Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Florida’s Agenda expanding to become a “global resource”

by Chuck Colbert

The Florida Agenda has, well, a new agenda. 

Just as the Wilton Manors, Fla.-based publication and renamed itself as Agenda - Florida Edition, so the media outlet has expanded its distribution to include the cities of Orlando, Miami, Key West, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville.

What’s more, “In the coming months, we will expand to other states along the Eastern seaboard including Washington, D.C., and New York City,” wrote publisher and founder Bobby Blair in a statement published July 9. “Eventually, our unique customized local editions will cover the entire United States as we continue on our mission to remain the leading source of news and analysis within the LGBT community and beyond.”

During a recent telephone interview, Blair discussed his plans in some detail. “My vision is for Agenda to become a global resource for relevant news that involves anything to do with social change and equality for LGBT people, focusing on big picture issues,” said Blair. 

The Agenda, he said, is breaking new ground in its attempt to become the first LGBT newspaper not only to report the news as it happens, but also “to interpret its long-term affect on our future.”

“We want to be proactive with the news, not reactive,” explained Blair. That is to say, “We want to be able to discuss what’s happening today, discuss what the consequences might be going forward so that people can take these issues very seriously,” referring to “global” concerns that give “a perspective 100 percent geared toward LGBT initiatives and how they are going to impact social change.”

Key to being proactive, said Blair, “is holding people accountable every single day on an online 24/7 news platform, also holding them accountable in print every single week and doing that in as many U.S. markets as possible.”

In addition to rebranding, name change, and distribution expansion, Agenda - Florida Edition has a new publisher and editor in chief.  He is Richard Hack, a former executive editor at TV Guide.

Hack is also a best-selling author of “Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters” (2001). A later book, “PuppetMaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” served as the basis of the 2011 film “J Edgar,” directed by Clint Eastwood, according to Wikipedia.

Multimedia Platforms LLC owns both Agenda and Guy Magazine. Guy will continue to cover entertainment, health, fashion and travel, said Blair, who is both founder and CEO of the company.

In undertaking its rebrand and distribution expansion, Multimedia Platforms has partnered with TBG Holdings.

Combining the accounting firm, R3 Accounting, and an investment banking consulting firm, Birch Group, formed TBG.

R3 Accounting brings LGBT-specific expertise insofar as the firm’s clientele consists of same-sex couples and other members of the LGBT community.

Neil Swartz, TBG Holdings’ CEO, voiced pride with the investment in Multimedia Platforms (MMP) “because it is a company that is now” and “will be a game changer in the LGBT community.”

“Our goal is to provide the resources to allow MMP to grow beyond its current demographic as it acquires other selected media companies,” he added, quoted in Agenda - Florida Edition on July 9.

“TBG has put its ‘money where its mouth is,’” said Swartz, who added that MMP is now positioned to become a public company.

Blair said that MMP would be “a fully reporting public company in the next 60 to 90 days,” which is advantageous for two reasons. “It is a way for us to raise capital. And it allows people to join us in our mission.”

Currently, Agenda - Florida Edition distributes 7,000-12,000 copies with each print run. Number of pages varies between 32 and 60 pages depending on the week. Print-run numbers, Blair said, would increase with the expanded distribution that would be targeted to “high traffic locations in each market.”

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