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For RW, Readers Have Their Own Designs

Most Reactions to New Look Are Favorable, But With Vocal Dissent

This is the third issue of Radio World with our “new look.” Overall reader reaction to the design change has been positive, though with vocal dissent.

“Congratulations on the new look,” says Thomas Mintner, president of manufacturer NTI Americas. “I know it takes a lot of work for something like this.”

Mintner has doubts about our new logo, which he thinks feels a little cheap: “Perhaps something in the nature of the font and the outline line thickness? Looks like a cross between the font used on the interstate highway system for informational signs and something from an Asian consumer magazine ad. I don’t see why a more professional-looking update of the existing logo wouldn’t have worked as well. But I’m sure that’s the least of your worries these days.”

He loves the paper stock, a comment we’ve heard from others as well.

“And the content — after all, the most important thing — in both RW and RWEE are setting new highs. Skip Pizzi’s well-written ‘come over or back to reality’ piece on royalties will probably stir up the troops but is right on. And we constantly appreciate you also keeping the RWEE version on a high technical and practical broadcast craft level.”

At WRNJ(AM) in New Jersey, Larry Tighe spares no feelings:

Gasp, it’s awful! Looked like a cheap throwaway advertising circular. And what’s with no letters to the editor in the back? Good heavens, don’t you know all your readers go there first and then filter through the articles? I want it the way it was.”

Don’t worry about the letters, Larry. I consider the strong Reader’s Forum content to be one of my most important contributions as editor over the years and it’s not going anywhere. Letters give way occasionally if space is tight and a commentary article occupies that space; but the current issue is more typical, with a mix of both.

* * *

Another reader who was entertained if not impressed is Joe Brosk at WTOJ(FM) in Watertown, N.Y.

“Paul, I just got my ‘new and improved’ copy of Radio World and immediately turned to your column for an explanation. The laughter began when I read, ‘The pages are more open.’ Que? Then I read, ‘Our text is easier to follow.’ The laughter continued as my eyes jumped all over the page, trying to find where the text continued, only to be misdirected by another old RW cover. ‘This is funny!’ I thought to myself. ‘That same sense of humor RW usually reserves for April Fool’s Day is alive and well in July.'”

After continuing to read the issue, Joe wrote, “I found it was still filled with the same high-quality, thought-provoking industry articles I’ve come to anticipate. Excellent. Then, on a whim, I grabbed the June 17 issue and compared your columns side-by-side. It was as I suspected. Radio World followed the cellphone model by making the important stuff smaller and harder to see. I refer, of course, to your picture.

“Best of luck with the new format … but now I have to get new reading glasses!”

But most comments I received were positive, if briefer.

Don Kennedy of “Big Band Jump” in Atlanta likes the quality of our new paper and the fresh masthead, which he feels make the format immediately attractive.

“But the best part is the size. It’s so much more convenient to read, somehow more solid. The only suggestion would be to put color in the front-page word ‘radio,’ for the word tends to disappear as it is now.”

Don adds: “In whatever form, Radio World is a valued asset to any business connected with electronic communication. We look forward to every issue, particularly zooming in on commentaries, which tend to give us a broader view.”

* * *

Brian Preston at Spectrum Communications in Moses Lake, Wash., said he “loves” the layout, though he also asks, “Why do companies always insist on changing or redesigning their logo? Look at Pepsi, Burger King, Best Western. All have redesigned their logos over and over. On the other hand … what is the most recognized logo in the world? Coca-Cola. The same logo for all these years.

“I get tired of this new and improved. Just pick one logo and stick with it. You’d be amazed at the results.”

“Kudos on Radio World’s brand-new look,” writes Bill Diehl, entertainment correspondent for ABC News Radio in New York. His reaction was brief and to the point: “The slightly smaller size and easier-to-read layout scores a hit.”

And supportive words come from Thom Price, director of programming for EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network in Irondale, Ala., who said the new look is “great.” He adds: “As a long-time reader, I had to smile looking at the covers of 1977 (an ad for a CBS Audimax) and 1986 (Fidelipac carts). Compared with this week’s cover story on the Zune … who would have dreamed?”

Thanks, Thom. I too enjoy flipping through old issues; I have a full bound set a few feet from me in my office and sometimes I do just that.

By the way, we inadvertently swapped two captions for those issues in my July 1 column. Did you notice? The captions for the years 1996 and 2003 were reversed.

Personally, I’m particularly pleased with the change in paper stock. I like how it improves our graphics and also makes the advertisements “pop.” That’s an important consideration because those ads allow us to bring our content to you in the first place.

And I find it notable that our publishers have invested labor and money in making RW’s print product better. At a time when many publications are cutting and gutting, this seems to me to be an important statement about NewBay’s commitment to the radio broadcast industry.

As always, my e-mail is open for your comments. Write to [email protected].