Today is Milwaukee Record‘s fourth birthday. Yes, on April 7, 2014, two Milwaukee writers without jobs (or seemingly any other options at the time) each chipped in about $700 of their own money to launch a new entertainment and culture publication that aimed to not only fill the noticeable hole left by A.V. Club Milwaukee‘s sudden and sad departure, but expand upon it. In some ways, that early April day seems like only yesterday. Other times, it feels like eons have passed since that first fateful day of our publication’s existence. No matter how long it seems, every April 7 offers a reason to reflect and appreciate what we’ve been able to do, and more importantly, why it’s been possible.
Since taking that first step, we’ve written thousands of articles, produced 23 (and counting) “Public Domain” music videos, raised more than $15,000 for Milwaukee charities through our Local Coverage and Roast Of Milwaukee events, released 125 podcast episodes (some were even good!), beefed with and quickly made up with Smash Mouth, broke a few stories with national interest, booked and managed our own stage at PrideFest, co-created a well-received beer, screened some of our favorite films at Avalon Theater, ruffled a few feathers, and somehow convinced Andrew W.K. to go shopping with us at American Science & Surplus. Speaking for both myself and my Milwaukee Record partner Matt Wild, we’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in fewer than 1,500 days as a business. That said, absolutely none of those things would’ve been possible without the assistance and generosity of others.
Milwaukee Record is a wholly independent operation that subsists solely on support from advertisers. We were fortunate enough to have local businesses behind us since day one, and to have more advertising partners put their faith in us in the weeks, months, and years since that uncertain outset. While we’re far more established than we were four Aprils ago, the fact that area businesses are behind what we do—and trust us to help being attention to what they do through presence their on our site—means a great deal. These supporters allow us to continue doing what we love, allow us to bring in more freelance voices and perspectives to the site, and are largely behind the growth we’ve experienced since launching.
Many of those ad partners wouldn’t be here if not for Josh Hoppert, our Director of Advertising. Whether or not he knew it at the time, Josh left a far safer career to join us at a somewhat uncertain turning point in the business. Since day one, his tireless work ethic, his eternally positive attitude, his willingness to go far beyond what’s expected of him, his friendship, his occasional articles, and his faith in what we do—which sometimes renews my faith in what we do—is at the very least why Milwaukee Record is where it is now, and arguably why we still exist today. We can’t thank him enough for all he’s done.
Similarly, we’ve been so fortunate to have the perspective, talent, and voices of dozens of freelance writers, photographers, artists, and videographers behind us. Try as we might, Matt and I can’t be everywhere and, frankly, we have lots of blind spots in terms of what we can effectively cover. Whether you’ve written one article or helped out with a video, occasionally contribute articles or photos, or are a weekly or monthly part of what we do, you’ve allowed this two-person outfit to become something bigger, better, and infinitely more interesting than what it would otherwise be. Trust that we’ll be trying to bring even more writers and other creatives into the mix going forward.
Last but certainly not least, we need to thank our readers. Without people to read Milwaukee Record, it wouldn’t exist. We certainly haven’t been perfect. We’ve made mistakes and learned from them. We’re still learning what this business is, deciding where we want to bring the site, and trying to figure out exactly where we fit in this weird and ever-changing thing called the internet. I hope we’ve made your day better or helped lead you to a band, restaurant, or neighborhood you’ve come to love. Whether we’ve become a part of your daily ritual or you just visit us from time to time, thank you. Your support means more than you could ever know. You make this small-but-growing media outlet possible.
As we look ahead to a milestone fifth year, the future looks good. If all goes to plan, we’ll continue to take steps to post more often, host more events, grow our staff, and take things in strange, exciting, and fun new directions. I hope you join us for the ride. Those are all thoughts for tomorrow. Today is for celebrating four years of being able to do Milwaukee Record and for acknowledging the millions of people (literally) who continue to let us live our dream job. Thank you.