The leadership of Greenville, S.C.-based media company 6AM City today announced a strategic partnership with local news outlet Nooga.com as part of the company’s expansion in the Southeast U.S.
While evaluating new markets to expand their network of community-based media properties into, 6AM City leaders said their initial research into Chattanooga proved promising enough that they soon made a trip to the city to evaluate the community up close.
“During our initial visit, we were blown away by the energy and sense of purpose on display everywhere we looked — we knew we wanted to find a way to be part of this community,” Ryan Heafy, director of operations for 6AM City, said.
Soon after 6AM City began looking at Chattanooga, they reached out to Nooga.com leadership and a dialogue between the two parties began in the spring.
Heafy said initial discussions revolved around how the two entities could collaborate in the market, but it became evident that joining together would be a win-win for both companies.
“When we initially discovered Nooga.com, their content approach and organizational structure was remarkably similar to how we operate in other markets,” Ryan Johnston, managing director for 6AM City, said. “After meeting with their team, it was clear that we share a lot of the same values and a vision for shaping the future of how we inform and empower communities. We recognized the opportunity to be much more successful working together, versus in parallel.”
Same local team in place
Nooga.com employees Adam Green, Chloé Morrison and Sean Phipps will all remain on staff, leading NOOGAtoday in their existing roles.
“Besides getting a fresh look, our staff is staying as-is and our coverage will largely be the same as it’s always been,” said Nooga.com editor Adam Green. “We’re all energized by the move, especially how 6AM City’s processes and focus on technology and scalable solutions will allow us to engage with and serve our readers better on day one.”
Nooga.com founder Barry Large remains involved with the new venture and will join 6AM City in an advisory role.
“I am immensely proud of what our current and former staff have built and think it’s a great testament to their hard work that 6AM City was so eager to forge this partnership with us,” Large said. “I’ve learned that, in business, it’s rare that you’re presented with such a unique, almost fortuitous, opportunity to allow a company you’ve spent years molding to so effortlessly morph into something bigger and better overnight.”
Partnership brings new resources, opportunities
6AM City’s partnership with Nooga.com creates the sixth market they will operate in. Existing markets include the cities of Greenville, Charleston and Columbia in S.C., Asheville, N.C., and Lakeland, Fla.
“Our idea has been to focus on cities that are evolving quickly. These cities bring with them excitement, but also a lot of curiosity as to what is happening, what it means, how to get involved and how to address the challenges and opportunities that are associated with this evolution,” Johnston said. “We believe that by operating in cities that are similar in their growth cycle, we can listen and respond with content and conversations that are the most meaningful and relevant to our audience.”
Johnston said the partnership is intended to provide additional resources, human capital and an investment in technology to the local staff, positioning the team for long-term sustainability.
Rebranding underway, more developments coming soon
Starting Monday, Nooga.com begins the process of rebranding as NOOGAtoday across social media, web and newsletter platforms this week. In addition, NOOGAtoday will complete its brand refresh with the launch of a redesigned website and newsletter in the coming months.
6AM leaders said that during and after the brand refresh NOOGAtoday will provide the same community-focused coverage readers have grown accustomed to from Nooga.com.
NOOGAtoday plans to celebrate this brand refresh with the entire community at the end of September and will be sharing further details about a re-launch party in the coming weeks.
A Message from Nooga.com Staff: We’re planning to run a follow-up story in the coming weeks with more exciting details. If you have any questions about the re-brand, 6AM City, the staff, coverage or whether you’ll continue to see Sean in a romper on local TV news, send your inquiries to adam.green and one of our team will get back to you.