News from the trucking magazine wars. The familiar over-sized magazine truckers know as NATSO Truckers News will henceforth be published by Randall Publishing (parent of Overdrive). Publishing rights to Truckers News were awarded to Randall earlier this year by the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) and its members. It will still be called NATSO Truckers News.
Meanwhile, the staff of Truckers News still belongs to Newport Communications, (Heavy Duty Trucking, Truck Sales & Leasing). They may have lost Truckers News, but Newport and staff will bounce back in January with another magazine called RoadStar (a new owner-driver publication) and its companion, RoadStar Radio News. CCJ (Commercial Carriers Journal) and Owner Operator magazines made the transition from Chilton to Cahners around the first of the year, but both still have the same title and regular staffers.
Stay with me, there's more. Randall just launched Trucking Co. - business solutions for small fleets. In their new media kit, they claim that small trucking companies own 43 percent of the tractors and trailers in the universe. Let me point out that the fine print attributes this data to the U.S. government survey and does not acknowledge any other survey in the world or from other worlds. Yet that reference to the universe is certainly there...so, it's obvious that Randall has some intergalactical survey that no other magazine possesses. And if I could be so bold as to speak for other trucking magazine editors, we hate it when one publisher has such a survey. My boss, Jim Johnston, made mention of these "universe" statistics to me and asked if I had any super connections that would help Land Line obtain this kind of critical data. Dammit, Jim, I'm a managing editor, not Lois Lane!
The December/January issue of Land Line blasts off the new year with a full line of articles designed to keep you informed. This issue is Land Line's Sixth Annual Computer edition. "Computing your needs" loads you up with the latest software for small business trucking applications.
This issue also offers articles on your business, your equipment, your money, and your health. We had two pages reserved for a story on Monica Lewinsky's new movie in which she reportedly plays a student driver. But that story didn't happen, so we opted for a topic more palatable - colorectal cancer. Seriously, many Americans who lead sedentary lives find themselves dealing with this disease and a simple screening test can save your life. Make yourself read this.
We close this issue on the eve of 1999, the Year of the Millenium Watch. As you probably know, the little double digit field inside computers will all say "00" and their logical little brains will say it's 1900. The Land Line staff has formulated some Y2K theories on what may happen. Here's a few scenarios: The internal computers at all the weigh scales roll back to the year 1900 and summarily shut down, as they haven't been inspected in a hundred years... No radar guns will work as the chip embedded in the clocking device will only record how fast you were driving a century ago... The computers of state revenue departments will issue quarterly fuel tax charts of how much the state will owe you for being paid a hundred years in advance... You are a day late with your load, but no matter, because the receiver's computer says it's only Jan. 1, 1900 and as far as it's concerned, you are way early.