Like virtually every other aspect of
modern life, the editorial and production process of publishing a monthly magazine
has change significantly since the pre-personal computer days. Such was the case at
R/C Modeler magazine headquarters in the early 1970s when this article
appeared, although an IBM 360 computer was used for typesetting. Don Dewey was the editor-in-chief at the time.
Text was typed into the IBM 360 MTSC* and got printed out in paper tape form that was
a column width for page layout. The layout person used a common "paper doll" approach
to manually arrange all the text and graphic on each page, which would then be used
for magazine printing. The entire process was very labor-intensive, and edits in
content or layout could have a major impact on the publication schedule.
Here's some amazing news: I just purchased on eBay a group of R/C Modeler
magazine that includes both the very first and the very last issue. To make it even
better, they all belonged to AMA Hall of Fame inductee
Jack Albrecht! They were sold by his son-in-law. I will be
posting a lot of content from them over time.
* Note on the IBM 360 MTSC mentioned in the article:
IBM's Magnetic Tape Selectric Composer (MTSC). It was the territory's first fully
automatic English typesetting machine for the publishing industry. A
direct-impression "coldtype" typesetting system, it was able to process high-volume,
high-quality composition at moderate cost for users of offset printing methods. The
MTSC replaced the manual "hot metal" compositing process, which for years had been
the backbone of the newspaper publishing industry. The new system allowed for
last-minute changes and a flexible design layout. The famous newspaper expression
"hold the front page" could now be made much closer to deadline instead of several
hours before going to print.
R/C Visits RCM
Now the RCM office, like any other, has a receptionist. And, like
any other receptionist, Trudi is beautiful, talented, and possessed of a dulcet-toned
voice that's warmed the heart of many an RC'er.
Pretty blonde Kris Bergen, Art Editor and Don Dewey, RCM's Editor-Publisher,
have an early morning conference in Don's office, better known to his all-girl staff
as the "Lion's Den".
Since its inception nearly seven years ago, RCM has been its readers magazine. This
month, one of those readers takes you on a behind-the-camera tour of the RCM offices.
Photos and Text By
There can be little doubt that, since its inception nearly seven years ago, R/C Modeler
Magazine has been instrumental in elevating RC to the sophisticated, increasingly popular
sport we know today. As the first, and in many ways the only, adult-oriented publication
in the field, it has, through communication, been our vehicle from kindergarten to college
- helped us grow, so to speak.
If the staff is justifiably proud of RCM - of its role in RC - we readers should be
doubly so. Because RCM is our magazine; we've made it what it is. Though twenty-three
editors and office personnel, plus foreign correspondents, are responsible for mechanics
of production; without our ideas, support, and freelance submissions it could not exist.
And nobody-but nobody - is more aware of this fact than the RCM staff.
There exists a myth, carefully nurtured, that the American business
tycoon is omniscient master of his corporate ship. But a close look usually finds one
person without whom the ship would probably sink. In the case of RCM, that "one person"
is vivacious Pat Crews, RCM's Executive Editor and Corporate Secretary-Treasurer, a personable
gal with boundless energy who seems everywhere at once. She is responsible for managing
the more than $300,000 annual cost of publishing RCM. In her spare time you'll likely
find her at contests or trade shows reflecting the distaffer's view of RC, such as in
this profile taken at the 1969 RCM Winter Nationals.
Did you ever wonder how columns of magazine print are kept so even?
This is one of two consoles on RCM's I.B.M. 360 MTSC computerized composer-typesetter.
All material is first taped on the input console, then fed into this unit. Each letter
is then computer-spaced and spewed out in columnar form on rolls of "repro" paper resembling
adding machine tape, ready for the Art Department and page lay-out. The enormity of the
job of the MTSC lies in the fact that every word printed in RCM must be processed through
The popularity of RCM plans is evident in this partial view of the
storage area where we see numerous sets awaiting shipment.
And here's one of the Ozalid machines they're produced on.
Since the magazine is nearing another anniversary and has so often visited us through
the mails and 'RCM Visits' series, it seems somehow fitting we use the occasion to have
R/C Visit RCM - return the compliment. So let's take a behind-the-camera tour of the
RCM offices and meet a few of the people seeing to it we get our copy each month.
Two big jobs of any magazine are circulation and customer services,
which deal with address changes, orders, and subscriptions. On the left (above) is Carol
Ludden, Circulation Manager, and on the right (below), her two assistants, Sheila and
Here's a portion of the composing room where the pages of RCM are
put together. This is where the columns of print, photos, and art work are made ready
for printing. There's another myth, peculiar to the publishing field, that it takes years
of schooling and experience to be an editor. Actually, one needs only be good at anacrostics
and conundrums (puzzles, Dewey) with some aptitude for paper dolls!
"I do not lose things!"
"You lost this!"
Posted December 3, 2018