By Bradford Koshland, F313666
As the new executive director of FMCA, one of my responsibilities is to write a commentary each month for FMC magazine. Last month I wrote a little something about my background, how I became a member of FMCA, and my experiences with the weather in Cincinnati. I will continue to write articles throughout the year informing you of events and changes occurring at FMCA, my traveling experiences, and, most importantly, topics I believe are of concern to you.
I have just returned from our successful 85th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase in Perry, Georgia, and was able to meet many fellow FMCA members while there. I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to meeting me but for whatever reason was not able to do so. Perhaps we’ll be able to meet in person at some place and time in the future. I will be attending several area rallies this year in hopes of meeting many more FMCA members.
As you know, we have begun to feature members of our staff each month in a new segment of FMC magazine titled “Employee Spotlight.” This segment will continue for some time until we feature all of the staff. This is one good way for you, the members, to get to know the staff on a more personable level.
One thing that I have come to realize since being in Cincinnati and talking with many of our membership is that many do not know the extent of the work that occurs here in Cincinnati. In order to shed more light on the operation of FMCA, I thought it would be a good idea for each department director to write a little something about his or her background and to explain the responsibilities associated with their position and how the staff plays a key role in what gets accomplished. I have asked Pamela Kay, director of communications, to start this off. After reading her segment, I think that you will be amazed, as I have been, as to the work it takes to produce and publish our magazine each and every month, along with the many other projects that take place within this department. And I think you would all agree that our magazine is something of which we should be extremely proud.
And, until next month, safe travels.
By Pamela Kay
Director Of Communications, Publishing
As a journalism major in college, when I selected a course of study, I chose the magazine sequence, with concentrations in business and English. Little did I realize that this choice ultimately would lead to a career in the RV industry. Not long after I graduated, I happened upon an ad placed by an association publication in Anderson Township, a suburb of Cincinnati not far from my hometown. That publication was Family Motor Coaching magazine, and they were seeking to fill an entry-level editorial assistant position. Turns out that even though my peers and I were facing one of the worst job markets in history, the RV industry was emerging from the recession ahead of the curve, and Family Motor Coach Association and its official publication were growing so rapidly that they needed an extra pair of hands “” and eyes “” for all of the editing and proofreading work.
My studies had left me well-prepared for magazine work in the “real world,” but I had a great deal to learn about the RV industry. My experience was limited to a couple of camping trips with my family in a pickup truck camper and with my best friend’s family in their pop-up, but I had no clue as to the magnitude of the RV industry, nor did I know about the luxuries that were available to folks fortunate enough to be traveling by motorhome! My work at FMCA began almost 28 years ago. During that time I’ve learned quite a bit about the RV industry and along the way have developed a deep affection for the association; its members; and “” undoubtedly “” its magazine.
Of course, I’m not the only one who loves Family Motor Coaching magazine. When surveyed, FMCA members have consistently ranked the magazine as their favorite benefit of membership. It’s certainly one of the most tangible benefits “” appearing in your mailbox each month.
This month Brad has asked me to share with you a little bit about my journey, and a behind-the-scenes look at the Communications Department, the team of staff members at the national office who are responsible for creating this monthly publication and also for developing other visual and written communications for the association.
The process of creating the magazine involves staff members in the areas of editorial, art, advertising sales, and production. In addition to me, the department director, the Communications Department currently has three staff members in the editorial area, four in the art area, and four in the advertising sales and production area. One of the advertising sales staff members also has duties in the Convention/Commercial Services Department. These days, the in-house sales team maintains responsibility for all magazine advertising sales, as well as convention and online sales efforts.
Staff members oversee the creation of the magazine each month from its conception to its arrival in your mailboxes. Looking at the end product, it may seem simple, but it takes a considerable amount of detailed, day-to-day work to bring each month’s magazine to life.
Perhaps the best place to start in describing the process is with advertising sales. As with most print publications, the amount of advertising sold for each issue dictates the size of FMC magazine. More advertising sales translates to more editorial pages that can be delivered to readers. So, sales staff members continually call on current and potential advertising clients to discuss their marketing plans and how FMCA fits into them. As you can imagine, this has been extra challenging in the past few years given the impact of the economy on the RV industry.
