There’s something that just didn’t sink in as I interviewed CQ editor Rich Moseson W2VU at the Orlando HamCation for this episode. CQ is in trouble, and advertising is the problem. Or rather, lack of it. Rich said that while subscriber numbers are important, the real revenue comes from ads, and the ham radio manufacturers and retailers that had been buying the ads in the magazine can’t afford to buy them, or as many of them, today.
Subscriber numbers bring in advertisers, of course, but if the companies can’t afford the ads, it doesn’t matter. And I got that, for a minute or two, but then I sort of lost the concept. But the bigger connection I didn’t make until maybe the 10th time I watched the interview (yes, I do that, because I like to hear myself talk) was that ads in the digital version of the magazine are an even tougher sell. So if CQ were to go all-digital to save printing and postage, it wouldn’t help enough. They’d make even less money because they wouldn’t get many of the ads that they do get now. At least that’s my takeaway.
It’s not just CQ and ham radio – digital media, including print, audio and video, isn’t valued as much as “traditional” media, even if the audience is the same. I’m no expert in this, but that’s the conventional wisdom I read in the trades.
One other thing to consider before you watch the episode is that sub-$50 Chinese HT you marvel at. They don’t advertise or support ham radio in any way other then selling you a radio for peanuts. Some of their distributors are beginning to advertise for them, but the companies themselves are still mostly a cypher here in the US. I’m just sayin’….
There’s more from Orlando at HamRadioNow.tv.
73, Gary KN4AQ