You Did It! (When Is a Change of Schedule Not a Change?)

Ever since Vol.6 No.3 was published in August of 1983, Stereophile has been the leading subjective review magazine in terms of circulation. At that juncture our circulation was 12,000 and has now increased to 15,000. And it's all your fault!

I would like to particularly thank all the faithful subscribers who have been with Stereophile since way back. That core of readers has supported this magazine both morally and financially through some real hard times. Starting with JGH's move to Santa Fe in 1978, issues of your favorite magazine came few and far between. Three "quarterly" issues (Vol.4 Nos.4, 5, and 6) came out in a two-year period, at which time the schedule was changed to "ten" issues per year—actually, per subscription. Vol.4 Nos.7, 8, 9, and 10 came out also over a two-year period, for an average of two a year from 1978 through '81. Unfortunately, these issues were small and their delivery irregular.

In many quarters it was thought that Stereophile (and rumor had it, J. Gordon Holt) was indeed going all too far underground. In some sectors of the subjective reviewing field this event was welcomed—even promoted. At Consumer Electronics Shows, surprise was registered when Stereophile showed up—"You mean you're still in business?!"

Nor was the change wrought in early 1982, when I took over as publisher, a particularly dramatic one. The format remained dry and the issues small. Nevertheless, we were able to publish nine issues that first year, which is, to the best of my knowledge, a record for "underground" audio magazines—in frequency, if not in number of pages. Still, our rate of renewal (which is the lifeblood of any magazine) was shooting up dramatically. And many of those subscribers were renewing for two or three years at a time, providing the magazine with the cash to stay in business. To these people I particularly express my thanks—they banked money on what, from its extensive history, could hardly be seen as a good risk.

The days of questioned existence are finally over. Our numerous subscribers (who I hope will soon exceed 20,000) have seen to that. You really do everything on this magazine: you persuade manufacturers to turn over their valuable and expensive products to the clutches of ravenous reviewers, with uncertain destiny; you attract advertisers, whose well spent moneys serve to keep the price of each Stereophile reasonable while the amount of information and number of pages increase; you write in to express your views on all manner of subject; you are are our reason for existence.

Lest this paean of praise become too unbounded, let me remind you. of your responsibilities. First, you must constantly write to us expressing your opinions of our reviews, correct our erroneous facts, and curb our wayward tendencies. Second, and foremost, you must renew your subscriptions! And for multiple years, if possible (on a base note, I might note that those who have renewed early and long are getting an unbelievably good deal). Third, you must enjoy yourselves listening to music, both recorded and live, and, spend as much time reading about this wonderful pasttime as you can spare from your music listening! Happy trails to you.

When Is A Change In Schedule Not A Change?

In 1982, Stereophile came out nine times, Vol.5, Nos.1–9, a total of 344 pages. In 1983 we've published Vol.5, No.10 and Vol.6 Nos.1–6, for seven issues and 452 pages. Although both years set a frequency record for "underground" audio magazines (except for IAR Hotline, perhaps), neither year met our announced schedule of 10 issues per year.

We've decided to drop the fiction, and make an honest magazine of ourselves. Stereophile will now appear eight times a year—every month and a half, twice a quarter. And you can hold us to it! Each of these eight issues will be larger than we've been, that is, 80 pages or more.

Coincident with this change will be a reduction in subcription term, from 10 to eight, and a reduction in annual subscription price from $20 to $18. But never fear: all current subscribers will receive every issue they've paid for. For those who subscribed years in advance, that's a big bonus! 30 issues just became almost 4 years, with an even greater number of pages per year.

We were actually reluctant to make this change, but there were many factors:

1: Our staff and level of organization just isn't up to getting a magazine to the printer every month or five weeks.

2: The rush to press sometimes has compromised the certainty with which we report.

3: There are significant economies in publishing fewer times, even with a greater number of total pages.

4: The publisher wants to do what he says he'll do—he'd better say he's going to do something that's possible.

As a further confusing technicality, we've decided to terminate Volume 6 with this issue. Volume 7 will number 8 issues, all to come out in 1984; Volume 8, 1985, etc. So please don't ask what happened to Vol.6 Nos.7, '8, '9, and '10! Accordingly, expire codes will be changed to reflect the fact that Vol.6 Nos.7–10 don't exist. If you previously expired with Vol.6 No.8 ("608" expire code) you will now expire with Vol.7 No.2 ("702" expire code).

This will seem like a big mess for a couple of issues, but we'll repeat this message several times. Even more important, the change will benefit you, the subscriber: Stereophile will test and report on more products each year, run more special features, and arrive on a more reliable schedule.