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Across the Desk – May 2018

By: Robin Noll

    Last month when I wrote my article I had decided that I was going to try to sell the PA Musician Magazine for $20,000 and be done with it. What an out pouring of support and love we  received this past month. I honestly thought that no one really cared if we continued on or not. It seems that people do care. We had a few offers for doing Kickstarter campaigns and one offer that they wanted us to finance it but no cash in hand with someone who had experience and could just take it over. Then our son Joshua, who has been building houses for the past 20 years, decided that he wanted to change occupations and likes the idea of being self-employed and working like a dog for himself rather than someone else. (He thinks he’s going to have weekends off (ha, ha, ha) but maybe…he is a worker.)

   So Joshua Noll is the new CEO, publisher, editor, etc of the Pennsylvania Musician Magazine. This issue will be the last issue that I am in charge of. I was truly overwhelmed with all of you who placed ads wishing Rachel Rocks and myself well in our retirement but Josh will still need Rachel’s help and of course I will have to teach him all I know. He wants to keep everything the same for the first few months and then make some changes. He is going to sell the cover again, so that should prove interesting.

    Josh wants to keep his Dad’s legacy going and just didn’t want to see the magazine cease to be. It is amazing how our children grew up with the PA Musician Magazine. Rachel was 4 and Josh would have been 7. I remember one time I had been working 2 days straight and as soon as Whitey was out the door heading to the printer I fell sound asleep. Rachel was 5. I woke up and couldn’t find her anywhere I called the neighbor and she was over there visiting. Mrs. Schoppe, was an older retired woman, and here when Rachel couldn’t wake me she headed over there and told her I was sleeping. That started a precious relationship that meant a lot to both of them and was a blessing for me. She wasn’t allowed to go over until 11am so everyday she would watch the clock and as soon as it was 11 out the door she went. Yes our kids have answered phones, stuffed envelopes and as soon as they had their driver’s license they started delivering papers. They also all had jobs as well as soon as they were 16. Yes there are many many stories of interesting times over the 36 year time period.

    Whitey was 41 when he decided to start the paper and I find it interesting that Josh is 42. Mike Staub, (Sarah Staub of Greenbelt Events father) was a good family friend and had hired Whitey at one time and they would brain storm various ideas. Whitey gave him an idea one day that doubled his income (Mike published “The Apartment Guide”  and had rental offices) He told Whitey he needed to publish his own paper. Whitey was like, right I don’t have any money. We were both working minimum paying jobs ( I had two jobs) and his mom lived with us at the time and watched the kids.

     Mike preceded to instruct him how it was done. Whitey went to the State Library and did some research and came across a book that was titled, “The Haves and the Have Nots”. We were on welfare at the time and were definitely in the “Have Not” category.  The next step was deciding what kind of paper to do. There were plenty of real estate publications and there were Fish Finders, Auto Locators and the only classified section in the paper that didn’t have any publications was Musical equipment. He was at the news stand looking at publications and picked up “The Musician” as he was a musician (not a working one at the time) but still played guitar and sang and that’s when he had the idea of starting The Pennsylvania Musician Magazine. It would be like the Fish Finder only it would be about finding musicians and musicians finding clubs and music stores. Thus in the summer of 1982 the idea was born. Next we had to get a logo designed, that was $300. Whitey had to compile phone numbers and list of musicians, music stores and had to find key people in the music industry that would be vital to have them involved to make it a success. One of those key people was John Harris. John thought it was a great idea but thought we were biting off more than we could chew by doing the whole state but John was managing Kix, The Sharks and the Metron at the time and placed paying ads for all three. Kix was on our first cover. He approached other agencies as well. One main music store he wanted in was Fred’s in Reading (everyone went to Fred’s) His mother let us use her gas credit card and a lot of times he would only have $5 in his pocket but he kept pressing on. I had to quit my jobs because he wanted me home to answer the phone and every Saturday I had to call all the bands and pitch them for ads. It was nerve wracking. Our first phone bill was over $300 and I said that’s it, we can’t afford it but he said yes we can. When I was discouraged he was up and when he was discouraged I was up. It’s how it’s always been.  In November of 1982 we came out with our first issue.

    When we went to the Welfare Office and told them we wanted to start on our own business and the income would be irregular what should we do because back then you had to send in copies of all your pay stubs. She said, I don’t know what to do. Most people stay on welfare from generation to generation, they don’t usually come off. She said she would give us full benefits for 6 months but then after that we were on our own. We only had one option and that was to make it work and here we are 36 years later still working and I’m still rushing to get to the printer on time…Joshua says he won’t miss his deadlines…hmmm, we’ll see.

    THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO FAITHFULLY READ US EACH MONTH. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPS US DELIVER THE PAPERS, WHO WRITES FOR US, WHO SUPPORTS ARE FAITHFUL ADVERTISERS WHO BLESS US EACH MONTH BY RUNNING ADS WITH US. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Hopefully you will continue to work with Joshua Noll so that the Pennsylvania music industry has a paper that gives every musician who wants to use it an extended way to let the public know who and what and where the music is happening. Keep the music flowing and may God Bless You and Keep You and Prosper you in good health and financially. LOTS OF LOVE TO ONE & ALL!!!!

 Love Robin & Whitey Noll

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