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It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane – No, It’s A Drone! The Skies & Newsstands Are Making Room For The Latest Buzz – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Tim Kidwell, Editor-In-Chief, Drone 360

January 22, 2015

“I am not one of those people who think print is dead; I think print has a place and a role in publishing.” Tim Kidwell

Drone360 cover They are an unknown quantity in so many ways, yet becoming more and more used each and every day. From law enforcement to agriculture, photographers to a fascinated public; drones are captivating common interests all across the country.

Drone 360 is a new launch from Kalmbach Publishing, the company that brings us the science-based magazine Discover and a host of hobbyist magazines. Drone 360 pays tribute to the compelling world of multirotor aircraft and attempts to assist in answering some of the tougher issues about the flying machines, such as how the FAA plans on regulating their commercial use. While the magazine is only scheduled for this premiere issue, Editor-in-Chief Tim Kidwell is hopeful the special interest ink on paper product does well and he’s given the green light to fly his drone again, many times. But for now, the first issue will land on the nation’s newsstands on March 24.

I reached out to Tim recently to talk about the engaging world of drones and we discussed the many facets of the aircraft. From the hobbyists whose enthusiasm comes from a different level of curiosity, to the commercial world that would love to uncover the vast array of possibilities drones offer; Tim talked with an enthusiasm of his own about the aircraft.

So, sit back, relax and enter a world of alternative flight as you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Tim Kidwell, Editor, Drone 360.

But first, the sound-bites:

On the genesis of Drone 360: I guess by now drones have become a part of everyday life. They’re affecting our culture and pushing technology. They’re becoming a part of our businesses as people try and figure out how they can use them for all sorts of commercial and scientific efforts. They’re everywhere.

On the concept behind the magazine:
Right now it’s a special interest publication that we’re putting out in conjunction with Discover. We really thought that it was the perfect time for us to get in there and talk about a lot of the issues.

On the intended audience of the magazine:
The people that this (magazine) will probably interest the most are men, aged 18 to 39; I think that’s probably where the sweet spot is. However, when we were putting the magazine together I told our team that while 18 to 39 year old men might be where the sweet spot is, I want this magazine to be easily read by anyone who is interested in tech and gear.

On the major stumbling block he faces in launching the magazine:
Our biggest challenge to me is just making sure that we get market penetration and eyes on the magazine. If we can get eyes on the magazine I think that it will go.

On why print was the best format for the magazine’s message:
I am not one of those people who think print is dead; I think print has a place and a role in publishing. I believe there are ways to still get information out there on the internet, but I think the internet is very good at disseminating information but it’s all up to the reader when it comes to trying to cull down and decide what’s good and what’s bad.

On the most pleasant moment he had when putting the magazine together:
The coolest thing so far, I think, has been when we came up with the feature story list. We said the stories on that list were what we wanted to see happen. And what we started to see were these threads, these concerns and comments that were linking all of these stories together and it really made the entire magazine gel.

On what keeps him up at night:
If I had to pick one thing; I really love tech, but I worry about how tech is used. And that’s what keeps me up at night.

Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 7.14.47 PM And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Tim Kidwell, Editor, Drone 360…

Samir Husni: My first question to you is why did you decide to launch your magazine now? Do you believe drones are going to be a more integral part of our near future? Tell me about the genesis of Drone 360.

Tim Kidwell: I guess by now drones have become a part of everyday life. They’re affecting our culture and pushing technology. They’re becoming a part of our businesses as people try and figure out how they can use them for all sorts of commercial and scientific efforts. They’re everywhere.

And as far as whether it’s a fad or not, I don’t think that drones are a fad in the sense that I believe we’re going to see them used more frequently for law enforcement and in commercial endeavors. I think maybe we’ll see a drop off in their popularity as something that the hobbyist would use. What we’re seeing right now is, especially with quadcopters, they’re a lot easier to fly than fixed wing or traditional helicopters in RC circles. So, we’re seeing this surge of, “Wow, I too can fly something and it doesn’t take very much for me to get it into the air.”

We’re seeing a real fervor behind that, but I also think that will die back a little. I’m not saying it’s going to disappear, but I don’t think it’s going to remain as hot and as trendy for hobbyists as it is right now. Something else will come along and take that up. But for the foreseeable future, drones, multirotor aircraft, these sorts of things are here to stay.

Samir Husni: What is the vision behind Drone 360.

Tim Kidwell: Well, right now it’s a special interest publication that we’re putting out in conjunction with Discover. We really thought that it was the perfect time for us to get in there and talk about a lot of the issues, not only on the hobby side, because I think there is some space there for us to talk about beginning hobbyists and how they can get into multirotor aircraft and how they can fly safely, those sort of things.

