RIP: The Rogue Voice

June 25, 2008


A literary citadel in this county has tumbled.

Editor Stacey Warde and Publisher Dell Franklin announced Monday that The Rogue Voice, a San Luis Obispo County journal of literature, eclectic writing, and grand intent, will publish its final issue in July.

Ending a 34-month romp through the world of words, The Rogue Voice found an eager and receptive audience in and around the Central Coast, bringing to its readers hard-to-find, quality writing and reporting from a plethora of big-name and no-name talent. But in the end, the publication succumbed to advertising woes, having started its life in an already slack advertising climate.

“It’s really sad,” said Warde, a Cayucos resident. “It’s like losing a lover.”

Calling itself “a literary journal with an edge,” The Rogue Voice was immensely popular along the coast, where appreciative readers often could be spotted at ocean side cafes and coffee houses. Its circulation numbers lagged inland, however, where it encountered a more conservative population.

Warde and Franklin did nearly all of the work associated with publishing and distributing The Rogue Voice, and enlisted the willing help of writers, poets, essayists and philosophers locally, and from across the country.

One of the most enduring of the journal’s regular features was Ben Leroux’s “Window Washing Across America.” Leroux described the origin of his writing:

“In the summer of 2003, I discarded all I owned and loaded a troubled 1975 Plymouth with clothes, books, a guitar, a cat named Reggie, and $17.94 worth of window cleaning equipment. I drove across the United States, stopping in nowhere towns, pail and squeegee in hand, cleaning windows for another day’s pittance. Free of any attachments, I floated vaguely east, wandering in a private stratum without itinerary or expectation. I became a true outsider, a fugitive from the banal, suffocating cycle of madness that passes for a ‘normal life’ today in America.”

And in the meantime, Leroux created a lifetime of memories which he gladly shared with a voracious reading audience in The Rogue Voice.

In his final monthly “rant,” editor Warde wrote that The Rogue Voice “hooked a few readers who believed in us, encouraged us, said we were brave, told us to keep it up. We kept it up for as long as we could. Now it’s over.”

With his comments, Warde “marveled at the artistry, pathos, and humor of our contributors, and feel humbled by their creative genius. I’ll miss them most of all.”

The Rogue Voice “stood out because we had character and color, and it showed on every page. Once read, it could never be confused with any other publication; it was unique.”

He closed by writing: “I hope in some small way The Rogue Voice added color to your life the way it did mine, made you feel part of a unique community and left an impression that won’t soon be forgotten. For now, that’s all, folks!”

The Rogue Voice – 2005-2008

Editor’s Note: Stacey Warde and Dell Franklin will be on Dave Congalton’s 920KVEC Hometown Radio show Thursday, June 26, at 5 p.m.

Tags:, Dell Franklin, Rogue Voice, Stacey Warde

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Member Opinions:

By: Anonymous on 7/6/08

I guess you are correct. Crime seems to go on forever also. Same with hell.

By: Anonymous on 7/6/08

You said "As for The Rogue Voice, well, nothing lasts forever."

well…what about Rush Limbaugh's new $400,000, 000,000 contract?

Nothing liberal and hateful goes on forever. But thruth and justice and the conservative way does!

Rush & Hannity on over 600 stations

O'rielly is the number 1 cable news show for 90 months running. He beats keith overbite and cnn by double their combined ratings.

Fox News is the number 1 cable news network by huge numbers!

Seems you are wrong thoughtful, as most libs are these days.

Nice try though

By: Anonymous on 7/5/08

The demise of The Rogue Voice had nothing to do with liberal or conservative ideologies. Get serious. Only an idiot would blame everything in the world that goes wrong on "liberals."

I've never read more foolishness in a single place than in these comment sections. (My apologies to the "thoughtful" commenters who make intelligent remarks.)

As for The Rogue Voice, well, nothing lasts forever. Now everyone can pounce and try to put their own meaning on it, whether it makes sense or not. May The Rogue Voice rest in peace!

By: Anonymous on 7/5/08

2005-2008 and now gone. 39 comments ona public blog and it's over.

Every newspaper in the land is going broke. Maybe the media should take a hint and put down the koll-aid and start reporting in an unbiased manner.

Take heed to lefty loops…Get real or die.

By: Anonymous on 7/1/08

Of course they can handle criticism. But it is still disgusting at the level of discourse and scumbag comments that we read in the comment sections throughout this website. If it is not sheer idiocy, then we get to read the most shallow, childish insults. Do people realize how pathetic and disgusting they appear? They are crapping all over this mostly fine community, a land that by looks of so many of these comments, is a haven for mean, cowardly fools of the most despicable order.

