It’s Birthday No.4 for the OB Rag!

by on October 27, 2011 · 7 comments

in Media

This week, we at the OB Rag are celebrating our fourth birthday since we began our online presence on October 25, 2007.

And since then, our readership has … well, take a look for yourself.  Here is a chart of our monthly readership, called “unique visitors” since October 2007:

This chart shows our dramatic increase in monthly readers, from our first full month in November 2007 when we had 1,371 visitors – all the way to this month, and we already have over 85,000 with days to go before the end of October 2011.

So, we’re patting ourselves on the shoulders all week.  Here, below, is an excerpt from our “About” page:

About the OB Rag

This website was first initiated by Frank Gormlie and Patty Jones as a blog in late October 2007 to ply the San Diego scene with news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective, and to provide a forum for those views.  Importantly, we also wanted to provide some kind of web platform for the Ocean Beach community.

A year after we started publishing, we decided to focus more of our attention and energies on OB itself. By October 2009, we were taking advertisements and sponsorships and selling hot-looking T-shirts.  Our stats just continue to rise dramatically over the months.  Last March 2010 we had over 26,000 visitors, by June we had 34 visitors short of 40,000, then in October 43,000 visitors, and our very best month – November 2010, with 51,000 visitors. We also reached another milestone, we had our one-millionth page hit in mid-December.

The year 2011 saw us breaking all of our readership records, with over 85,000 for October 2011.

We have a plethora of writers, bloggers, contributors, photographers, and close supporters who in 2010, included Brittany Bailey, Jon Carr, Andy Cohen, Kristin Condon, Judi Curry, Anna Daniels, Randy Erickson, Shane Finneran, Dave Gilbert, Gary Gilmore, Jack Hamlin, Nate Hipple, Rich Kacmar, Steven Kindrick, Sarah Little, Mary E. Mann, Ernie McCray, Brenda McFarlane, Jim Miller, Danny Morales, Jim Noble, Abby Normal, OB Cindi, Larry O’Brien, Doug Porter, Bill Ray, Terrie Relf, Dave Rice, Sunshine, Genie Sapienza, Christine Schanes, Stu Seymour, Lane Tobias, Wireless Mike Williams John Williams, and independent photographer Jim Grant.

At our beginning, we had a number of progressive writers who contributed to our blog,  in particular Jon Christensen, Michael Steinberg, and Gregg RobinsonRick Nadeau, who also blogged with for us from the beginning, passed away in November 2008, after a long bout with cancer. Our good friend and  photographer, Jeff Stone, was also one of our main photographer contributors.

In the Fall of 2008, we were joined by Doug Porter, who now writes on a regular basis and who wrote for the original OB Rag back in the seventies, and by Anna Daniels, who is active on city-wide issues.  We also have a lively facebook page that Doug Porter coordinates and administers.

When we started this blog, we were disgusted with the state of things: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bellicose and war-mongering President Bush, a Constitutional crisis, the environmental and global meltdown, as well as local corruption and government incompetence on all levels. We believed then and still believe now that things can and should be a whole lot better.

Things have changed since we first started blogging. We initially supported the candidacy of Barack Obama for President, and we celebrated with champagne and tears the night he was elected.  But our eyes are not shut. We remain critical – and hopeful – of our political environment. We have come to deeply understand that progressives need to keep pressure on the White House, no matter who is in it.  And it’s important to develop broad coalitions of activists and like-minded people, to not be hampered by some restrictions of our political traditions, and be willing to work across different parties and communities.

Plaque on building at corner of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street, commemorating the past. The original OB Rag had its office upstairs, circa 1974. (Click on image.)

We have become very disappointed in what President Obama has achieved and not achieved during his first two years in office. We oppose the continuation of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Pakistan), and have been disheartened by the so-called “compromises” his administration has made with those who have vowed to destroy the American social networks established over the last century. This president seems to have sacrificed his message of change and hope to the expediencies of Washington, DC. We remain critical – and hopeful.

