by Charles Womack

YES! Weekly heads into its 10 th year

Sometime in June 2004, I was growing bored with the items on my plate and was restless to do something new. I had recently purchased a commercial property in the Adams Farm neighborhood with plans of taking my monthly Adams Farm Gazette weekly. I had also tried my hand at working for someone else in a media brokerage firm. Rapidly approaching the big 4-0 crossroads in my life, I searched deep within myself and asked, “What is it that sounds fun, exciting and fulfilling? What do I enjoy?” It didn’t take long for me to accept the fact that I was ready to launch a new newspaper. I had started small papers before, but had never done something of the big scale I wanted this to be. It had to be something like the “cool” papers I enjoyed picking up and reading all through my life — papers like the Independent Weekly, Spectator, Creative Loafing, ESP and Triad Style. I like these kinds of papers, as they covered music, nightlife and had grit. These style papers were the exact opposite of the hometown, weekly newspapers on which I had cut my teeth. I knew that formula and was successful, but I was ready for change.

There would be no honor rolls, no high school sports, and no school lunch menus for this new project. It would be food, film, music, hard news and more. It would be big, it would be free and it would be cool.

I had the building and I started to get busy.

I began my project buying and setting up the desks, lamps, computers, hanging the pictures and getting everything ready to roll on the new weekly. I set up the plants, loaded the laser printer, had pencils, pens, rulers and calculators on all the desks, but there were a few things missing: 1) a name and 2) a staff.

I kicked around a few typical alt-weekly names such as City Paper, The Voice, Greensboro Weekly, The Weekly and so on. Nothing felt right. I recruited friends and family to help and finally, finally, my wife had it. She had been a parent-volunteer for a field day event at Millis Road Elementary School and the company they hired to set up jumping houses and slides was called Your Entertainment Source.

She came home that afternoon and exclaimed, “I’ve got it! How do you like the name YES?” I loved it and ran it by a few friends who also said it was cool and original. Originally, it was just YES with no exclamation point. That was added a few days later when I was in Raleigh with my long-time friend Randy Gregg.

Randy is a long-time newspaperman, and his brother was the owner of Charlie Goodnights Comedy Club. When we were sitting in the crowd watching Dave Attell do his act, I drew out the logo of the paper on a napkin and showed it to him. I had the “yes” all capital and the word “weekly” in smaller letters underneath like it is today. He studied it for a second, grabbed the napkin and slapped a big exclamation point after the S of “yes.”

“There you go.” he said. “It has to have that.” I loved it. The games were on, but a staff was needed.

My first hire was Brian Clarey. After I read through Brian’s clips and resume I knew he would be great for the startup. He was funny, cool and a true free spirit. The story he got me with was one he did on the old annual Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament at the Green Bean. I felt as if I could actually hear him telling me the story in his own voice as I read it. The next interview was with Jordan Green.

Green had submitted several long and very detailed investigative reporting pieces. His attention to detail and undying desire to seek out all the facts made it easy to quickly see he would also fill a key spot.

I went on to hire sales people and a designer and we started working on YES! Weekly in December 2004 putting out the first issue the first week of January 2005.

Flash-forward to this second week of January 2014 and, lo and behold, we are starting our 10 th year. In a word… wow! In another… thanks!

It is hard to believe how fast it’s gone by.

Being involved with such a paper has allowed me to meet and work with so many great people as well as participate in, sponsor and promote so many amazing events. The current staff of YES! Weekly is one of the best we’ve ever had — hardworking, fun and ready for every new challenge. As I look back over the years, there are many talented folks that walked the halls of YES! Weekly. Some of those who deserve a mention are Michelle Lanteri, Jessica Schell, Laurie Powell, Devender Sellers, Kenny Lindsay, Alex Womack, Loren Bailey and Lindsay Emeigh, to name a few. There are more, but these came to mind as they had the longest tenure.

We’ve shared some amazing experiences, done a lot of growing up, worked and played very hard, won awards and so many other things. Thanks so much to all the readers for reading and advertisers for advertising. You all make it possible to do what we do and bring it to you every week. We look forward to keeping the YES! Weekly train rolling down the tracks and reaching new territories. For those who have been riding along for a few years , again… thanks! For those new readers who have just started picking up your copy each week, we are glad you have joined us.

So come on… we are YES! Weekly. Coo coo ca choo. !