Sure the guys from Rogue can handle it. But can we handle having to wade through the most vile crap every time we look through the comment sections of every local website? It's filthy and disgusting and degrades everyone in this community. Can you imagine what people from other areas think when they go online to check out what SLO county is like and read all this low-life, cowardly crap? Maybe that is the REAL REASON property values continue to decline here!

By: Anonymous on 7/1/08

Are you folks saying that the "edgy" Rogue Voice can't handle criticism of exactly the sort it used to print?

Certainly the folks who launched RV deserve kudos for a lot of effort and for trying to do something different. In a better market/environment it might have thrived and improved.

By: Anonymous on 7/1/08

Can you imagine if if there was some project you had worked months on, poured your heart and soul into, and someone would could not care less walks along, takes a quick look and pronounces to the world that everything you have done is "rubbish"?

Everyone has a right to an opinion, and fair-minded, thoughtful, constructive criticism may be in order, but the way so many people so casually want to trash the efforts and reputations of others on this forum is sad and sickening and a sign of how low and callous and hurtful so many people are.

Has anyone heard of The Golden Rule?

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

I heard about Rogue Voice on David Congalton's show and gave it a look. I think it came from a good idea but it was mostly rubbish.

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

Sad to see two guys work so hard for so long only to have to throw in the towel.

This is a tough business, especially in towns filled with businesses that feel they don't need to advertise in any publication, let alone one that's different.

Rogue's Voice had a good run and Del and Stacey have nothing to be ashamed of.

On Congalton, Stacey said they started the paper with no business plan and little money but with just a lot of ideas, desires and dreams.

Next time, keep your dreams and desires but also get yourself a business plan. SCORE can help with this for free.

There's not much point in doing something like this, some tribute to free speech and the written word, if you have no plan for how to stay in business. Disappointment is the only destinaiton down that road.

Good luck to Stacey and Del.

Neil Farrell

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

I will miss the Rogue Voice. It was a different sort of rag. . .a maverick.

Thanks for the ride Stacey and Dell!

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

Will the inmate w/ the column appear in other publications or was the rouge the only one?

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

So what? Appalled Visitor is right. People who post here are so mean, angry and hateful. Why go out of your way to hurt people? Was what you had to say so valuable that the world wouldn't have been better off if you kept your vicious, callous and violent comments to yourself? Is insulting people and businesses an enjoyable pastime for you? If so, you are very deeply troubled and mixed up. You make this world a worse place, that's for sure. May God help you.

By: Anonymous on 6/30/08

Another liberal rag bites the dust…so what?

All newspaers are hemoraging profits and subscriptions are way dawn with no bottom in siight.

All the liberal main stream rags are failing and will be gone in less than 10 years.

We will all be better off without them.

By: Anonymous on 6/28/08

John Galt is Dave Congalton. He posts that way too on his own blog.

By: Anonymous on 6/28/08

John Galt learns how to spell! Hooray! Whew! I was beginning to worry that all that excessive masturbation might have affected his thinking. Then again . . .

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

The first few issues of RV were not bad but it declined at a alarming rate. Time to turn the page.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Appalled visitor. You have no idea how low these ignorant, uneducated, spiteful, hateful, vengeful, jealous and envious SLO types can be. Beautiful area wasted on the illiterate and obtuse.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Ah, the ol' "kick 'em when they're down" phenomena. Written, we assume, be people who have never been involved in any publishing venture.

Criticism is fine, but most of these negative comments slamming Rogue are the most shallow, lame insults, of no substance whatsoever.

One would think SLO county is home of the most foolish, ungrateful, meanest, narrow minded populations in the world. The kind of people who see someone who is ailing and run to push them in the gutter and kick them in the stomach, and think they've done something heroic.

I thought SLO county was a good place to live, where people are very fortunate and appreciate their blessings. Instead, we see it is a land of closeted, angry, violent fools.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Well, the paper was very liberal which means biased, lopsided reporting. NPR can't exist on it's own either. It needs your tax dollars! Maybe the Rogue could somwhow get their hands on some of your tax dollars too.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Based on the comments I have read here my question still stands, is this really a loss?

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Meh. Slow news day. One fewer rags in the rack.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Dan, you are being had! This is just a scam to get you to implement the "Fairness Doctrine" here by the jealous liberals. I am sure you can see through this drama. Don't let them ruin your site.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Please do not post using other people's names. We will have to filter comments if this continues.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

For an author of a statement on this blog to use another's identity for fraudulent and malicious purposes is criminal, I believe.

