I wish I had a better date than “about 20 or so years ago,” but I don’t. Below is a business card John Montgomery had made up for me when he founded the Roanoke Valley Sports Journal as something of a subsidiary for the Blue Ridge Business Journal, which I edited at the time.
I had been a sports writer for a good while at the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Roanoke Times (and the World-News before they merged), so I guess John figured I was a fit. The SJ lasted a several years and gave John–sales manager for the Business Journal–the outlet he had truly wanted since he was on the staff of the Cavalier Daily as a student at the University of Virginia. John renamed the SJ Play By Play after the Business Journal was sold. It was not part of the deal with The Times.
I enjoyed working with the SJ, but it was more a hobby than anything else. People seemed to enjoy reading its positive coverage of the small sports world in the Roanoke Valley and many of the stories were by and about the way things used to be, about local sports heroes who loved to reminisce about their glory days.
John was the perfect publisher for the SJ because his personality fit the business plan precisely.
We eventually sold the Business Journal to The Roanoke Times (which shut it down), and John went off on his own with the Sports Journal for a good while before it finally closed.
You will note that my business card pictured here is for Dan Smith, Liberal Media Stereotype. John designed it. And he did have a good laugh.