Re: Demise of RMC?
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I know we're all risking the gallows for talking about this, but since RMC is a magazine of choice for most of the RPM community because of its steady flow of quality STMFC content, I'd like to add a few thoughts. Ten years of my life was spent with Carstens as a stafffer and three times that long as a contributor, so I've got a lot of heart and soul in that place, and many personal relationships.
Rumors of its demise are exagerated. Times have been tough and there are reorganization plans in the works that could take on a few forms. Please be patient, but the next few weeks are significant. The appreciation of the venerable title of RMC is not lost in the reorganization.
Yes, there is more information flowing in far more outlets then ever in our field, and yes that in every area the print media is evolving in the world of electronic distribution. Wise business people are learning how to comingle print and digital media rather than to compete against digital.
I've presided over an NRHS Chapter for 20 years, and from that perch I'll also venture that the model railroad hobby is still growing. The Thomas generation is getting old enough to buy train sets and many of today's railroad buffs are getting some of their jollies on line with hours of model railroad videos on youtube, facebook and elsewhere. While the ranks of the traditional model railroad clubs are thinning through attrition, there are other forms that are popping up. One growing area is the Train Sim crowd, building pikes and creating equipment in MicroSoft Train Simulator. A couple of our members are quietly recreating long-lost and abandoned railroads full size with actual scenery and grades, and designing proper equipment for that territory and swapping files.
Any future venture of any kind in our field is going to need a digital presence. While I wouldn't say our Chapter has the best web site in the field, I do keep up a good facebook presence and through that we've raised more than $40k in contributions and grants for restoration projects, a great amount of excitement that gets the computer crowd trackside when something unusual comes through, and even the young kids (14 and up) are getting out to scrape paint and learn about working on the real stuff, and riding the caboose, bunny and Santa Trains. Our members are building a three-rail, two-level pike in our Lackawanna baggage car, and a couple of the youngins are helping with that. Granted, North Jersey is the mostly densely populated part of America. But while the kids are coming out and watching trains and looking at model railroad videos on their smart phones, I'm not sure the NRHS Chapters and traditional model railroad clubs are going to survive as the dues go up to keep up with rising rents and insurance costs. The NRHS will be bankrupt in two years if it doesn't make some radical changes soon. In our area the larger private model railroads all need operators, and I'd guess that more modelers are operating those than at model railroad clubs. Since those are not open to the public, it requires a certain amount of social interaction to be invited. On a personal side, many of the resin kits I've built are running on private railroads. I don't expect to build my own railroad until the Railroad Retirement Board sends along my "cash for clunkers."
The hobby is evolving. Without getting into why RMC is reorganizing or what the employees are going through, it does look like the magazine and its philosophy on content will continue.
....Mike Del Vecchio
From: Tom Baker bakert@... [STMFC]
Sent: Fri, Aug 8, 2014 12:30 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Demise of RMC?
Tim and Dave,
Well, you are certainly right about change in delivery of information
media, but it does seem to me that fewer of us are out there in all
scales. I know of three railroad historical societies--and there may be
others I don't know of--that have gone to the E-zine format, a very good
idea, I think. I also know of several societies that have experienced a
drop in membership due to the passing of their members.
Then there is an interesting shift among occurring among the hi-rail
crowd, a push toward greater prototype accuracy. I am no hi-railer, but
I will have to admit that even the 3-rail manufacturers have produced
some great looking prototype locomotives. Problem is these guys still
are not at the level of accuracy we scalers want, and that is true
especially with the freight cars that come off the line: They're better
than those truncated things, the 6464-series box cars for example, but
have a long way to go before the product would satisfy us even if we
were in O gauge.
Another issue is that fewer and fewer scale modelers are building cars.
My HO modeling friend surmises that many of those Sunshine kits sit on
modelers shelves in the basement, attic, or garage and there they stay.
He is probably right.
> I don't think it is demographics at all -- In the 1960's when I was a
> teenager, my Dad got Trains, Model Railroader and RMC. And there were a
> few hundred published books, with some prototype railroads having 15 or
> even 20 titles! My Dad had maybe 30 or 40 books including Car Builder Cycs.
> By the 1990's we also had Mainline Modeler, Model Railroading, and Railmodel
> Journal. And new publishers cranking out new books every week. Usually more
> than several every week. Heck we're up to issue #28 of the RP Cyclopedia!
> Now we have modeling ezines from historical societies, more books than ever,
> and tens of thousands of blogs, web sites, photo sites, archival sites, etc.
> People have collections of hundreds of books and special publications.
> I subscribe to RMC and I enjoy the magazine but really, in this hurricane
> of railroad and modeling information that we live in, will we really feel
> at all deprived without it? Some months I have no time to read even one
> It's not demographics -- it's information overload!
> Tim O'Connor
>> Although I had no idea of failed payments to authors and photographers,
>> I have wondered what is happening at RMC. First we lose Mainline Modeler
>> and now maybe RMC. I haven't figured out what exactly causes the muted
>> draw Model Railroader has for me, but its draw is definitely muted. The
>> series of articles by Ted Culotta and Clark Probst were really a big
>> draw for me, and I don't even model in HO, but in S. I saw the material
>> on S in the June issue a bit in the way of filler but still helpful. I
>> hope we do not lose RMC, but I cannot halt the forward and inexorable
>> march of demographics.
>> Tom Baker
> Posted by: Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...>
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