By Don Moore, F154921
Since its first appearance in 1964, Family Motor Coaching has been an important part of Family Motor Coach Association. The founders of the association realized that communication with the membership was vital, and the magazine was and still is a great way to stay in touch.
The first issue of the magazine was published under the leadership of Robert Richter, L1, who lived in Hanson, Massachusetts. After Mr. Richter organized and produced much of the content, the magazine was typeset at one location 45 miles away, the camera work was completed somewhere else, and the whole thing was pasted up in Mr. Richter’s cellar. Dick Parece, F22, was in charge of printing the magazine, which took place in his basement, also 45 miles from the Richters’ home. The finished product was then assembled at the home of Doc Whiting, F7, where volunteers gathered around a pool table to fold and collate the pages.
The crazy schedule involved in putting together the magazine that first year was reflected in the dates of the publication. The first one carried the full date of February 15, 1964; Volume 2 was labeled June 1964; and Volume 3 read Fall 1964.
The magazine appeared as a quarterly until February 1971, when it became a bimonthly. In January 1978 it became a monthly publication.
The current look of the magazine was unveiled with the July 1995 issue. It included a new nameplate for the magazine cover, new fonts for the text to improve readability, and new headings for the columns. Prior to that, new headings for the columns were adopted in 1988, but the Family Motor Coaching nameplate wasn’t changed at that time. They stuck with the nameplate that dated back to August 1977.
In the second quarter of 2007 you will see a big change in Family Motor Coaching. It will look different, with different column heading designs, type fonts, and page layouts. It’s undergoing what the magazine industry calls a redesign.
This is the first redesign we’ve done in 11 years. We all realize that some members like the magazine just the way it is and would prefer that we not change anything. We appreciate that, but we must keep up with the times. We produce the premier motorhome magazine in the RV industry, but we are in competition with other RV publications and with the Internet. The redesign will give the magazine a fresh, new look that will entice both readers and advertisers.
We have a diverse readership that encompasses men and women of various age groups and stages in life. These include young families, singles, and couples who are still working; empty-nesters who are on the verge of retirement; and many who have retired and have chosen motorhome travel as their lifestyle. The updated design should allow the magazine to have more of an impact and make the reading experience even more satisfying. We want the magazine’s new look to be something that members enjoy and also are proud to share with other motorhome owners who are not yet familiar with FMCA.
Family Motor Coaching magazine has a professional staff of 15 full-time employees. We use state-of-the-art computer equipment in producing the magazine and provide electronic files to the printing company, which operates in a computer-to-plate production environment. In addition to the magazine staff, we have a number of valuable contributing writers. We also have a number of advertising sales representatives based in various parts of the United States who contribute to the financial success of the magazine.
The staff has been interested in doing this redesign for some time, but the busy production schedule they face prevented them from moving forward. So, for the first time, we’re using a firm that specializes in magazine design, the Bates Creative Group, to spearhead the effort. This magazine design firm is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and has more than 18 years of experience in developing award-winning publications for both commercial and nonprofit organizations. They were chosen from among several firms that sent us proposals. Two members of the team, including the owner of the firm, visited our national office this past September and spent a day with several of the magazine staff, to gather information about our association and the magazine.
Sometimes we don’t agree with changes, but I believe the magazine’s redesign will be a good change. If you think about it, folks in my age group have seen lots of changes throughout our lives.
Many of you may be familiar with the essay “For All Those Born Before 1945” that is widely circulated via the Internet. I’m not sure who wrote the essay, but it sure points out a long list of changes witnessed by those of us born before 1945. If, like me, you were born before 1945, you were born before Xerox copies, Frisbees, polio shots, credit cards, laser beams, and ballpoint pens; before pantyhose, home dishwashers, clothes dryers, and electric blankets; before man walked on the moon; before computer dating, dual careers, and commuter marriages; before day-care centers, group therapy, and nursing homes. We have seen the arrival of FM radio, tape decks, and now CD and MP3 players; electronic typewriters, word processors, then personal computers. Consider the advancements we have witnessed in the medical field. When we were younger, a nickel or dime could buy an ice cream cone, or get you a ride on a streetcar, let you make a phone call, buy a soft drink, or purchase enough stamps to mail a letter and two postcards.
Look at the changes in telephones in our lifetime. When I was a child we had a wooden box-type phone that hung on the wall, and used a crank on the side to call our friends and neighbors. Now most all of us carry a very small cell phone with us all the time. In 1956 the U.S. interstate highway system was started. It’s now impossible to imagine our nation without the mobility afforded by those almost 50,000 miles of high-speed interstates. I, for one, take full advantage of those roads when traveling to FMCA international conventions, area rallies, chapter gatherings, and more, all in our motorhome.
I could go on and on with changes, and I’m sure you could add some to the list, too. Our generation has seen a lot of changes, and we have survived. Now let’s celebrate and look forward to the changes in the soon-to-be-updated Family Motor Coaching magazine. Check out the cover of this month’s magazine, as well as the very last page of the issue for a fun look back at the changing faces of the magazine throughout the years.
Happy trails, and happy 2007!