Nashville-based SouthComm purchased the Scene from Village Voice Media last month, and has swiftly been making changes. Former managing editor and longtime staffer Jim Ridley has taken over as editor, and the paper rolled out a glossy look this week. In addition, SouthComm has brought all editorial staffers of its Nashville properties (it owns The City Paper, and a handful of smaller print publications) under one roof, and done the same -- in a different building -- for business-side staff. Scene writer Bruce Barry says Nashville is "the alpha test" of SouthComm's publishing theory, which involves owning a unique blend of niche publications in a single market. Barry also points out that many SouthComm higher-ups are "very conservative" and wonders how that might affect the alt-weekly going forward.

Continue ReadingNew Owners Bring Changes to Nashville Scene

Chris Ferrell, whose SouthComm Communications bought the Louisville alt-weekly in May, tells the 'Ville Voice that they are busy working on a redesign of LEO's website, and that there will be a lot of emphasis on the web when the new site debuts in late September. He also says that he's added one staff writer and has been working on the design of the print product. "The paper looks better now that (sic) it did three months ago," Ferrell says. "We've created a larger news hole, and we wanted to make sure we have the kind of content people expect, even when the ad/edit mix doesn't justify it."

Continue ReadingNew LEO Owner Talks About His Plans for the Paper

"Chris Ferrell announced to the staff this morning that he'll be leaving the paper soon to start a new media company," the Scene reports. "I have worked with some of my favorite people in Nashville for the last three years, and week in and week out we put together a paper that matters to this city in terms of our coverage of news, our support of the arts and of culture," says Ferrell. "I have loved my time at the Scene. This was just too good an opportunity for me to pass up." Ferrell took over as the paper's publisher Jan. 1, 2005, succeeding founding publisher Albie Del Favero, now publisher of The City Paper.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Publisher Stepping Down

Nashville City Council members Mike Jameson and Ludye Wallace have introduced a bill that would require publishers to get a permit for news boxes that encroach on any public right-of-way, the Scene reports. A permit would initially cost $50 for a freestanding box and $10 for a spot in a newsrack, and require an annual renewal fee of $10. The ordinance would also give the director of Public Works the authority to adopt further rules which could dictate placement, maximum number of boxes within a given area or maintenance standards, according to the alt-weekly. Publisher and former Council member Chris Ferrell "has been working his Council contacts to derail [the] bill," which Mayor Bill Purcell also opposes, the Scene reports.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Fights Proposed News Box Legislation