Ed Ochs is editor/publisher of The ROCK website based in Morro Bay. More and more people in SLO have recently discovered The ROCK because of its piercing articles about another local website, CalCoastNews, which has published a series of unsubstantiated allegations against Supervisor Adam Hill, CAPSLO Homeless Services Director Dee Torres and CAPSLO itself that have stirred a backlash against CCN’s tactics.
Current readers of The ROCK are familiar with Ochs’ series of in-depth articles about PG&E’s proposed high-energy seismic test in Estero Bay last year, which was shot down by the California Coastal Commission in November, but not many people are aware of his background and the unique skill set he brings to Central Coast journalism.
Ochs moved to Los Osos in 2005 following a career in the entertainment business as an editor and writer. He started out as R&B editor and rock columnist for Billboard Magazine in New York, where his columns and reviews were the most widely read features in the music business for years.
He moved out to LA in the ‘70s and worked as creative service director with Playboy Records and west coast PR director for MCA/Infinity Records before returning to Billboard as Editorial Director of Special Issues in charge of art and editorial for an average of 60 specials issues of a year on a wide variety of topics and talent. During that time, he worked on projects with Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Quincy Jones and Alice Cooper, and earned Billboard’s award for editorial excellence.
Following Billboard, he was US editor of London-based Music Business International, wrote for the Hollywood Reporter, and co-wrote the popular pre-MTV cable TV show “New Wave Theatre,” which became a launch pad for LA’s top new rock talent.
When Ochs moved to Los Osos in ‘05 he thought he was settling down to write books and enjoy the coast, but his life took a sharp turn when the Los Osos Wastewater Project came to town. Ochs created The ROCK to challenge the absence of a Prop 218 — the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act” – vote on the sewer. He gave the county fits, interviewing more than a dozen experts who rebutted the county’s direction on the sewer, and papering the town with the printed edition of The ROCK, which included provocative cartoons he called “Political Sports” (co-created with his writer son Aaron who also designed The ROCK’s website and is its managing editor).
When it became evident that the county was intent on building the most expensive sewer in Los Osos, Ochs and his family moved out of the area for awhile, but they couldn’t stay away, returning to Morro Bay and relaunching The ROCK in 2012. The reaction was almost instantaneous. It’s easy to tell Ochs is an experienced writer; he has a sharp eye, colourful style and a flair for people, and he is equally at home writing profiles, reviewing music acts or doing investigative journalism, which is what makes The ROCK so interesting to follow.
What does Ochs enjoy writing about the most? In the past couple of years he has written two books, the fictional “This Rock Can Talk” and memoir “Freedom Spy” – both about the power of rock ‘n’ roll to create change.