Billboard, Rolling Stone and Fodor’s Highlight Regional COVID-19 Stories

May 6th, 2020

National Media Recognize Sweetwater Sound, City of Fort Wayne

In light of the current challenges, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has pivoted in our national public relations strategy. Some of our key story themes continue to be relevant despite the pandemic challenges, and in other cases, we’ve put topics on the back burner and changed course. We are continually seeking and promoting stories of Northeast Indiana companies and leaders who have risen to the COVID-19 challenge in unique ways, and we have found interest from several media outlets as we continue to pitch new stories.

Through national PR firm Development Counsellors International (DCI), we recently worked with Billboard, Rolling Stone and Fodor's to place stories in these national media outlets.


Billboard contributor Chris Eggertsen wrote a story featuring Sweetwater CEO and founder Chuck Surack. This week, Billboard published a story titled, “Spotlight: Chuck Surack of Sweetwater Sound Launched an $800M Retail Operation From His Home Studio.” The article highlights Chuck’s entrepreneurial success, strong leadership and dedication to the Fort Wayne community. The reporter notes the impacts on Sweetwater’s business due to COVID-19 and emphasizes Chuck’s focus on strong customer service and treating employees with care and respect. 

Click here to find the story on

About the outlet: Billboard is written for music industry professionals and fans. It functions as a trade journal for the music and entertainment industries, and provides news, reviews, and statistics for all genres of music and related categories. Editorial features include interviews, profiles, upcoming events and international news. It has about 4,607,618 unique monthly visitors.

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone reporter Samantha Hissong wrote a piece including Sweetwater Sound. The article highlights how consumers are getting creative at home amid the pandemic, and music retailers are seeing a surge in orders and the complexity of orders. Surack is quoted multiple times throughout the article, and Sweetwater is also mentioned in the subtitle of the article.

This article tells the story of the wide-reaching success of Sweetwater and includes mention of all the hard work Surack himself is putting in at the warehouse.

About the outlet: Rolling Stone is geared toward young adults interested in news about music, entertainment and the arts. It aims to bring readers the facts about technological innovations in music equipment, audio and video, new music, and interviews with the top figures in the industry. Features include lifestyle pieces, profiles, and commentary on current events. The print edition has an audience reach of 1,475,625 and the website has about 4,610,978 unique views per month.


Fort Wayne was also featured in Fodor’s #NotBadNews round-up for Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry's "Wave Fort Wayne" initiative! Fordor's round-up article provides examples of positive news, projects or otherwise feel-good stories happening around the world despite the Coronavirus situation. The Wave Fort Wayne initiative is highlighted as one of these initiatives that bring people together safely and amid social distancing regulations. 

About the outlet: Fodor's aims to help readers unleash the possibilities of travel by providing the insights and tools they need to experience the trips they want. It offers current and discerning shopping, dining, hotel and culture recommendations, as well as compelling features and articles that convey the essence of each destination. It has about 934,000 unique monthly visitors.

In 2019, the Regional Partnership generated 202,462,378 total national media impressions for the region. We’re glad to start 2020 strong from a media relations standpoint, and we look forward to delivering more results for Northeast Indiana this year. Please reach out to Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications Kate Virag if you have questions about Northeast Indiana's national PR efforts.