Rate Base. What does it mean?

Magazines sell advertisements based on rate base, which is the circulation guaranteed to advertisers. Rate base is also how magazines compute the price per ad with CPM, meaning cost per thousand. (We’ll tap on that in that in another blog.)

The Rate base is the combination of 2 entities:

  • Paid and Controlled
  • Promotional and Giveaways

Paid and controlled is the total number of paid subscribers and pre-qualified distribution, meaning qualified complimentary distribution. It also includes “single copy” newsstand and specialty store sales. A specialty shop for a bicycle magazine would be a bike shop, for a cat magazine would be a pet store, etc.

Look for a high percentage of paid and controlled circulation when shopping for a magazine to advertise in. Magazines that people pay for are more apt to be read thoroughly, thus optimizing the overall visual impact of your marketing material. Conversely, magazines that are given away to anyone and everyone are not as likely to resonate with the recipient as they likely have less connection with the magazine’s content.

Promotional and giveaways are any magazines given to media events, sponsored events, etc. Basically it is magazines that are handed out for free to help encourage subscriptions and promote the publication. When a publication is new it will have a high percent of giveaways and promotional to encourage subscriptions. It is also a way for magazines to inflate their rate base to increase their advertisement costs.

Having a spreadsheet with a breakdown of rate bases for each publication you are considering advertising in, would be the best way to analyze where you will likely see a higher ROI (Return On Investment).



Posted in Bicycle Times News, Dirt Rag News, Uncategorized

Advertising in Digital vs. Print Magazines

by Trina Haynes

Consider the following; 79% of all adults use the Internet, 87% of working adults have daily high-speed access, and 8 in 10 magazines are available online.

Whenever you’re considering purchasing advertisement from a magazine, scout their digital edition. Digital editions can be viewed on tablets, computers and smartphones. A publication should be able to comp you a digital issue at your request.

Some key things to look for:

  •  Does the Table of Contents have hyperlinks to articles with a clean layout for easy finger click?
  • Does it offer jump pages at the bottom
  • Does it offer quick read options, which are a text only reading option that can take a 4 page feature into a scroll down essay style
  • Is the magazine available in landscape or just portrait? Very important if you are buying 2 page spreads. (I’ve seen a lack of this in a few large publications with multiple spreads and the advertiser is losing the impact of their ad)
  • Are all the ad’s URLs hyperlinked
  • Are videos embedded into ads or in content

Almost every magazine on the market has a digital version of their publication. This is an exact replica of their print version, some add in additional touches. Like digital only content, or little animated bird flying by, etc. Either way, when you are looking into advertising in a publication ask the sales rep these questions:

  •  What percent of readers are digital?
  • Do you offer embedded video for advertisers, is there a limitation on ad size purchase for this?
  • If you are considering a video in your digital ad: How should I layout an ad for an embedded video?
  • Are you currently pushing any digital initiatives to grow your market?


You don’t need to ask if this number is increasing, it more than likely is. Digital readers are rising and print reader’s are decreasing. When you look ahead to the next 10 years, we will see print and digital numbers swap places on publication graph’s.

There is a misconception that digital readers are in a separate universe of some kind, held up on a podium as if they are something special and rare. Digital readers are still readers and they are simply more eyes on your advertisement, giving you opportunities to reach readers on a multimedia level.


Posted in Uncategorized

Dirt Rag Magazine hires industry veteran as new editor

PITTSBURGH (October 28, 2012): Dirt Rag Magazine—the independent voice of mountain bike riders for more than two decades—is excited to announce Mike Cushionbury has joined the staff as Editor. He brings 20 years of industry experience to the role as the magazine continues to grow.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Dirt Rag family. I’ve always been a friend and fan of the publication since day one so this is a truly great honor to be leading a group of core mountain bike riders who also happen to be the best and most creative people in the business,” he said.

In Southern California, Cushionbury earned his pro mountain bike racing license but found the printed word was his true calling. He began his career at cycling magazines immediately after graduating with a degree in journalism. He is a true industry veteran, having worked for some of the largest cycling magazines in the world and in marketing roles for major brands. Now he resides in Eastern Pennsylvania and vows to never move away from the East Coast, no matter how bad the weather.

Dirt Rag is enjoying another banner year in 2012, and continues to expand its readership and staff. This year the magazine incorporated a new parent company, Rotating Mass Media, to oversee Dirt Rag, its sister magazine Bicycle Times, as well as other business interests.

“The growth Dirt Rag has experienced in the past few years is phenomenal, yet not surprising because it is one of the very few magazines in the world that truly captures the heart and soul of mountain bike riding,” Cushionbury said. “I’m very excited to carry on that tradition not only by satisfying our current readers, but also increasing our readership as we move forward.”

“We’re honored to have such an experienced industry journalist and veteran on board,” said Publisher Maurice Tierney. “Mike has worked all over the industry and we’re going to tap into his wealth of knowledge and new perspectives.”

