Interview with Publisher Joey Amato
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Virginia
Year founded: 2012
Staff size and breakdown: More than editors, writers, and contributors
Physical dimensions of publication: 8.5” x 11”
Key demographics: Men and women aged 30-55
Print run: Varies by location
PPQ: What part of UNITE Magazine is the most popular?
Amato: The most popular part of UNITE is our covers. People love the various celebrities we were able to feature in our publication.
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?
Amato: I did and it was just a word that I thought of when looking at various aspects of the community. Within our own community, we tend to ridicule, tease, bully and divide. So I thought UNITE would be a great name to bring all areas of the LGBT community together.
PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome?
Amato: The move to digital is definitely a challenge, as well as increased competition from other local (non-LGBT) lifestyle publications. As the LGBT community becomes more welcomed, there is less of a need for LGBT-specific venues, so many people just visit mainstream locations. When it comes to ad dollars, these venues don’t necessarily need to target one specific niche in a city.
PPQ: What challenges is UNITE facing now?
Amato: We are trying to find other publishers and/or entrepreneurs who wish to license the UNITE name and brand in their city.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?
Amato: I would like to see our brand open in more mid-size cities across the country.
PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist’? If so, in what way?
Amato: No I don’t. I see myself as an entrepreneur who saw a need and filled it within my community.
PPQ: What’s the most surprising feedback you’ve received from a reader?
Amato: I always receive emails thanking us for the work we have done and how we are so much more than a bar rag. People keep UNITE on their coffee table, at their office, or read it on a plane. We do not publish any risqué content or ads, so it is a family-friendly publication. The most skin you will ever see is a shirtless fitness trainer.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?
Amato: Do it only if there is a need for it in your community. For example, if there are already four LGBT magazines, there is no need for a fifth. If you live in a community that only has an LGBT newspaper, then a magazine may be needed to complement the paper. This is where it may make sense to license the UNITE brand. We will maintain your website and help with content and design for a very minimal fee.