The American Radio History website has just announced the addition of 75 issues of the late Monitoring Times magazine to their free downloads archive. These issues span 1983-1993, making a nice stroll down memory lane for many of us.
On occasion, the things you enjoy most, you forget to share with your friends. Not sure why this happens, but this is certainly the case with the Spectrum Monitor magazine (TSM). I’m long overdue to properly pitch TSM to my readers, which I feel is an absolute bargain at just $24 per year.
Why? Many of you may recall that it was only July of last year when we learned about the closure of The Monitoring Times magazine. I had always loved the magazine–not only were the management and editors a great group, but the magazine content was some of the best in the communications business when I began writing features and reviews for MT. But the owners of MT, Bob and Judy Grove, were ready to retire; ultimately, they decided to close their magazine down rather than sell it off.
Shortly after the announcement, MT‘s managing editor, Ken Reitz (KS4ZR), decided to make a go of a new publication. Albeit wholly digital, this magazine was to cover the same scope and content depth as MT, and would be known as The Spectrum Monitor (TSM).
In January of this year, TSM launched, and like many SWLing Post readers, I was eager to see if the content met the benchmark MT had set for so many years.
I needn’t have worried. Ken had corralled many excellent contributors, in many cases drawing upon previous writers for MT. And in the past year, I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that in many respects, TSM not only met that benchmark, but has actually even exceeded it. TSM is now–unquestionably–a good, solid, thoroughly enjoyable publication.
Each issue is packed with topics covering the radio spectrum: shortwave, ham radio, vintage radio, pirate radio, scanning, public service, satellite, AM/medium wave and host of digital/mobile technologies, as well. Really, everything a listener could hope for.
Initially, I had my doubts. I frankly wasn’t sure whether I’d like reading a “digital-only” radio publication, or whether other readers would. I confess to being a bit “old school;” as a radio listener, I like to hold a radio in my hands, to physically tune it; as a reader, I prefer holding a printed publication in hand, to turn the (paper) pages…How would I feel with an e-reader or laptop, instead? Would reading that way feel like work?
But TSM soon swayed me toward the digital as both reader and as a columnist. As a writer, there was less stress on word count. If it was a bit short, or lengthy– as my October column was–I soon found it mattered less. In a digital publication, page count is comparatively irrelevant as long as content is worthwhile and captivating for the reader. And as a reader, I appreciated that the columnists that I was reading would have the freedom to write at length, too.
Secondly, a digital publication gave its writers an opportunity to infuse columns with a multi-media element–something I’d become accustomed to as a blogger here on the SWLing Post. When I published a review of a radio, I could include actual audio clips in the article. If I wrote about pirate radio, for example, I could embed actual pirate radio recordings. Brilliant! And, again, more fun for the reader.
Also, including links or references to external websites is a cinch in a digital format, and quite easy for the reader to check out. Instead of copying a long gangly URL from a printed page, you simply click on a link as you would on a website, such as on this one. Second nature, really.
So, I soon learned to relax with the e-reader just as I had with the printed Monitoring Times. No pages to turn, but then again, not so different from reading…well, a blog like this. I’ve received excellent feedback from TSM readers, too, many of whom admitted their initial bias against a “digital” magazine had since been withdrawn completely.
I continue to enjoy reading TSM every month. And although–due to time constraints–I’m no longer TSM‘s primary shortwave radio columnist, I still enjoy writing for TSM when time permits, so you will see my reviews and features pop up in TSM now and again.
But why take my word for it? Check it out for yourself–it’s one of the best magazines for the radio enthusiast, digital or print…And at only $24 annual cost, it’s a terrific and affordable last minute Christmas gift for a friend, family member, or–let’s be honest–for yourself.
Afraid to commit to a one year subscription? Individual issues of TSM are available online for $3 each. If you like what you’re reading (you will), you can then purchase a one year subscription, and the cost of your issue will be refunded.
If you’re lucky enough to receive a subscription to TSM in your stocking, I can assure you that you’re in for a real treat. Happy reading!
Monitoring Times is now selling an anthology DVD of all of the MT Express digital editions, from 1999-2013. It comes on one DVD-ROM and is viewed using the included Adobe Reader program. The complete DVD is searchable or you may open each issue individually. The price is $105.90 shipped.
The Spectrum Monitor, an e-magazine, will cover amateur radio, longwave and shortwave listening, public service scanning, AM/FM/TV broadcasting, satellites, WiFi radio, vintage radio and more.
I have agreed to be the shortwave radio columnist for The Spectrum Monitor.
