Would I love to have continued with the printed, glossy magazine...sure! But the reality is that the membership numbers have been slipping, and we "crossed the line" on the ability to pay for printed & mailed issues. It became unsustainable. So, electronic publication came to the rescue. I am not happy about that, but I do understand that there was little choice.
As Bill mentions above, it was due to some bad decisions, but also, I think, the general economy and the fact that what started out as a broader based submarine interest magazine (go back & look at issues 1-25 or so) has evolved more towards a largely R/C based magazine (with less emphasis on submarine history, etc., and more on the details of building an R/C submarine. Before I get a lot of rebuttal on this, please note I said less
emphasis, not a total lack of...). So, you have a smaller, more focused audience, primarily those who have both the hobby cash and inclination to build and operate an R/C submarine. Also, despite the best efforts of many, there are fewer posts and fewer visits to our website. Again, not a healthy trend for an all volunteer interest club.
There are now very few SC members such as myself who are interested in submarine history & display modeling, and not that interested in R/C model operation. I am the liaison for IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society-5000+ US members alone) , and answer submarine modeling questions. Not much interest anymore from that quarter in what we do, as we are viewed as an "All R/C Organization", which is not strictly true, of course, but not that far from the truth, either. By the way, the IPMS magazine (which features build articles, submitted photos, etc.) is a 6 times a year magazine http://www.ipmsusa.org/index.htm
, and shows what can be done with a larger membership.
On the positive side, the new, much lower member dues will certainly help attract individuals, but I honestly don't know how many people out there are interested in R/C submarines yet are unaware of our existence. So the question for us all, and more specifically for the new Officers will be, "Whither the SubCommittee?". What is the best strategy to grow membership? What is the audience(s) we are trying to attract and appeal to?
Maybe submarine display model kits are a "gateway drug" for some to R/C. Maybe if the SCR has more articles on submarine history & technology (similar to "Proceedeings..."), you would generate more interest in general and again get a fraction of those individuals excited enough to build and operate an R/C submarine. Well then, we should maybe make more efforts along those lines. I don't really know if those would work and certainly don't have any quick solutions, but since we are going "all electronic" for now, we are no longer limited to a publication limit on page numbers, so there is "room for more" of everything. Folks, we are in a decline-how do we reverse it?