Interesting Development At Model Railroader

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Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby CNJ999 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:25 pm

News has leaked out over the weekend that Model Railroader magazine's editor, Neil Besoughloff, has either suddenly retired, or been let go, depending on what version of the story one reads. He is the third editor to go at the magazine since around the year 2000, perhaps in response to the Kalmbach Head Office's dismay over MR's steadily declining readership figures. Most longtime readers do agree that today's version of the magazine is decidedly less worthy than what was available prior to the shake-up at the turn of the millennium, when not only the editor but a host of the magazine's real writing and modeling talent were replaced virtually overnight!

The biggest mistake Kalmbach has been making in recent years may well be putting people who are not seriously into scale model railroading at the magazine's helm. Neil came over from Kalmbach's Garden Railroading magazine, if I recall correctly, while his predecessor was a transfer from Classic Toy Trains. Differing aspects of the overall hobby need actual participants in that specialty in lead positions to do a really good job. Strictly in my own opinion and if he were willing, David Popp, currently associated with Model Railroader's Video Plus venture would be the ideal choice to take over at MR. He has proven himself a talented creator, planner and a first class N-scale modeler, especially when judged against the other members of MR's current editorial staff.

However, word is that MR's new editor will be one Hal Miller, a name that I cannot even identify, or in any way link with the hobby so far! Thus, it will be interesting to see how his attempts fare at righting the ship in coming months. Will it prove yet another in a long line of mistakes on Kalmbach's part? Stay tuned! :wink:

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader - Follow-up

Postby CNJ999 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:50 pm

It is interesting to additionally note that the post originally reporting Model Railroader's editoral change over on Kalmbach's MR Forum was deleted rather hurriedly after little more than 24 hours by the forum's host. A follow-up reader's post simply inquiring why it was necessary to delete the original and repeating the gist of the first post was summarily delete Monday without comment! No further comment has been allowed to appear. This is the typical practice of MR, not allowing anything but glorious praise of the magazine, its content, or staff to appear...a long tradition with MR! :wink:

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:00 pm

The print issue for Aug '17 of MR still shows Neil as the editor,Mr Miller is a Managing Editor.
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby CNJ999 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:04 am

Backshophoss wrote:The print issue for Aug '17 of MR still shows Neil as the editor,Mr Miller is a Managing Editor.


Yes, this seems to have been very much a hush-hush move on Kalmbach's part. One firsthand report concerning this even indicated that it came as a surprise and without any warning to Neil! Under such circumstances you'll likely see no further official mention of the transfer of power (probably sweetened up in just how it transpired) before the September, or October, issue of Model Railroader Magazine. Having an association with a popular hobby magazine myself, I can tell you that such surprise staff changes are becoming increasingly more common in the industry these days as sales and interest in printed publications continues to decline.

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby FLRailFan1 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:29 pm

I think young people aren't buying magazines as they look for information online. Also, Model Railroader is not as good as Railroad Model Craftman​ now.
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby CNJ999 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:51 am

FLRailFan1 wrote:I think young people aren't buying magazines as they look for information online. Also, Model Railroader is not as good as Railroad Model Craftman​ now.


Agreed, but although younger individuals virtually live their lives via the electronic media and thus one might anticipate such younger hobbyists to gravitate to Model Railroader's electronic on-line version (something not even available for MRC as far as I know), that looks to be in trouble as well. It's gained only a minimal share of the hobby market after several years of availability and I get e-mails at least once or twice a week encouraging me to subscribe...but I never would. None the less, the on-line and perhaps more importantly total subscription-free MRH monthly electronic "magazine" has garnered somewhat over 50k readers in less than half a dozen years. That says a lot.

I will definitely agree with you that MR's content has grown markedly weaker and less worth its subscription price over the years for anyone other than perhaps mainly entry-level newbies, for years avoiding material for more advanced hobbyists. And articles such as this month's "Layout in a Weekend" are often almost laughable, as well as highly misleading. In that case the author has accomplished little more than laying some track on a narrow 80" shelf layout. Next month he plans to add buildings...he already has built from for a previous layout. That's hardly inspiring in my book, nor how the newbie is going to approach the situation. Old Al Kalmbach must be rolling over in his grave!

