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Spotlight History

Spotlight Folds

By Becky Mollenkamp

            Ten years ago [1987] Bob Baker hand-delivered the first issue of Spotlight magazine – four typewritten pages covering the local music scene. Last month, Baker saw the last issue of his magazine hit the newsstands.

            Baker folded the monthly because he wasn’t making money. But he says Get Out, the year-and-a-half old St. Louis Post-Dispatch upstart, had no impact on Spotlight.

            Baker says his financial problems stemmed from being a niche product. Unlike Get Out, which covers all aspects of entertainment, Spotlight focused solely on the music scene. Spotlight’s primary advertisers were music stores and recording studios, which Baker says are limited in number and their advertising dollars.

            “There was a certain threshold those types of businesses were willing to pay and I reached it some time ago,” he says.

            In the final issue of Spotlight (February/March 1997), Baker wrote a farewell column, informing his readership that the paper had folded.

            In that column, Baker wrote that the quality of Spotlight’s content had been waning in recent months. He says that journalistic slump made his decision to fold concrete.

            “Frankly I’m not in touch with the heart and soul of the local music scene like I was years ago,” he wrote. “And I think it’s being reflected in the quality of Spotlight’s coverage.”

            While Spotlight billed itself as “the” St. Louis music and entertainment magazine, Baker says other local papers are beginning to take an interest in covering local music.

            “I guess the accumulation of all the weeklies in the area will add up to what Spotlight was doing,” he says.

            (Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 4/1997).

Var.: St. Louis Spotlight