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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2024 10:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2546
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
The page count is related to the advertising count-- the June issue of Trains that arrived today has 2 pages of non-Kalmbach ads, plus the rear cover. The advertising vanished, and the page count declined. R&R seems to have a much healthier advertising base.

The ownership listing shows a number of names from Kalmbach's past- last names that were contributors to Model Railroader, or past KPC executives and editors. Earlier versions of this showed such names as Morgan and Wescott.

Many years ago, it was mentioned by a Trains staffer that MR financially subsidized Trains for many years; Al. K. wanted to publish Trains, even though for the first 15-20 years, it was financially about a break-even at best.

Sad to see the empire of 1027 crumble like this; I agree that after Jim Wrinn was gone, it's been a pretty poor publication.

Howard P.

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2024 11:37 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 306
A challenge of a small company like this is the ownership. As each generation takes control, there are more and more owners, many with little to no interest and participation in the company. However, every owner wants their annual payments and the few actually involved tend to work hard for little more than the others.

Many small firms like this last about 3 to 4 generations before either a few family members buy everyone else out or the entire firm is sold off to someone else.

To me, the action isn't a surprise. What is a surprise is how quiet the sale went with so many people potentially involved.

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2024 1:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11603
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Nova55 wrote:
I have been told stories for years and years, from numerous people about Kalmbach and their "methods" for taking articles. Its well known they will sit on stuff for eons (some cases 10+ years) before it gets used just so they have it. I have heard cases that people have actually passed away before their submission was used.

Its pretty well known that they like to rehash old articles as well, with new photos.

The Model Railroader is no better, and has its own circle of golden children they like to pick from.

The same can not be said for RF&RR/RMC under White River. They have turned those around into first class magazines, and its a painless process writing for them, and you get to see your work in a short period of time.


Just so you're not giving a distorted picture here.........

I had occasion to dredge through the Kalmbach file library at one time ages ago doing research for a project, and I saw firsthand several of these filed-away stories. But, more specifically, they had notations on them regarding PAYMENT for the stories. In other words, David P. Morgan (at least) paid for any stories filed away. I got the impression from notes and late librarian George H. Drury that some of these stories were assignments, or stories requested by the editors of certain writers on speculation. I would easily take that against "The Black Hole of Newton," where you quickly learned never to entrust irreplaceable original slides to Jim Boyd........

As for the "golden children" moniker, I can tell you that editors and publishers EVERYWHERE will highly favor, and return repeatedly to, writers and photographers that can produce in a timely fashion or who can write entertaingly or at least coherently, AND abide by the "rules." The bane of editors' existence is potential contributors who apparently have never even read the magazine, who have no idea what kind of material they want, sending them what looks like a college paper along with an unedited, uncaptioned pack of photo prints.

The recent two decades of internet access, digital photo files (it no longer costs you 25-60 cents every time you snap the shutter on slide film, more for print priocessing), and "auto-everything" cameras with far more latitude than slide film has vastly opened up the photography submission market, and it shows vastly for Railpace Newsmagazine and R&R. Print railfanning is no longer the domain of the guy who can afford a black-and-white darkroom. But that same internet access has sadly eliminated a lot of the desire or "need" for magazines of all sorts in the first place.......


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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 11:53 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:42 am
Posts: 441
Location: Haslett, Michigan USA
I spotted the sale notice in the current issue of Trains[i], and it didn't surprise me. I do cars as well as steam engines, and I saw my subscriptions to [i]Car and Driver, Road and Track, Automobile and Autoweek go poof over the last few years. This steeled me for the incipient loss of Trains, which has been a fixture of my life since 1970.

In the 1970s, I sold David P. Morgan some opinionated garbage that embarrasses me now, some of which he printed. I knew that he was encouraging a budding writer as well as buying rights to pieces that might be placed in competing publications. At the time, in the words of a college classmate, appearing in Trains stroked my ego to a throbbing erection.

Maybe there's hope, but when I got my renewal notice that said the publisher reserves the right to reduce the number of issues per year, I didn't risk any more than a year's subscription.

I don't agree with Howie that [i]Trains[i] is a "pretty poor publication," but the falloff in page count is scary. Bill Stephens isn't John Kneiling, but he's good. He just needs a couple more co-workers. Solomon sounds too much like me to have confidence in.

Aarne Frobom
Holden Hall, Michigan State University, class of 1974


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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:40 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:23 am
Posts: 61
Aarne H. Frobom wrote:

In the 1970s, I sold David P. Morgan some opinionated garbage that embarrasses me now, some of which he printed. I knew that he was encouraging a budding writer as well as buying rights to pieces that might be placed in competing publications.




Don't be cynical. Revisionist history suggests that those articles never saw print simply simply due to an overworked editorial staff.


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 Post subject: Re: Kalmbach Mags, Trains.com Sold to Firecrown Media
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 579
Location: Bowie, MD
Somewhat off topic, but I found the following interview with the new owner with these model railroader youtubers to be quite enlightening, including their past experience in breathing new life into faded magazines, investing for the long term (did he really say they have a $bilion$ dollar family behind the business?) and investment in digital investments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mOrCTG11d4

Bob


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