The Houston Voice Story & History
Who we are:
ISSN 2164-9251 (Online) The Houston Voice | Houston Progressive Voice Online provides the city’s progressive community with the local and national news they want, and the arts and entertainment coverage they crave. With more than 30,000 weekly potential followers, we strive to be a powerful force in many of Houston’s diverse communities with its dynamic appearance, comprehensive editorial coverage and engaging web site. We are no longer just Houston’s Gay Newspaper, but a media outlet for all those voices that go unheard in the mainstream media. We are completely a “not-for-profit” news and entertainment publication and video content provider. No one at Houston Voice Media is paid and are all volunteers. We rely solely on sponsorship’s from private individuals and some ad revenue generated from Google AdSense to pay for the cost of the site upkeep and server fees and equipment.
Our History: The good, the bad and the down right ugly.
We first began publication as the Montrose Star in 1973 by Henry McClure (he is still a good friend of the current Houston Voice today). Henry started the Star as a gay newspaper to bring the community together during the gay and lesbian rights movements of the 1970s. Henry then changed the name to the Montrose Voice after the “Village Voice” in New York City. By the end of the decade the name was once changed again to be more inclusive as a whole city to the Houston Voice.
Through out the 1980s the Houston Voice enjoyed much success as a full weekly gay print news paper under McClure. By the mid 1990s Henry sold his beloved news paper to a national media chain called Window Media owned by Chris Crain. Window Media also owned the Washington Blade, Southern Voice and Genre Magazine. From the 90s to early 2000s the Voice continued to experience growth and national exposure. But by 2005 things began to change for the paper. A series of disputes with merging companies and partnerships along with mounting debt to the Small Business Administration the paper stopped printing a physical paper by 2007. The Houston Voice was left to just a mere blog reporting issues not even related to Houston in most cases (mostly Washington Blade and Southern Voice bloggers).
By 2009 a federal judge in Atlanta awarded Chapter 11 bankruptcy and all assets of Window Media were liquidated. By this time the Houston Voice has no assets to liquidate anyway.
Meanwhile since the mid-2000s Henry McClure was back again had started up a new newspaper the Montrose G.E.M. (Gay Entertainment Magazine). After the demise of the original Houston Voice, McClure then partnered with Laura Villagran and Angela Snell that owned the local GLBT yellow pages in Houston to relaunch the Montrose Star. At this point the Montrose GEM became the Montrose Star in 2010. Henry stayed with the publication until the end of the year.
Almost nine months in to the new Star, Steven Tilotta also known as Marsha Mellow, was asked by Laura to write a new column that would continue the story of Marsha Mellow that had been published for several years in the Galveston Parrot. Steven agreed to take his Marsha Mellow stories in to the big city and publish with the Star. Steven would call his new article “Gay in the City” the Marsha Mellow diaries. At this time Steven introduced Laura to his friend that just left being the creative director of Houston Sports Edition Magazine that was owned by a former Houston Texans football player. Laura met Justin Galloway and was immediately impressed by his work and hired him on as the creative director for the Star to turn around the entire publication in July 2011.
By October 2011, things were not going well for this new editorial team, the editor had quit, and Tilotta and Galloway were also threatening to quit over various disagreements with Villagran and Snell. Before this Galloway had noticed that the Houston Voice name had become available and saw possibilities in its use. Villagran and Snell said they did not want anything to do with the name, and so Galloway secured it on his own. By November things with the staff came to head and Tilotta and Galloway both left the Star. In early December, Justin and Steven decided to go at the GLBT newspaper business on their own.
They began a campaign call the Houston Progressive Voice and geared up for a new publication to come out by February 2012. When February came they decided to take a new route and stay paperless. Also they were going to go ahead and use the Houston Voice as the new publication online. The website has been a success, and run the entire Houston Voice as a non-profit. In summer of 2012 The Houston Voice launched Houston Voice TV as new medium to explore. By September the houstonvoice.org website had hit 120,000 views in just a few months. The new Houston Voice also has taken a stance to not be just a gay newspaper anymore but a progressive news medium targeting not only voices of sexual minorities, but those of gender, race and creeds.
We are no longer Houston’s Gay Newspaper, we are Houston’s voice for those that do not have one.
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