Back when Cameron Evans helmed Popular Hot Rodding, the mag had a real spark to it and some pretty solid momentum going. Once he bailed, it rapidly slid downhill. So somewhat unexpectedly, Johnny Hunkins recently exposed the enthusiast-media game for what it is (basically parts payola) with an evocative quote:
"We go to Year One's super fling every year. During the month or two leading up to it, we're pretending hardship in our publisher's office, begging for airfare back East. The conversation usually goes something like this: 'We're dangerously low on car features, plus we can talk to a bunch of our advertisers at the same time.' (Publishers love to hear this stuff from editors.)"
Brief analysis after the jump.
Like most editorial types in the business, Hunkins probably hates the incessant pressure to feature advertiser product. And honestly, that whole Year One shindig sounds like a damn blast. But either it's one of two things — either Hunkins thinks his readers and publisher are so dumb that he's not gonna get called on it, or he's a ballsy motherfucker. Honestly, we're not sure which.
There are a lot of good people in the enthusiast media. Unfortunately, they're often too low on the totem pole to make any kind of difference, and the lifers, by and large, have sold their souls. Which is a shame, because some of the lifers are good guys behind closed doors, too. We came up on hot rods and musclecars, and once we got inside the journalistic angle of that section of the industry, we were frankly dumbfounded at how completely run by advertising representatives it was. Frankly, it's absolutely shameful.
The 2006 Year One Experience - Calling All Cars [Popular Hot Rodding]
The Truth About Advertising On The Truth About Cars [Internal]