Wednesday, November 26, 2003

November 26, 2003
Took part of the staff on a field trip yesterday. Jana, Gus, Meghan, Abbey and Robert Ray and I went down to Desert Ridge to visit Tower Records and then over to Barnes & Noble to look at our rack position and our competitors. Afterwards we tried to eat lunch at Mimi’s Cafe but they were slammed and had a 25 minute wait so we walked over to In-N-Out burgers and sat outside and talked strategies ($3.50 for a hamburger and iced tea, cash). Good discussion and Jana said on the way back she finally understands and agrees with the importance of top heads (headlines above the logo). Daniel smuggled in a printout of his fake “Fakes” cover and we put it in amongst the cacophony of titles and stepped back to take an objective gander. It stood out for sure and that was encouraging. Tower had sold all but one of the Alamo issues (Dec.) and B&N had four left (of course the latter had the mags stuck in the back and we pulled them out to give a full face position, and I would encourage everyone reading this to do the same whenever you see True West—put it out front!).

On a related note, I mentioned in here we may do a Western music issue and I gave the option of Gene Autry on the cover or Michael Martin Murphey. Here’s a few of the responses I got:

“I sure would like to see Gene Autry on one of your covers.He was the first singing Cowboy as you know. I'm one of the baby boomers that was raised up on his western movies and 78 rpm records.” Don Hall, Macon, Missouri

“Go with Michael ~ he still has a pulse! This man has a strong connection to many of the people you would want buying your magazine. You could both do each other alot of good ~ Autry's a legend, but frankly a little out of the loop.” J.Rae, Wisconsin

“I love the idea of a cowboy music cover, but I hate the idea of Michael Martin Murphy for it, 'cause maybe he's the greatest guy in the world, but his cowboy stuff is overproduced and soulless and, well, '80s California to my uneducated ear. If it's a choice, my vote's for Gene Autry. Actually, it's for Riders in the Sky, but you didn't offer that. Maybe a collage of past and present greats? 'Cause that way, you can put in Patsy Montana.” Will S., Bisbee, AZ

“I don't think of the choice between Michael Martin Murphy and Gene Autry as a demographics-driven thing. For me, it's more like: Gene Autry is cool. MMM--just not cool. Cool people establish the stuff; just-not-cool people come along after and homogenize it. But then, I'm so cranky about music I make the Hat Nazis look wishy washy.” Emma Bull, Bisbee, AZ

"Oprah Winfrey said she realized she needed to lose weight when she went to a heavyweight fight and discovered she weighed more than the winner. Coincidentally, the same thing happened to Pavarotti at the Kentucky Derby."
—Conan O'Brien

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