That has happened on more than one occasion on My identity, along with others, have on more than one occasion been stolen and used here to harm the public reputations of people.

This is a serious problem and not to be taken lightly. Stealing identities for malicious purposes is not a joke, it is a crime. Whether someone can be effectively prosecuted for doing so on a website in this manner, remains a good question. Whether a website can be prosecuted or sued for aiding the fraud, is also a good question.

It is a shame that there are people who would stoop to such things and cause such problems. And is is a shame that the operators of this website have not done more to prevent this type of fraud, despite repeated requests.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

I did not write the previous entry that containts my name. That should be removed and Dan and Karen should institute some sort of better log in procedure to prevent people from stealing identities.

By: Anonymous on 6/26/08

Another newspaper kicked to the curb by the internet.

On the bright side a 3 foot tree will be saved.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Who is John Galt? Obviously someone who can't spell! Doesn't your computer have spellcheck, dude?

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

"…eager and receptive audience…immensely popular along the coast…" doesn't seem to jibe with "…succumbed to advertising woes…". The market has spoken. The "literary journal with an edge" was too self-conciously edgy to survive. As far as "…hard-to-find, quality writing and reporting…" goes, don't make me laugh. Articles like "Bong Hits for Jesus" or meditations on the editor's sexual fantasies might be called many things, but "quality" would not be one of them. If they had called it "The Ageing Hippie Voice" it would have been more accurate; at least that way people would have known exactly what they were getting when they picked it up.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Great. Now the Tavern's gonna have to open earlier to give these guys something to do during the day.

Takes balls to try it, you're commendable for that.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

A great newspaper. A unique voice. Thanks for the ride, Del and Stacey. I'll be sure to tune in tomorrow when you say goodbye.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08


By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Well, it appears the four readers that I previously mentioned have chimed in…

Nice to see you folks are awake!


By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

To Just Wondering: I've done better than donate, I've pitched stories to Dan and Karen (that they could do or that I'd write for free). Never any reply.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Hey Kenfield: Your critique of local media is interesting and true. UNSCO's appearance bothers you but I'll bet you haven't contributed or advertised. So just keep sitting back and sniping, Kenfield. You do nothing positive.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

It is a sad day when print media close doors. I have tremendous appreciation for what Stacey and Dell did. The expense and logistics involved in putting out a paper are formidable. I am an old dog who prefers to get ink on my hands while reading. Hats off for the 34-issue run. You will be missed.

Chris Gardner

Tolosa Press (tree killer)

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

The Rogue Voice ran a few worthwhile things and they were trying to be an alternative to the "alternative weekly," the Fibune, and the various somnolent "good news" monthlies for seniors. But unfortunately it was mostly pretentious, childish and self-indulgent.

Start with the name and the slogan, "a literary journal with an edge." Are you a "rogue" with an "edge" if you have to say so every month on page one? Maybe I should change my name to Daring L. Shitkicker. How edgy are articles exploring what it's like to be a hot chick (including quotes like "Gosh, it's hell being gorgeous, fighting off guys constantly")? Stacey Warde's rants were skippable self-indulgence in the extreme.

And isn't it amazing that no local news publication has managed to put together a decent website? The Fibune's is an ugly mess, the New Times' is about as interactive as the print edition, and the Rogue Voice used Blogger, and did so very poorly. has a decent audience and a lively exchange but the site itself is pretty bad. No wonder newspapers are dying — no one working for them has the slightest idea how the web works.

SLO town just doesn't have the critical mass to make it worthwhile for anyone smart to do local media.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Curious, don't let him get to you. Most of the comments are from the same balding, overweight goof; one hand on the keyboard and the other busy with lubriderm.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

ah yes, I rember when the book of the month was "The Communist Manifesto."

Good Times!

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

I have trouble understanding the depth of hatred exhibited by authors of comments on this site. It seems as though other media people — and I think these nasty things are being written by people in the media — can't wait for other media to die. Sick, sick, sick. If you jokers don't like what you read here, stick it and go away. no one needs to hear you unreasonable venom.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Ahh.. Sad Reader… I empathize with you. This must be sad news indeed for the readers of this "newspaper"; all four of them..

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

The Rogue Voice??

May I assume from the article this what some sort of "newspaper"?

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

The fact that John Galt can't spell says it all.

Yes, John, it is a loss.

By: Anonymous on 6/25/08

Is this really a lose?