Talking Cycling: SBS Podcast 4 May 2017
Cycling Central Podcast 4 May 2017
An edited transcript
– Comments by Phil Gomes and Rob Arnold
Phil Gomes: “Media right around the world is undergoing a tremendous amount of transformation and it also hit a little bit close to home here with cycling – with you, Rob, because you decided to make, effectively, a full digital transformation of your business…”
Rob Arnold: “Ah… okay, just a little bit of history…”
Phil: “Tell us the story.”
Rob: “A lot of people who have heard me gibber know that I publish a magazine. It’s called ‘RIDE Cycling Review’. It has been around since July 1998.
“I established it by myself and I’ve been running it with a very small team in Sydney for close [to] 20 years.
“Last Wednesday, I made an announcement that we’d ‘stop with regular print editions’.
“[The magazine] has been quarterly since it began. And I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do over those years.
“We came to cycling at a time when it didn’t get much media over in Australia and I just wanted to review it.
“I love the sport. I love the act of riding. I like product. I think it’s a fantastic thing to write about…
“I could get really emotional if I really consider what I’ve done over the last few years with a committed group of contributors and great clients and people who have really supported my initiative.
“But we’re going to stop with the quarterly editions. That’s not to say that I’m turning my back on print.
“Print is something that is a tangible product. I’ve been really selling it to all of my clients for years, saying that there’s something lovely about the anticipation that a big quarterly cycling magazine brings.
“It’s been a sheer joy to be part of that ride and to try and bring cycling into people’s lives. But the strain of the deadline gets to me, and also the last thing I wanted to do was make a compromised product.
“I don’t want to be just a 100-page magazine with filler.
“I put my heart and soul into what’s in the magazine that I make and I hope people like what they’ve read over the years, what they’ve seen in the pictures – and [that] they’ve enjoyed turning the pages and being part of it.
“But… the opportunity to be more immediate with the audience is something that I find really fulfilling. I like to be able to publish a story and see the reaction immediately and then respond to that accordingly.
“I’ve spent so much of the last 20 years staring at a computer screen, making pages, and I want to be a little bit more liberal with my time. I’d like to get ‘out there’, I’d like to ride bikes, I’d like to take up the opportunities that are presented to me.
“And I’d like to keep sharing cycling in the way that I see it.
“It was an announcement that was difficult to make but ultimately one that I am comfortable with doing. I feel quite liberated and exactly what the future holds? That’s something that will play out and I look forward to sharing that with the people who have been readers of RIDE for so long.”
Phil: “This sort of transition, this is obviously where we’re all headed and, I think, the cycling public in general are very connected digital people. So I can only see this as a good thing. It’s basically Rob joining ‘The Age of the Flying Car’.
“And, just to be clear, Rob is not ceasing publication of the awesome Tour Guide. That still continues.”
Rob: “We’re finishing the Tour Guide this month and that’ll be on sale in June. That has been a tradition since 2003 and I think it’s one of those magazines that does generate a foot-fall into newsagents.
“For me the media is a reverse funnel, an upside-down funnel to what it used to be.
“It used to be: the editor would take a little bit of knowledge and broadcast it to a wider audience but now there’s so much information out there that the good editing is still required to concertina all of that information and put it out into a tiny little stream, the stream that the people really need to see.
“That’s what I’ve tried to do with RIDE Cycling Review. It’s what you try to do with Cycling Central. There’s a wealth of knowledge and news and information out there but it’s whittling down the good stories from the boring stories…
Phil: “The chaff.”
“But it’s a pleasure to be involved in the podcast. I love the challenges that are offered by new media. I’m looking forward to dancing off into the future, turning a page, and finding out what comes next.
“Thanks for letting me talk a little bit about the job that I do.”
Phil: “No worries.”
(For more, see ridemedia.com.au and sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral)
To hear the full podcast from 4 May 2017, visit Cycling Central’s SoundCloud page or click the link below.