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby ConstanceR46 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:22 pm

Honestly MR has been getting less good. The reviews just say "oh wow this is good"; i've never seen a negative one. The forums are another circle of hell, with everybody expecting everybody to buy brass or expensive engines and trash-talking anything affordable without using it. It's all snobs.
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby CNJ999 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:06 am

Well...the October issue of MR finally mentions the change of the magazine's editorship from Neil Bessougloff to Hal Miller, who previously was the magazine's managing editor.

The magazine's rep over on the MR Forum is still reticent to offer much information about the changeover. Personally his brief posts give me the impression that things are very confused and perhaps in turmoil at the magazine's HQ. Certainly their monthly video preview/intro to the latest edition to the magazine seems for the moment to have evaporated, along with possibly a couple of other of their long running subscriber-only video features. I would add that Mr. Miller's is a totally unfamiliar name to me within the hobby community as a modeler of any note and it absolutely boggles my mind that Kalmbach keeps choosing people who lack a truly broad background in the HO hobby to head up their flagship publication.

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby CNJ999 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:16 am

Well, my October issue of MR arrived today and the shuffling of hats at the magazine is only briefly noted and offering no details. In doing so, in my opinion the handwriting for MR's future is on the wall.

No mention whatever is made of Besougloff leaving the magazine. The new editor, Hal Miller, notes among his "qualifications" to be heading up MR is previously being managing editor of Kalmbach's Trains magazine. He claims to be an O scale modeler, but at the same time says he's waffling over what railroad he is modeling and exactly what era. His replacement as MRs' managing editor and second in command at the magazine is one Jeff Reich, another individual I've never heard speak of in the hobby. His credentials include being a transfer from two of MRs' non-railroading publications, The Writer and Model Retailer. Just great for qualifications in heading up a leading modeling magazine!

Once again, Kalmbach has chosen individuals not known as real model railroaders to guide the magazine into the future, the same sort of mistake its been making for nearly 20 years in my opinion, together with a reduced page count of the magazine this month to a mere 80 pages. I believe this to be the slimmest issue in the 40 years I've been reading the magazine. This is In comparison with the early 1990's when MR was at its peak circulation and included as many as nearly 250 pages per copy! I give the magazine another 7 to 8 years before likely going belly up, that is unless Kalmbach chooses to augment MRs' subscription revenue by drawing from that of its other publications. Certainly, it's no longer worth its current cover price of $6.99 .

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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby granton junction » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:21 am

It will be interesting to follow MR including its circulation numbers. Years ago I read both MR and RMC, and I enjoyed them both. Both were a bit different with their focus, but that is what made them interesting. I have not read RMC since the demise of Carstens Publications since I have never been a mail subscriber. Andy Sperandeo (Rest in Peace) at MR was a very decent guy and was interesting to chat with. He always remembered you by your name at conventions. Likewise RMC had different articles and columns which contrasted with MR. I am fearful that if MR does not have hard-core model railroaders at its helm it will lose its remaining appeal to model railroaders.
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby umtrr-author » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:10 pm

In my opinion, RMC has progressively improved since White River Publications purchased it from Carstens. As with any magazine I read, not all of the articles are of equal interest, but they appear to me to be well written and handled with care.

MR, on the other hand, has been increasingly an upsell platform for their videos, other publications, etc. And their habit of sending Urgent Renewal Notices more than a year ahead of a subscription expiration is annoying.
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby ConstanceR46 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:08 pm

So they've chosen a hi-railer for a model railroader's position? Wonderful. I'm not a big fan of the reviews as all are nice. Like, you could get the worst kader ever and pay them to review it and they'll call the whines of the dammed and the ozone smoke prototypical
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Re: Interesting Development At Model Railroader

Postby TCurtin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:08 pm

Careful there........... I think Hal Miller is a 2 rail O Scale modeler, not to be confused with a hi-railer!!! Those of us (including me) who are O scale 2-rail religiously disavow any connection to hi-rail!
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