I well remember Stereophile's 20th "anniversary," which took place in 1982—also in October, according to J. Gordon Holt's memory of Vol.1 No.1's publication date. By that time I had been professionally involved with Stereophile for eight months, a period of time filled with rude awakenings. In those days, our circulation was just over 3000 compared with 65,000 today. Our most recent publishing schedule had announced ten issues a year; we had actually published two. Those were also the days of "Table of Contents" covers (you couldn't beat the price for cover art), and "typesetting" carried out on a Diablo 630 daisy-wheel printer fed by a Hewlett-Packard CP/M computer. (How many of you remember CP/M?) This was underground magazine publishing at its most subterranean.
My ambition was to actually meet our 1982 publishing schedule with ten complete issues by the end of the year. We almost made it—Vol.5 No.10 came out in January 1983. My belief was that more frequent publishing would create a situation in which the world would beat a path to Stereophile's door. My first rude awakening was that most of the high-end world thought we had ceased publication several years before. My second rude awakening was that the first noticeable effect of publishing more frequently was that subscribers' subscriptions ran out much more quickly, and circulation decreased. My third rude awakening was that a higher percentage of people renew when they have six months between issues to think about it, rather than one month; circulation decreased.
But through many serendipitous occurrences and much hard work, Stereophile was able to survive such an inauspicious anniversary—believe me, there was no banquet in 1982! We are fortunate to now be in the position to publish technically ground-breaking articles such as Rémy Fourré's in October and Robert Harley's in this issue. Such journalism represents a mighty leap for Stereophile, accomplished by John Atkinson's and Richard Lehnert's devotion to editorial quality. We're not celebrating a 31st anniversary this year in any spectacular fashion, but I feel confident that the progress Stereophile has made over the last 11 years isn't about to end.
Those same 11 years have seen much more dramatic changes in other areas. Microsoft Corporation has gone from a recently-departed-from-New-Mexico upstart software company to one of the world's most influential industrial, informational, and economic forces. Communism, an enormously important world force since the second decade of the century, has collapsed. Ancient enemies in the Middle East have tentatively gone further toward peace with one another than ever before. IBM, once the world's most profitable industrial corporation, has lost double-digit billions of dollars in the last two years. American Senators have in two years gone from attacking an upstart woman who questioned the status quo of their processes to acquiescent admiration of—almost obeisance to—a formerly ridiculed woman who is more intelligent, better informed, and more straightforward than any of them. (Actually, two women fit this description—Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
What world will our 40th anniversary see in 2002? We peer eagerly into the fog, but we know not.