But we also thought that, again, there is so much going on with the science end of tins and culturally with law enforcement that we really needed to get in there and touch on these different topics.

The other thing that really spurred us was the FAA was coming out with rules in 2015, so we thought this was the perfect time to get in there and start really talking about them and giving balanced coverage. You can get a lot of rhetoric on both sides, where they are extremely pro or extremely against, and I thought what we needed to do was come in and give a balanced approach and say there are some valid opinions on both sides and let’s explore both as we move along.

Samir Husni: Who is the intended audience; whom are you trying to reach with the printed magazine?

Tim Kidwell: If we’re going to be honest, the people that this will probably interest the most are men, aged 18 to 39; I think that’s probably where the sweet spot is. However, when we were putting the magazine together I told our team that while 18 to 39 year old men might be where the sweet spot is, I want this magazine to be easily read by anyone who is interested in tech and gear and RC, even casually, and who just want to find out what is going on with the drones. We wanted it to be open and accessible to everyone, but we do understand that our target audience is men, 18 to 39.

Samir Husni: Tim, what do you anticipate to be the major stumbling block when it comes to the launch of the magazine and how are you planning to overcome it?

Tim Kidwell: The major stumbling block is where magazine publishing and publishing in general is right now. It’s going to be penetration into the market and getting seen that will be our biggest challenge. I think the content and subject matter is great and I believe it’s pertinent and exciting. So, our biggest challenge to me is just making sure that we get market penetration and eyes on the magazine. If we can get eyes on the magazine I think that it will go.

Samir Husni: Do you think print is the best vehicle to reach that audience today?

Tim Kidwell: I am not one of those people who think print is dead; I think print has a place and a role in publishing. I believe there are ways to still get information out there on the internet, but I think the internet is very good at disseminating information but it’s all up to the reader when it comes to trying to cull down and decide what’s good and what’s bad, whereas I think a magazine like what we’re doing here, you have to be very judicious in putting together what stories we do. We only have so many pages; in this case, we have 92. We only have 92 pages, so we have to make sure those stories are as concise and as good as we can possibly do them. And a printed magazine is a great way to get that information out.

Samir Husni: As you were putting this magazine together; what was the most pleasant moment that you had? Or the “aha” moment as you were putting this first issue together.

Tim Kidwell: The coolest thing so far, I think, has been when we came up with the feature story list. We said the stories on that list were what we wanted to see happen. And then we began getting them assigned and as they started to come back in and we were reading through them, we started to notice common threads developing. And that was the neatest thing.

On one of the initial stories it was maybe just a reference or two to something like situational awareness. Then we see in another story that situational awareness come up again, but somebody else has a different take on it. And what we started to see were these threads, these concerns and comments that were linking all of these stories together and it really made the entire magazine gel.

Samir Husni: How often do you plan to publish Drone 360?

Tim Kidwell: We hope that there are going to be more of these. Like I said earlier, it’s a special-issue publication that we’re doing in conjunction with Discover. So, right now this is the one, this is our premiere; we hope we’ll get the green light to do more. But right now this is the only one that’s planned currently. We’ll see how well it does and if it does well, then we will consider what we can do next.

Samir Husni: Looking at the cover; this magazine is rooted in science; it’s rooted in Discover and it’s rooted in a company known in the field of special interest publications, connectivity to its audience and hobbyists in different realms of things.

Tim Kidwell: Yes, we’re pushing it in conjunction with Discover, so it’s going off of Discover’s bipad. However, we aren’t necessarily targeting just Discover’s audience. We’re looking at a broader mix of hobbyists and general interest, people who are interested in drones or people who are interested in the tech of drones or those interested in getting into the hobby of quadcopters or multirotor aircraft. So, we’re looking at a much broader audience than just the science end, which would be more of an interest for the Discover audience.

Samir Husni: Anything else you’d like to add about Drone 360? Is it going to be delivered via drone? (Laughs)

Tim Kidwell: (Laughs too) It will not be delivered via drone because we’re still waiting on the FAA decision on how to use them commercially. (Laughs) All I want to say is that we’ve been extremely excited about this project. We put it together and turned it around very fast and it’s been a great experience for all of us. Drones are here to stay and they are something that we’re going to have to live and cope with and figure out just where they fit in when it comes to our everyday life.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Tim Kidwell: What keeps me up at night? (Laughs) I have a lot of things that keep me up at night. I have a new baby on the way, so worrying about that keeps me up. (Laughs)

If I had to pick one thing; I really love tech, but I worry about how tech is used. And that’s what keeps me up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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