Why? TSM is picking up where Monitoring Times (MT) left off, and is being edited and published by MT‘s former managing editor, Ken Reitz (KS4ZR). Reitz has done a fantastic job of retaining the majority of MT‘s excellent writers and columnists. When he asked if I would be interested in taking over the shortwave radio column, his integrity and that of Monitoring Times helped me make a confident decision.
Best yet, I will have free reign to write about in-depth topics that I choose. Like Monitoring Times before it, The Spectrum Monitor will allow their columnists true editorial freedom.
The Spectrum Monitor Press Release
Ken Reitz published the following press release today at noon; if you enjoy the topics here, I encourage you to check out The Spectrum Monitor.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ken Reitz
e-mail: ks4zr1 [at] gmail.com
NEW RADIO MAGAZINE TO LAUNCH
A new electronic publication, The Spectrum Monitor, will follow the final issue of Monitoring Times, a paper and electronic publication covering amateur, shortwave and scanner-related topics, which ceases publication after a thirty-three year run following the retirement of its publisher, Bob Grove.
Managing editor, Ken Reitz KS4ZR, made the announcement in the November issue of Monitoring Times. “As the accolades poured in, all readers, regardless of how long they had been subscribers, expressed sadness and dismay at the closure of the magazine. I came to believe that there might be enough interest to warrant continuing the publication in some other form. I took it upon myself to explore the possibility of a follow-on magazine, not connected with Monitoring Times or Grove Enterprises, it’s publisher.”
The Spectrum Monitor will debut with the January 2014 issue, on December 15, 2013, and will carry virtually all of the current Monitoring Times columnists and feature writers. Reitz noted, “These are the experts in all facets of radio who have helped make MT the best, full-spectrum magazine available and we are all excited about continuing our work for the new publication.”
The Spectrum Monitor will be available only as an electronic publication in PDF format which may be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad™, Kindle Fire™ or any other device capable of opening a PDF file. Details on how to become a charter subscriber may be found at www.thespectrummonitor.com.
It appears that Monitoring Times is not the only division of Grove Enterprises that will close shop when owners, Bob and Judy Grove, retire.
Still, sad to see this reputable radio retailer close shop. I’m grateful that Universal Radio and C.Crane are still in business. I’m a strong believer in purchasing from radio retailers rather than online sources like Amazon.com. No doubt, Amazon has competitive pricing and good customer service, but frankly they could care less about the radio hobby in general. To Amazon, shortwave radios are simply a few dozen consumer electronics products out of the tens of thousands they offer.
Universal Radio and C.Crane both support radio clubs, events and hobby-related activities–Amazon does not. Plus, pricing is often very close or even lower than that of Amazon. This is why I always purchase from them if they have what I seek.
I just noticed the following statement on the Monitoring Times magazine’s website:
After 33 years of service to the radio community, Monitoring Times will cease publication with the December, 2013 issue. Subscriptions and renewals for the remaining months can be made by calling (800) 438-8155.
[Update] I also received this message from MT:
After 33 years of publishing the most informative and lauded magazine on monitoring the radio spectrum, Judy and I are finally going to retire. We are grateful for the dedicated efforts of our fine staff of writers for the excellent work which has kept MT alive for all these years. While we know the discontinuation of MT, with our December issue, will be a disappointment to our readers and writers alike, we realize that a combination of a poorly performing economy, as well as the ready availability of free listening and technical information on the Internet, has reduced sales and subscriptions throughout the market place. I would like to thank you personally for your knowledge, your dependability, and your professionalism in making MT the publication that is most often referred to in the radio monitoring hobby. It is a legacy that we have all inherited.
Warmest regards to all our writers, Bob and Judy Grove
This is sad news, indeed. I’ve been a regular reader for many years, and more recently, a regular contributor for Monitoring Times. I only have very positive things to say about the MT staff: they’re friendly, professional and honor their word in every respect.
I’ve had articles in the past three issues–this month, there will be two that I wrote following the 2013 Dayton Hamvention. With any luck, maybe I’ll get a couple more articles in before MT closes shop.
Monitoring Times will be sorely missed.
Some of you may remember that I took an extended vacation last year in the maritime region of Canada.
Monitoring Times Magazine just published an article I wrote about the vacation which includes a visit to Sackville, New Brunswick, four weeks in an off-grid cabin in eastern Prince Edward Island and a trip through the Gaspe region of Quebec.
Looking back, it’s amazing how much radio time I packed into that trip.
Read the full article in the June 2013 issue of Monitoring Times magazine.