I wish I could say that the idea to create OC Weekly was a brilliant stroke of penetrating thinking sparked by editorial idealism and visionary insight. But here's what really happened.
A very, very long time ago, way back in the 1980s, there was a cool surfwear store called JimmyZ in Venice. They advertised in LA Weekly every week right next to the masthead. One day, Jimmy himself called up and told us that if we published a paper like LA Weekly in OC, he'd advertise there, too. We spoke to some other folks like Tower Records and some local shops in OC and asked them what they thought of the idea. Not only were they interested, but also they couldn't believe a paper like OC Weekly didn't exist.
We did some research and made a plan for a 1992 launch of OC Weekly. At that time, LA Weekly was owned by a group of strong-minded individuals who got along so poorly that two separate investor groups each called themselves the official LA Weekly Board of Directors. One of the boards wanted to launch OC Weekly, and the other didn't. So we ended up selling the company to one very rich guy who only wanted to know how long it would take to get this project going. Within a few months of Leonard Stern's purchase of LA Weekly, OC Weekly was off and running—and we haven't looked back.
Oh, and about that editorial idealism and visionary insight: that got taken care of when we found our editor, Will Swaim, an erstwhile candidate for the priesthood and member of the punk band Barking Spiders. Mike Sigman, executive vice president, Village Voice Media Inc.