Over 11 years ago, this month, every day we here have done a small story about some sort of aspect of the classic boat community. Not geeky parts info or selling boats, just silly dumb and sometimes not dumb stuff. It’s been a blast and we hope you enjoy it. But an interesting side effect has taken place. Instead of helping, is it possible that we have in a strange way caused problems with the ACBS and Chris Craft Club? Now, I am not saying they are in trouble, I don’t really know the inner workings of it all. In a recent board meeting, the ACBS is considering some dramatic cost cutting measures, and even though new members are signing up, or were, they are not renewing, and the Chirs-Craft Club Membership has dropped from when Bill Basler was building it up with the New Brass Bell Design and a more web focused club with the Boat Buzz and archive.
Printing and mailing costs of the Rudder and Brass Bell are huge. And both were part of the value proposition of both groups. And here lies the issue. WoodyBoater in many ways has replaced the content in those two magazines. Sometimes it’s redundant 3 months later. WoodyBoater, Facebook and over all the internet has done damage to the value of a printed publication.
So here I was thinking that we could help inspire new folks into the passion, to help fuel the “Younger” audience. And maybe that is the case. Clubs all across the country and world are seeing the same issues. The entire reason you join was for information and a community. That’s all free now. And so sponsors don’t see the need anymore. Now, many of the sponsors are there to support the culture not as a return on spending. that’s great if you are a large national brand. But for a local shop, not worth it.
So, I apologize, but the issue isn’t really Woody Boater or facebook, if we didn’t do it, someone else would. And this started happening years ago, and is just now becoming a reality. Newsletters have been replaced with websites, and facebook. Or is it possible that the things covered in the newsletters is not longer relevant.
In the latest issue of Classic Boating Magazine, they have figured it out. Its a magazine, which is really a book you get 4 times a year. It looks great on the coffee table and the content inside is thought through, written well and timeless. Like the article on correct engine paint colors, and wonderful images of boats. Not facebook finger in front of the dock shot stuff.
But, even if the magazine has it nailed. At some point mailing cost and printing will become over whelming and if the magazines cant get more subscribers will become un-sustainable. So, I suppose in a way we have not helped, and possibly pushed a hobby into becoming a culture. Like yesterdays new way of reporting from Dave Bortner! As odd as it may seem for a passion that spends all its passion looking backwards, from time to time, we need to look forward.