: Last April 09 I was asked by the former publisher Pamela Schneider to start to write some type of Fashion column for the then Vital VOICE Newspaper. I started doing so and people started picking up the publication again. Then in May 09 she asked me if I would become the Associate Publisher and help her bring the newspaper back to life. I dove head first into revamping the direction and look of the newspaper. We actually started to make some headway with both the content and the business. However no matter what I did it wasn’t going to get it out of debt. Pam then asked me if I would consider purchasing the publication or else she was going to have to shut its doors forever. Throughout my decision making process I kept telling myself that this is the longest running LGBT publication in the region We began in the 80’s as the Gay News Telegraph. In the 90’s we became the Vital VOICE Newspaper. Now with the demise of the Washington Blade and Southern Voice we have become one of the oldest LGBT publications in the Nation having over a 28-year history in LGBT media. After hard negotiations, we were finally able to come to an agreement and I took full ownership of the name “Vital VOICE” in October. I promptly shut it down to rebuild the business structure and the entire publication.
PK: You guys have been pretty quietly working away over there the last few months, once the relaunch happens, can we expect any differences from what was there before?
D Sly: You are correct that we have been quietly working hard to retool this historic publication and there are many things that can be expected with our future. First and foremost will be the format for the publication. We are Going Magazine in format. Glossy covers with newsprint interiors. Plus we will be going all color. This new era in LGBT media needs to reflect today’s modern gay. Our focus with the printed publication will be to showcase and bring attention to all the amazing and great things about our community and it’s lifestyle. Traditionally, the printed newspaper focused on hard news about the LGBT community. We will continue that tradition but it will be more timely and more relevant with our website “thevitalvoice.com”. So, like I said our printed publication will be way more lifestyle, glamour, events, people and fun but the website will have all of that as well as timely HARD NEWS.
PK: What about the website? Are there any new plans specific to thevitalvoice.com?
D Sly: We are scheduled to do a COMPLETE revamp of the website this summer. With a new look and feel as well as adding Video Reporting to the site.
PK: With the recent news about young gay men being attacked in St. Louis, do you think the Vital Voice coming back will have any effect on helping people both in and out of the gay community with issues such as that?
D Sly: I do believe that the new Vital VOICE Magazine and business will help the LGBT community and the Straight community bridge the gap. We have so many “straight allies” amongst us and they too will showcased in the new Mag. Our publication will help show that we as LGBT’ers are no different than anyone else. We are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, your hairdressers, your bankers your community.
PK: Lately, newspapers are folding left and right, why did you decide you still need to stay with the print media and not simply focus on the website? Isn’t that a big risk these days?
D Sly: You are correct that the printed media is a risky business. However, with us now being one of the oldest in the nation, we are starting to get calls from national advertisers to work with us. Yes I agree that the WEB is the future but in St. Louis I feel that people and advertisers still like to pick up a tangible good to hold in their hands and look at. Over then next decade we may end up going just web but right now we will be doing both as well as creating many events around our community and programs for the community to get involved. Our future is to become “THE OMNI-MEDIA source for the Midwest LGBT community”.
PK: How much of the staff is changing? Have you brought in any new voices we should know about?
D Sly: Well, the staff from the old publication was part of the reason the newspaper failed. The old editor was not really connected to the community and had NO foresight for what the community wants or how to lead them. In reality, I only kept two people from the old publication. Tess Tulley who was PR director has now become our Director of Business Affairs. She is a bright, talented and ambitious girl who “GETS” what we are doing. The other person I kept was Colin Murphy, our senior writer. He too “GETS IT” and has been an inspiration and creative sounding board throughout this revamp process. I have no idea how I would have been able to do this without either of them.
PK: When will the official relaunch happen and where can people out there pick up a copy?
D Sly: The official relaunch will be at our January 6th event titled “TAKE FLIGHT” at SOL lounge (4239 Lindell Blvd, STL, MO 63108) from 7-10pm. At this time we are currently printing 15K issues each month and will distributed to over 300 locations throughout the STL region. We will be on stands the first week of every month.
Thanks again for the time DSly and good luck with the relaunch! The Vital Voice is an important publication, and we at Punching Kitty are glad its coming back.
As for the “Take Flight” event, I hope its a good party as we will be attending. So if any of you sexy Punching Kitty readers are heading out be on the look out, and if you see some crazy crap going down, come over and give us a heads up!
…oh and if you need a gossip columnist, we might just be available.
More Information: The Vital Voice Take Flight Invite