I always look forward to receiving my QST and CQ magazines each month, and I dutifully run to the CQ web site every month when the latest PDF of Worldradio News is made available for download. I really do enjoy reading about our hobby and appreciate the authors who contribute to these publications (for very little money in return). Shoot, I even study the ads, including those that have not changed in decades. (Why do some vendors insist on showing the faces of every radio by every manufacturer, as if we make our purchasing decisions based on those tiny thumbnails? And will MFJ ever change the full-page Hy-Gain rotator ad?)
However, as I opened the current edition of CQ, I could not help but notice that the lead article is about all the new gear unveiled at Dayton this year. Dayton. As in May! And it’s August. We once took such delay in a story’s content as the norm. It is, after all, the nature of the magazine publishing biz that there must be considerable lead time.
But as I read the short writeup on the Elecraft KX3, I recalled that there was a YouTube video posted way back on May 20 featuring Wayne Burdick K6XR giving a very enlightening ten-minute demo of this interesting bit of kit. In color. With sound. Old news in CQ? I’m afraid so.
ARRL recently did a major update on their web site, but it is still clunky and hard to navigate. It does offer some video (welcome to the 21st century) and plenty of archived articles and reviews, all of which is much more current, colorful, and searchable than the magazine could ever be. CQ is also trying, buying World Radio News and offering it as a free download.
But I have to worry that the day will come when it is no longer economically feasible to mail me a magazine every month. I still prefer taking that paper-and-stapled pub out on the deck to read, or to Subway at lunch to peruse while I enjoy my Black Forest ham sandwich.
Won’t happen, you say? The traditional magazine will never go away. Okay, can I see your latest copy of Look or Life? Mind if I borrow your Saturday Evening Post?
I rest my case. Truth is, media consumers want their content in a wide variety of ways, and will choose such media on three primary criteria: 1) How easy it is to consume in all those myriad ways, 2) How compelling the content is, and 3) How cheap it is to access.
I’m afraid that does not bode well for QAT and CQ.
Don Keith N4KC