New version of Toledo Talk

    January 12, 2004

Clamor Magazine, a local success story - An excellent article by the Toledo City Paper, which will disappear later this week when the new TCP issue comes out and thanks to the TCP not updating their archives section on their website. Anyway, I discovered Clamor Magazine about a year ago at Thackeray's Books. I think it's great that the founders reside in Toledo. "It’s as if the mainstream media empires know best, and what the rest of us have to say doesn’t matter. In an unassuming house in Toledo’s Old West End, two twenty-something activists are working to change that. Jen Angel and Jason Kucsma have, since 2000, published Clamor magazine."

"Clamor’s approach to each issue is to select one broad topic — be it death, sex, work, art, technology or activism itself — and invite readers, academics, hip-hop heads, punks and others to submit articles. A recent issue on the topic of faith contained a story on a street punk’s journey from nihilism to spiritual awakening, an expose on Hindu nationalism and ethnic cleansing in India, and a piece on a kitschy, abandoned “Holy Land USA” theme park."

"Dealing with large, mainstream magazine distributors has been a major growing pain, but a necessary evil. Angel says that “with most print magazines, it’s considered good if you sell 30 percent of the copies you send to the newsstands. And that’s horrible. It means 70 percent of the copies you send are destroyed. That makes no sense (to us).” "

"Of the magazine’s 10,000 circulation, 1,000 are subscriptions. Of the remaining copies sold on newsstands, Clamor receives only 40 percent of the cover price and nothing for the unsold copies that end up destroyed. Cashflow is always a struggle."

"Apart from the magazine, Angel works full-time as director of patient services at Planned Parenthood in Toledo, and Kucsma has given up part-time teaching and print shop work in Bowling Green to devote 20-hour days to magazine production. “Hopefully one day Clamor will pay us, but it doesn’t pay us now,” Angel says. “If I want to do it, I’ve got to work a job.” "

"It may surprise some to find that Angel and Kucsma list their Toledo location (the two moved to the Old West End from Bowling Green last summer so Angel wouldn’t have to commute as far) as a definite plus."

"Kucsma even says “Clamor would not still exist if we lived in New York.” The area’s comparatively low cost of living enables the two to live modestly on one salary, devoting the rest of their time to activism and publishing. “We do media because we feel the issues are important. It would be nice to make that, and other activism, sustainable for individuals, but even if it’s not, we’re not going to give it up,” Angel says."

Their hard work and commitment are admirable. It would have been easy to quit after a year or two. They are doing something they are passionate about, despite it not being a huge money-maker. Unfortunately, most of the so-called "normal" society defines success by money. But I'd say, Angel and Kucsma are extremely successful. It's still early for Clamor, so who knows how big they could get. Radio Clamor is coming.

I will say that I don't agree with some of Clamor's views, but that's fine. Their success is important, because it could encourage other young companies to follow their path of being patient and locating in the Toledo area due to our low cost of living, and that's good for all of Northwest Ohio. Clamor's success and existence in Toledo is an example of the Rise of the Creative Class.

Clamor's purpose: "Clamor Magazine's mission is to provide a media outlet that reflects the reality of alternative politics and culture in a format that is accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds. Clamor exists to fill the voids left by mainstream media. We recognize and celebrate the fact that each of us can and should participate in media, politics and culture. We publish writing and art that exemplifies the value we place on autonomy, creativity, exploration, and cooperation. Clamor is an advocate of progressive social change through active creation of political and cultural alternatives."

posted by jr to media at 6:28 P.M. EST     (No Comments)

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