Any astute Twitter lurker who might follow Empire could figure out that Tom and John Paul Rogers were up to something. That something is Collateral BMX, a new website that will be dropping soon. While the topic is still in the vague stages, I decided to hit up the dudes and see what was up.
Click below to check out a Q&A with John Paul Rogers about it all.
Anyone who can decipher Tom’s cryptic tweets, could figure out that you guys have been up to something. That turns out to be Collateral BMX, a new website. How did this idea hatch itself?
I had recently left Sparkys due to family reasons and was talking to Tom on the phone and asked him to write a 23,000 word long form story about Empire. He asked if I was serious and for whom. I was joking but that turned into him suggesting we start a media website, and by complete coincidence I had time on my hands. If I was still at Sparkys this conversation would have never happened.
Seeing as you are diving head first into the shark infested waters of BMX websites, what will set Collateral apart from your everyday re-blogging style website format?
It’s not a traditional blog set up, and our editorial style and format will be different by default. Every aspect of BMX will get covered. We’ll constantly be working on original Collateral feature content, and the list of outside contributors that are going to be producing various projects for us is solid.
After Tom threw out the initial idea, everyone we talked to thought it made sense once we explained what the basic plans were. I don’t think we’re stepping on anyone’s toes, and we’re going to bring a quality site into the mix. I think I’m older than all the other online editors at the major sites, that probably gives me an advantage in some areas. Between the two of us we have vastly different BMX knowledge and experience to draw from compared to other sites. That will be apparent in our editorial direction.
At the end of the day, what do you wish to accomplish or get across with Collateral?
The hope is that it becomes a spot where you can interact with other people stoked on the same things that give you a BMX boner. Giving riders, companies and contributors an open forum to display what they have to offer is a priority as well. Be well rounded and not take our personal opinions too serious, let the site and the community that supports it shape what it becomes. We just want to show what’s going on, not try to dictate it.
How will your experience in this industry and skills at being outspoken play into the site? Will you be the driving force?
I don’t think of myself as outspoken. I’ve been writing articles since the late 80s BMX Action and Go days, so it’s more like having a platform to make observations over a long period of time that makes me seem more outspoken than I am. I’m going to be in charge of content management, ad sales and bookkeeping, same things I did when Faction was being published. That was twelve years ago and even back then the Faction site had a daily blog with ads and a store, same shit on a bigger scale. Logistically, running a website is about a million times easier than publishing a magazine and the costs are way lower. Paying fifteen dollars for FedEx shipping so you can get a Zip disk with an ad on it from Ron W. before deadline and then spending five dollars to mail it back because the Zip disk cost him eleven dollars can be exhausting and expensive.
I’ve talked at length with Brad McDonald about publishing, media and advertising sales since he launched Ride in the early 90s. He’s by far the most successful dude in BMX media since Bob Osborn, and Vital has been the most financially viable site launched in the past eight years. I’ve gotten valuable insight from him and Todd Toth on a broad range of internet related topics as recent as last year’s Interbike.
One of the first things I did was call McGoo and pick his brain about Chop Cult, the benchmark for chopper sites. The conversation lasted about an hour and I was trying to pay attention and write notes as fast as I could. It was a fuck ton of information to process. I organized my notes and thoughts and went from there. It was a good starting point as opposed to standing around with my dick in my hand trying to figure out where to begin.
How does Tom fit into all this? Hype man?
He’s married to Tina and she’s going to refresh my accounting and bookkeeping skills, it was his idea, he came up with the name and he owns a few guns.
Who else will be contributing to the site?
This is a small list of Austin locals Tom compiled: Hanson, Santana, John Yull, Dave Parrick, Joe Simon, Devon Hutchins, Joe Rich and Cody Nutter. The Sheps and Sultemeier show will be excellent.
The complete list is world wide. As the word spreads more and more people get in touch with us daily about helping out. We have more contributors lined up who we don’t want to identify just yet, and they will bring unmatched pedigree to the mix. We’re keeping most aspects of the site under wraps until it launches.
Do you have any particular issues with current day BMX websites/media? I can only assume that you guys think things can be improved upon if you’re starting up a site.
We’re going to do what we do and not worry about all that. I’m assuming we’ll eventually work with some of them. BMX is tiny and incestuous, hard to avoid crossing paths with a lot people. I think it’s a waste to spend too much time thinking about what you think other people are doing wrong. We have the experience, the resources, industry support, talented people wanting to help and we’re in Austin, why the fuck not give it a go?
When will the site launch?
October sounds reasonable.
Thanks! Anything you would like to add before we wrap this up?
You’re welcome. That’s pretty much it for now, be on the lookout.