Sunday, 14 July 2013 22:46

What Have We Done Here?

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One year ago today, Sunday, July 15, 2012, we flipped the switch at OnStL.com. Even though there was a modest “place holder” site here prior to that date, we “cut the ribbon” and turned on the lights on that Sunday afternoon one year ago.  So here we are, one year later, with no cake, no candle, no big sale, no celebration.  But I can say I feel a sense of satisfaction and gratitude that this small, enthusiastic staff on an impossibly small budget did, in my humble estimation, something nice for St. Louis.  And our hope right now, as we reflect on the previous 12 months, is that we’re still here 12 months from now, with a better website and a better “thing” for St. Louis.

You would think that a website like this would be easy.  I thought it would be easier than it was just to build it, but it was a cumbersome task at best.  Blame it on that impossibly small budget.  But with the technical generosity and ingenuity of people like John and Angela Sebben, the financial support of two loving business partners, Joy Grdnic and Tony Roldan, the creative contributions of our talented bloggers, the promotional generosity of many St. Louis icons from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to the St. Louis Cardinals to the Muny, the trustful financial support of our advertising sponsors and the undying enthusiasm and work ethic of our undersized staff, we’ve come to our first post and moment of truth, as we are compelled to ask ourselves, “What have we done?” and “Can we keep this going?”

What we have done, the way I see it, is lay the foundation for a “great St. Louis thing” that, for now, is merely a “St. Louis thing.”  I’m reluctant to call it a St. Louis website, when we intend for it to be so much more than a website.  Who goes to websites anymore?  We don’t expect you to come to onstl.com, but you certainly can if you want.  Most everything we’re doing can be found here. Instead, we hope to come to you and be there for you at your convenience, through your preferred social network.  We will create more St. Louis events, share more St. Louis videos, photos and laughs, give away more St. Louis prizes and hand out more free tickets to many St. Louis events.  We will continue to offer a platform for the St. Louis artist to share his or her talent amongst other St. Louis artists.  And we will continue to grow a community within the community of St. Louis to help the local small St. Louis business owner plug into that community in a good way.

We are compelled to ask ourselves so many questions that, at this time, remain unanswered, because the answers depend on you as much as they depend on us.  We know what we can do, based on what we’ve done in a year; but we’re not sure what YOU will do with what we’re making here. And since this venture operates on a shoe string, a hope and a dream, we know for certain we can’t do it without you.  Will you help us spread the word about OnStL?  Will you help us network this idea to make it more valuable to the people who will use it to promote their small local businesses?   Facebook won’t allow us to require posting comments to enter our contests, but without the comments we lose any viral effect.  That’s because they want us to pay for that privilege.  But we’re not a well-funded business, so we need help.  Unlike, for example, KDHX FM or KETC, Channel 9, that survive by asking for donations, we prefer to just ask you for your help, which costs you nothing.  A retweet, a facebook “like” or “share,” and an occasional comment go a long way with us.  By helping us grow, we’ll be able to offer you more; more prizes, bigger prizes, more promotions, bigger promotions and more entertaining St. Louis content involving more St. Louis artists, writers, photographers, videographers and performers.

In this first year, in addition to the money my partners and I invested, I chose to run OnStL while running my “other” company, which I’ve headed for 30 years, All Star Radio Networks.  All Star Radio syndicates radio programming to about 400 radio stations around the world.  It was a very rewarding 30 years for me, but I’ve promised myself and my staff that I would step down from this “other” company by the end of 2013 to devote my full time to OnStL.com.  So the countdown is on.  In 5 and a half months, I’m going to drive this small staff up a wall.  And at that point, on January 1, 2014, we will be compelled to ask ourselves two more questions: “Is this working?” and “Do enough people in St. Louis give a damn about what we’re trying to do here?”

If you’d like to join me in any way, by contributing your talent, your time, your advertising support or just your suggestions and comments, you can email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  I’d be thrilled to hear from you.

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