About a year ago, Ben Felder contacted me to write a column in The Raytown Post about music. I called the column Radio Free Raytown. He left things very open-ended and allowed me to write about anything and edited very little.
Yesterday, the paper announced it was ceasing operations. Felder and Jason Whittaker bought and overhauled the paper. Sure, I would regularly find typos, but it was essentially one guy writing the paper. And trust me, it was a completely different paper from The Raytown Post of my youth. When I was growing up, I could count on the paper to be the place to get opinions from the cranky old dudes. The transformation was huge.
Through my column in The Raytown Post, I realized there might be an audience for a website like this. People I didn’t know would approach me about a recent column I had written. I would have never guessed some of these people even enjoyed music.
In every scene, there are those guys who stick it out for a while. I think of uber-obscure labels like Republic of Texas Recordings or Absalom Recordings, that released a few great albums with quality artwork and then folded. Felder and Townsend will be remembered like that. I hate to minimize their efforts to a brief mention in some conversation, but realize that what they did is the essence of punk.
To me, being a footnote in our town’s history is no small deal. Nobody else stepped up and revamped the paper. They tried, and that was huge.