Give Us A Lift? An Opportunity to Support Inside of Knoxville

Getting a Lift on Gay Street, Knoxville, August 2023
Getting a Lift on Gay Street, Knoxville, August 2023

In 2020, for the first time ever, I came to readers with a simple request: If you’d like to support Inside of Knoxville and express your appreciation for the free content that you read year-round, I’m offering you a way to do that through making a donation. It was the first time in ten years of writing that I’d expressed a willingness to accept financial support from readers. Ads, which had financed the website for the first ten years, had largely stopped during the pandemic and something had to change. Since then, I’ve returned with the same offer once each year — and this is that request.

In that first year, we did make it through. I had a few wonderful advertisers who stuck with me or returned as quickly as they were able. The donations that came in that first round allowed me to provide you with a vastly improved, professional website. I even changed the font to black for those who had complained for years about the white!

The years that have passed have been eventful. The pandemic waned, though COVID remains. The readership gains I made during my coverage of the pandemic waned, but never returned to pre-pandemic levels. In 2018 and 2019 Inside of Knoxville had about a million page views. 2021 and 2022 attracted about 1.2 million each year, and 2023 is projecting out at about 1.4 million, or almost as many as during the pandemic when I wrote two articles nearly every day.

So, clearly, the interest in all things downtown Knoxville remains as high or higher than ever. New readers are coming aboard, and many have been faithful readers from the beginning. Inside of Knoxville is now a teenager, having turned thirteen years old on June 1. They grow up fast, don’t they? Advertising has picked up, as well, though it hasn’t yet approached pre-pandemic levels. Once patterns are broken, they are hard to reestablish.

And, as we all know, inflation has impacted everything, and that includes web hosting and technical support. I’ve also added Heather to the mix and Scott McNutt continues to faithfully compile what has become a massive downtown calendar. I believe it is important that they get paid well for their hard work.

I remain determined to offer this website as a free service. I don’t want anyone to miss out on the good things happening in the city. And just to be clear: I’m not going hungry, and the website is not in danger of shutting down. It is a full-time job that I’m happy to do. I get more from the work than I give through all the amazing people I get to meet and all the great stories I get to share with all of you.

So, what does all this mean? It means that in fairness to everyone, the opportunity to be a part of supporting this work needs to be extended. I’m always happy to take on new advertisers, so if you have a business, I’d love to talk to you. Rates are on the “About” page and you can email me for more info ( If you are a reader and you like what we do, are entertained by it, or as many have told me over the years, feel it is important to the city, then please consider supporting it financially if that is within your means.

You can click this link to donate, and the link is always at the top of the page. One-time donations or recurring donations are appreciated, and major credit cards or Pay Pal may be used. Don’t want to use the donation software here? Venmo is also cool (Alan @knoxvilleurbanguy). Some readers have given every month for three years running and those monthly donations are truly sustaining. Others make annual donations when I make this request. I appreciate every single contribution to the effort and wish I could thank each of you personally.

But while I’d love to have you support the work through donating or advertising, I most want you to continue reading and to spread the word to anyone interested downtown. Tune in every day or subscribe (at the bottom section of the page) to get an email in your inbox every time something new is published. I appreciate the community of readers who love this city as much as I do. I’m excited about what comes next, and I hope you are as well.