This website attempts to keep OBcians, other San Diegans, and readers from across the country and from across the oceans informed on issues and changes around us.  We try to share all news and reports about the village of Ocean Beach, from other sources, but primarily from our in-house bloggers, and we try to publish news and perspectives about activists and grassroots goings-on within San Diego County. “Views and news of Ocean Beach and beyond.”

When we first started this blog, we felt that we needed “to rebuild a sense of community, not only on the neighborhood level, but also amongst those of a kindred spirit.”  We have expanded our circle of friends and readers, as we have a solid base of Ocean Beach readers, a San Diego, national and even international audience.

At our year anniversary – late October 2008 – we had a daily visitor average of over 250. By October 2009 we had a daily visitor count somewhere between 500 to 900.  By Spring 2010, we are averaging between 750 and 1,000 visitors a day.  By that Fall it was 1,200 to 1,400.  Now, in the Fall of 2011, our daily average is over 2,500 to nearly 4,000.

It’s ever-so clear to us that, as we originally stated at the beginning:

With mainstream media becoming more and more monopolized and centralized, there is a need for information and opinion outside the corporate media monolith. Blogs are helping to fill this role. Like during an earlier day, when underground newspapers filled the void, blogs today enable grassroots journalists and commentators to counter mainstream propaganda.

The First OB Rag

The first OB Rag, actually the OB People’s Rag, was an alternative grassroots newspaper for the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego during the first half of the 1970s, with its first publisher, editor and writer Frank Gormlie. It published from late Summer 1970 to early Fall 1975. The Rag’s volunteer and dedicated activist staff succeeded in fueling the community organizing in Ocean Beach during those years with their underground publication, taking on the establishment while giving voice to the burgeoning counter-culture.

Page 1The OB Rag was once described by Art Kunkin, the then-publisher of the LA Free Press – the grandparent of alternative newspapers – as “the best alternative grassroots community newspaper in the country.” [See our page “1st OB Rag” for more complete history of the first OB Rag.]

Plus, many of the original OB Rags are now available for donations. [Go here for those Rags that are available.]

Much later, in the early years of this century, folks associated with the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) and the Save Ocean Beach Coalition published several editions of a new version of the OB Rag (see below for a sample front cover of this version). There are at least two issues of that version of the OB Rag scanned here in our blog.

So, here we are, with a third version of the OB Rag. Please peruse our posts, comments, and satire and join in. (For information of another San Diego progressive publication put out by some of the same writers of the current OB Rag.

OB Rag – March 1972, Vol. 2, No. 8


OB Rag – October 2002, Vol. 7, No. 2
This version of the OB Rag, was published by members of the OB Grassroots Organization and Coalition to Save OB

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG October 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I visit everyday. I’m having a chocolate filled croissant w/ a hot cuppa Joe right now. Nuthin’ better w/ a cuppa than the OB Rag.


doug porter October 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Four freakin’ years! Yay, OBRag!
228 stories and (for me) three years later, I am proud as ever about what we’re accomplishing with the OBRag. The concept of citizen-journalism remains un-coopted around here; honesty and passion are more important than genuflecting before the royal court of dinosaur journalism. And we ain’t finished yet.
I know I’ve been slackin’ lately–something about the drugs they’re giving me to negate the pain caused by radiation therapy makes putting words to paper exceedingly difficult. And slow. This comment took over a half-hour to type and I know it’s chuck full of typos. But things are looking up and I promise to send more verbiage your way real soon… right after the next nap…. zzzz…..
huh? where was I? oh yeah: Happy Birthday OBRag


Shelley Plumb October 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Happy Birthday, OB Rag. Thank you for the service you provide to our San Diego community. Frank and Patty, you’ve done a great job!


Dave Chase October 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I am so very Pleased with the success of the OB Rag. Congratulations to all involved especially you Frank & Patty!

Warm hug & love to everyone.


Ob Jon October 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Happy B-Day OB Rag! So proud to live in the OB community!! I love checking out the site each day and see what is happening around OB and the country! I’ll continue to do what I can to promote the site!


Nunya October 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm



mr.rick October 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

Happy Birthday to the OB Rag. And thanks for letting the community at large be involved in this endeavor. Especially, thanks for letting me get involved on a personal level. I whole heartedly support the Rag and what it stands for.


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