Columns » Editor's Notes

Soundboard returns

We listened to our readers



Creative Loafing music fans, you are some loud, passionate folks. Somebody rattles your cages, you react like pit bulls, all snarly, quivery-lipped, teeth-baring, saliva-dripping growls and barks. Y'all can be downright scary.

And that's a good thing.

I'm talking, of course, about the music-section controversy that lit up the Charlotte Interwebs like a Southern California wildfire after we introduced CL's new look last month. No sooner had the paper hit the streets than this city's music community had locked in on one particular detail: We'd moved the Soundboard club and concert listings from print to online.

Music fans, music writers, musicians, music-venue owners — even a couple of out-of-state journalists I know from my years editing national music magazines — told us exactly what you thought of this move. In no uncertain terms. Even non-music fans weighed in.

You didn't like it. Not one bit. You sent us emails and actual letters handwritten on paper. You posted comments to our Facebook page and tweeted about it. You grumbled when we walked by on the streets.

And we heard you. We were listening. We asked questions. In my editor's note last week and by video on the CL website, I asked regular readers of Creative Loafing to write, call, post and tweet to us. Do you want the Soundboard concert listings back in the paper or are you OK with this info being online only? Overwhelmingly, you made it clear that you want to see these listings back in the paper.

So, this week, we have done just that. Yes folks, you asked, we delivered.

In all my years at all kinds of publications — from a fairly well-known national music mag to the entertainment section of a local daily — this dialogue with CL readers about the Soundboard listings has been one of the more interesting, exasperating and ultimately satisfying I've ever had with a readership.

Most of you offered impassioned, reasoned pleas for the return of Soundboard to the print edition. You told us you use these listings every week. You gave solid arguments why you wanted Soundboard back in print: you like the paper version of Soundboard because it's more convenient than the online version. Some of you wanted it back because, frankly, it's free advertising for your venues or gigs. I understand that. Free is good.

Then there were the handful of you people who went crazy with the insults. Soundboard, you whined, was the only reason you picked up CL. Apart from Soundboard, you complained, CL sucks. Guess what? We didn't bring back Soundboard for you. Why would we? You're mean.

What was most interesting and refreshing to me is that most of you wanted Soundboard back in the paper because you like CL's print edition. You like to read the paper. Let me repeat that: You like to read the paper. In a time when the newspaper industry is suffering, advertising is going to other media, page counts are down, people are moving to online and mobile platforms — you told us you like reading CL's print edition.

That, folks, is beautiful music to this newspaper editor's ears. That's why this editor is delighted to give you back what you want: the Soundboard listings, on page 37, newly formatted to make things even easier for you.

Thank you, Creative Loafing readers, we love your snarly asses!

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