A Blast from the Past

steveo_2001bBy Steve Oppenheimer

(May 1998)

In life and legend, Abraham Lincoln inspired people. In his famed Gettysburg Address, he concluded with the remarkable phrase “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Here, Lincoln got to the heart of democratic principles. Surely this great philosophy of government, expressed almost 135 years ago on the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, can be applied to other parts of our lives.

In fact, that very philosophy is one reason why I enjoy working at EM. From its beginning, this has been a magazine of the people, by the people, and for the people. That feels right to me somehow.

Why is this a magazine for the people? As I noted in my January “Front Page,” we have always written our articles primarily for home recordists, who usually are working folks on a family budget. We take a look at some moderately upscale gear now and again, but mostly because the high-end pro’s tools of today often become affordable personal-studio tools of tomorrow. Clearly, we’re writing for the people.

A magazine of the people? Absolutely! Many of our editors maintain personal studios, though several of us also have worked in commercial facilities. Our musical and technical needs are essentially similar to yours, and many of us were EM readers before we worked here. So even though we probably have more studio experience than the average reader, we have been drawn from your ranks.

As for “by the people,” most of our freelance writers come to us because they are EM readers who want to contribute their ideas. We still depend on our readers not only as a source of authors but for feedback at many levels. In fact, we want you to get more involved, and we are founding a new column with that in mind.

This month, we introduce “Operation Help”—or more accurately, we reintroduce it in a new form. “Operation Help” originally was a space where readers could obtain help from other readers. You could say it was “by the people, for the people.” For instance, say you needed a manual or a source of parts; you would write to “Operation Help,” and other readers would tell you where to find what you wanted. Unfortunately, by mid-1990, reader support for the original “Operation Help” had weakened, so we discontinued it.

But we like helping our readers in little ways and want to keep you involved, so we brought back a redesigned “Operation Help.” We plan to run it every other month, but if we get lots of good contributions, we’ll publish it more often.

This won’t be the “Operation Help” of old, though. The new version will be a selection of short, general-purpose and gear-specific studio tips supplied by manufacturers, editors, and freelance authors. We hope EM readers will contribute tips, too.

The idea is to present a mixture of tips for different types of products. That way even though you might not have all of the products we discuss, you’ll keep an eye out for that one tip you really don’t want to miss. Each time, we’ll bring you a different bag of tricks.

So please get invoked! The best way to reach us is email but if you prefer to spend 32 cents on a letter, we will surely read it.