Over the years, revenue generated by the magazine has made it possible for FMCA to fund other member benefits and to maintain low membership dues. So, decreased advertising revenue in the past few years has impacted more than just the magazine. Even so, the association owes a debt of gratitude to the many companies that have supported the magazine as well as FMCA’s conventions and, more recently, the association’s Web sites “” FMCA.com and FMCmagazine.com.
It is worth noting that FMC readers spend considerable time perusing the advertisements that appear in the magazine (far more time than magazine industry averages). These ads help readers keep abreast of offerings in the motorhome industry, and association members have proven that they respond to these advertisers by purchasing the motorhomes and related products and services that are promoted.
Of course, the editorial content is vital to the magazine as well. Information exchange was a goal of FMCA’s founding families, and it remains a fundamental premise of the magazine’s mission today. Developing a winning mix of material can be a challenge given the diversity of the magazine’s readership.
While FMCA members are united by the fact that each family owns a motorhome, beyond that, interests diverge. FMCA members own type A, B, and C motorhomes, as well as coach conversions. So, the size, price range, and equipment in these vehicles vary widely. Beyond the vehicle itself, readers are fairly evenly divided between male and female, with 92 percent of members indicating that they are married, and they encompass various age groups. They hail from various parts of the North American continent and beyond. Many are retired, but some are working full-time or part-time. Their occupations (current and former) run the gamut. Their skill level in terms of the mechanics of their motorhomes ranges from the very hands-on and knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer, who likely could take a motorhome apart and put it back together again, to those who are hands-off and depend on service facilities to do all of their work. The editorial staff endeavors to supply material to meet various needs and interests.
The majority of this material is provided by FMCA members and other freelance writers who enjoy the RV lifestyle, but editorial staff members write articles also. All material is checked for grammar, spelling, and proper flow, as well as factual accuracy.
The graphic artists add their expertise by melding words, photographs, and other elements to create the final package. The graphic artists digitally prepare each individual page “” advertising and editorial “” to meet the printer’s direct-to-plate needs and then upload the pages to the printer’s Web site. The staff at the printer in Wisconsin takes over from there, and in a couple of weeks they have brought together digital files; ink; paper; and the latest printing, binding, and mailing technology to manufacture and distribute a great magazine.
While this monthly creation occupies a large percentage of time for the Communications Department staff members, this isn’t their only project. Department members assist with other written and visual communications of the association, such as the convention program and convention-related artwork; the membership application and membership renewal forms; area rally artwork and ads; area rally program prepress preparation; fliers of all sorts, etc. The list is quite long, and all of this work must be sandwiched between magazine-related duties. Department members also assist with the organization’s public and media relations efforts.
Two groups of FMCA members work closely with the professional magazine staff and contribute to the success of the publication. Members of the Technical Advisory Committee review all technical material before it appears in the magazine to help to ensure accuracy and relevancy for readers, a concept that has worked for many years. The committee doesn’t ever hold formal meetings, but its members provide a valuable service to the association.
The other group of members who works with the magazine staff is the Magazine Panel. Panel members review each issue of the magazine and also are asked to talk about the magazine with fellow members they meet in their travels and then pass along any suggestions to the staff. During each FMCA convention, members from these two groups gather with magazine staff to share ideas and become better acquainted. These gatherings also allow members to glean knowledge they can then share with other FMCA members they meet in their travels.
Speaking of people we meet in our travels, don’t forget that the magazine serves as an excellent recruitment tool for new members, with some saying that the magazine alone makes the FMCA dues worthwhile. So, when you encounter motorhome owners in your travels, pass along your copy of FMC magazine. Or take their names and addresses and contact the FMCA national office and ask the Member Services Department staff to send them a prospective member kit, which includes a copy of the magazine. Another way to introduce folks to the magazine is to have them sign up for a trial copy at FMCmagazine.com/sample. We can always use more motorhoming friends! So, share your enthusiasm for FMCA.
Welcome New Members
FMCA extends the hand of friendship to the 730 new members who joined the association during the month of March. Welcome to the family. The last membership number assigned was 421097.