The Changing Way we Buy and Sell   January 8th, 2017

When I first started Waters and Stanton forty three years ago, things were a lot different to what they are now. Perhaps not very surprising after such a long time, but it is worth looking at some of the changes.


W&S first advertised in the RSGB Bulletin in 1973. It was one of the best ways of promoting our products. The Bulletin was not alone. On the newsstands were Practical Wireless and Short wave Magazine. The latter was the magazine that first introduced me to the hobby. The first W&S advert appeared in the Bulletin in 1973. The magazine is now known as RadCom.

Then, the only way that I could find out about products that were available was by reading these magazines. Likewise the only way that I could sell products was by advertising in the magazines. It was a major source of income for these magazines. It is an important source of income for the survival of most magazines. And it is, or rather was, the reason that many ham operators and listeners, bought these magazines. But times are changing.


My recent experience suggests that anybody wanting to purchase new equipment or see what is available, is likely to turn to the internet. A retailer cannot hope to included all his products in a magazine advert and it is far cheaper to advertise products on the internet than it is in the pages of magazines. This is not good new for magazines. But what about technical articles?


In many cases these are also appearing on the internet. Take a look at YouTube and Google. There is a wealth of information here. In fact there is very little that cannot be found on the web these days. There are even reviews on the latest equipment. So where are we going?


Well it is likely that this trend will continue and it is likely to hit the ham radio market in a signifiant way. I know that we spend a huge amount of money o magazine advertising. Test adverts are showing that the response is getting less and less. So the obvious solution is to reduce the level of page advertising. But there is a reason to be concerned over this. Magazines have in the past been a way of introducing newcomers to the hobby. I have already mentioned, that was how I came into the hobby. Radom is a little different because it is not on the news stands. That is a great shame. and has certainly been a major source of income for the RSGB


There can be little doubt that magazine advertising is becoming an expense with diminishing returns. It would be a shame if advertising was taken away completely from magazines, forcing them to close. Publishers need to realise that the time is coming whereby advertising rates need to be reduced to match the falling response. It is just one example of how the web is changing the way we buy and sell.



Peter Waters G3OJV

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