New magazine connects Ohio River communities

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

More than just a catchy moniker, "Bridges" reflects a new local magazine's mission to connect Ohio River communities one reader at a time.

Still, the abundance of this region's water-spanning structures certainly did not hurt when it came time to pick a name that encompasses both the magazine's readership and goal.

"(The name) really has worked out well," said John Gallaher, publisher of the quarterly, full-color magazine produced in Ashland, Ky. "It ties into so many things - bridging the gap, connecting the communities and those types of things."

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The premier issue showcases several stories of local interest including a feature on Lake Vesuvius, a lighthearted look at firehouse cuisine at the Ironton firestation and a family business feature that includes a family that touches a soft spot - and sweet one - for many: The Tiptons.

Though the name fits, the title, and the idea itself, did not materialize overnight. In fact, the inaugural fall issue was more than 6 months in the making.

Gallaher, owner of The Gallaher Group in Ashland, said that publishing a magazine seemed like a logical progression for the printing company that already does lots of printing, photography and design work. So he created a separate corporation, Current Media, to try and create a top-notch magazine that features the quality of life in Boyd and Greenup counties in Kentucky and Lawrence County, Ohio.

"I had most of the things needed in place, so why not look towards producing a magazine," Gallaher said. "Around here they kind of made fun of me because I said something like, 'How hard can it be?' Well, I find out how hard it is."

Gallaher drew from local talent within the region and contracted his team of designers to put together the polished look that graces the pages.

But you won't find the magazine just anywhere.

With a circulation of 17,500, approximately 5,000 in the Ironton-area, the magazine is directly mailed to the target audience of households that are considered middle income and above.

Fear not, Ashland News and Carter Avenue Beverage Center have single copies for sale for $3.50 each. Gallaher said availability may grow as the magazine evolves.

Or for those who prefer to peck away on

the computer, the articles can be read online at The second issue will be out in January.

Tim Gearhart, operator of Tim's News & Novelties in downtown Ironton for the past 22 years, said has fielded a bit of interest about the magazine

"We carry a number of regional type magazines. Some of them do well at times, some don't," Gearhart said. "I like to carry things of local interest if it is possible."

For Gallaher, the labor of love is still a work-in-progress but he remains steadfast that they are on headed in the right path towards creating something the communities have embraced.

"Over in this community, we have had tremendous response," he said. "We have received a lot of e-mails and calls from people saying how much they enjoyed it."