By Billy Liggett, Editor
It’s a bit out of the ordinary to write a “welcome” post two weeks after launching a site like this, but to be honest with you, I never intended to write one at all.
But the past two weeks have been good to the little Rant. At this moment, RANTNC.COM has received nearly 7,000 views since Jan. 23. Nearly 6,000 of those views have come since Feb. 1. And I’m writing this on a day The Rant is enjoying its best day with 1,665 page views and counting, thanks to Wednesday morning’s feature on Lee County High School basketball player Frank Wishart.
Because of these unexpected numbers, I feel like a “What is this site, anyway?” post was necessary.
So here you go — my name is Billy Liggett, and from 2007 to 2011 I was editor of The Sanford Herald. Before that, I was editor of newspapers in Louisiana and Texas. From 1999 to 2011, I was a newspaper guy, and I loved it. But in 2011, my wife and I had a second child, and the time needed to run a quality newspaper was interfering with the time needed to be a good husband and father. So I began working at Campbell University as its assistant director for publications, a job that allows me to write, create publications and be part of a university very much on the rise. Like my career in newspapers, it’s a career I am passionate about.
But I still love journalism, and I’ve written several articles for newspapers, magazines and businesses as a freelance gig since leaving The Herald. I also was co-host of a radio show that began in 2008 and was infamously “kicked off the air” in 2013. That show was called “The Rant,” and I considered it a hobby. Perhaps my favorite hobby at the time.
The Rant has been dormant for the past year, but on Jan. 23, I decided to resurrect it in the form of a blog/news site. I had no big expectations — I just wanted to put good use to a site I created five years ago and continue to write. A few days later, I wrote about the Army general who was in hot water because he called Rep. Renee Ellmers “hot” in an email exchange. A few days after that, I reported that a county commissioner and state official used the word “libtard” to describe his enemies in the comment section of The Sanford Herald’s website.
On Feb. 1, I learned about an embezzlement investigation at one of Sanford’s largest churches. A few months prior, while digging on my own time, I learned the now former pastor of that church had faced similar charges (which were dropped) back in the 1980s.
And now the story of a teen with autism who hit his first bucket at a Lee County High School basketball game. Just like that … 7,000 views in two weeks.
So now, The Rant is a thing. It’s still a hobby and a responsibility that ranks somewhere in the mid-40s of my responsibility list in life — but I kinda like where it’s going. And it will continue to go.
I am chief writer and editor of the site, but I have contributors and will gladly accept more contributions. I’m not going to report on every little thing in North Carolina and the central part of the state — just the things that get my attention and, more importantly, hopefully get your attention.
If you have story ideas, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, enjoy, feel free to comment and have a sense of humor about things.