New Tech Editor

In addition to Cushionbury joining the staff, Eric McKeegan has transitioned to the role of Tech Editor, overseeing product testing and tech coverage coverage, and will act as the liaison between the magazines and brands. With more than a decade of experience in bike shops, training at both United Bicycle Institute and Barnett Bicycle Institute, and years of experience riding a huge range of bikes, McKeegan understands both the theory behind new technologies and they’re real world applications.

“Yes, this really is a dream job for an all around bike geek such as myself,” said McKeegan. “I’m excited about the opportunity to evolve my role at RMM, and manage our reviews and tech coverage to continue to lead the way in the ever-changing mountain bike media environment.”

“Business here at Dirt Rag and Rotating Mass Media has been moving up and to the right for the past few years and we’re confident our new staff is going to keep that going,” Tierney added.

Posted in Dirt Rag News

Dirt Rag publisher forms new parent company, Rotating Mass Media

Pittsburgh, September 11, 2012 — Building on growing success and expansion, Dirt Rag and Bicycle
Times magazines have created a new parent company, Rotating Mass Media LTD, to oversee a collection
of growing products.

“We realized we are now more than just Dirt Rag, and we needed a new name—a new brand—to include
all our efforts in the world of cycling,” said founder and Publisher, Maurice Tierney. “We didn’t get
bought out by some corporation, we’re making it our own.”

In addition to Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times magazines, other Rotating Mass Media endeavours include
Dirt Fest, a mountain bike festival that welcomes more than 2,000 visitors to the Allegrippis Trails in
Central Pennsylvania each spring, plus the Bicycle Times Gran Fondo of the Alleghenies, and a growing
digital and online portfolio.

Dirt Rag is celebrating its 25th year as a rider-owned, independent mountain biking publication, and
Bicycle Times is entering its fifth year of inspiring and educating readers about practical and recreational
cycling. Both magazines are celebrating a banner year, as the paid circulation of each title has reached
30,000 copies. Dirt Rag increased its readership 20 percent for 2013, and Bicycle Times increased 25
percent. Subscriptions are available on all major digital platforms as well.

Rotating Mass Media also has a new online presence, rotatingmassmedia.com, where advertisers
can see the current rate card, demographics data, production calendars, and print specs, and can even pay
for their ads online via PayPal.

Posted in Bicycle Times News, Dirt Rag News

Dirt Rag hires two new ad sales reps

Pittsburgh, PA — April 13, 2012 — Rotating Mass Media, parent company of Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times magazines, has bolstered its advertising sales staff with two bicycle industry veterans as the Pennsylvania-based publisher capitalizes on a growing readership.

Ellen Hall, based in Boulder, Colorado, and Gary Boulanger, based in San Francisco, will balance out the sales staff alongside Frank Wuerthele, based in Pittsburgh. Current Sales Manager Eric McKeegan will be transitioning to an editorial position for the publications by the fall, handing the sales management reigns to Trina Haynes.

Founder and publisher Maurice Tierney is now focusing his attention on overseeing the growing company, which publishes two print magazines, two websites, and two digital iPad/tablet versions to a domestic and international subscriber base. The company also hosts the annual Dirt Rag Dirt Fest and will be hosting its first Gran Fondo road event this fall.

“Gary and Ellen are well-connected and experienced, and excited to take us to the next level,” Tierney said. “Now we have a strengthened sales team to go with our expanded offerings in Dirt Rag, Bicycles Times and Dirt Fest. The Rotating Mass Media family continues to grow; I couldn’t think of two better additions.”

Tierney, a Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee, founded Dirt Rag in 1989. It is published seven times a year. Bicycle Times began in 2009 and is currently published six times a year.

This year also marks the 5th annual Dirt Fest, a mountain bike festival with an expected attendance of 2,000. The event runs May 18-20 at Raystown Lake in Hesston, Pa. With more than 30 miles of IMBA-built trails, Raystown is a fast and flowy reprieve from the rocks and roots typical of Pennsylvania mountain biking.

Posted in Bicycle Times News, Dirt Rag News

Bicycle Times Magazine rides 350 car-free miles to Washington for National Bike Summit

March 21, 2012 – Washington D.C.—Inspired by the corridor of bicycle trails linking their hometown of Pittsburgh to the nation’s capital, editors from Bicycle Times Magazine rode more than 350 car-free miles to the National Bike Summit to raise awareness for the great things that are possible with federal investment in cycling infrastructure.

Carrying all their own gear and receiving no outside support, Editor Karen Brooks and Online Editor Adam Newman made their journey along the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Pittsburgh then connected to the 184-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park trail to Washington. Brooks, along with Art Director Stephen Haynes and Circulation Manager Jon Pratt, will make the return trip along the same route after the conference.

Nearly complete, the GAP trail traces 150-miles of former railroad right-of-way that is maintained by seven different trail groups and will eventually reach Pittsburgh and further west. At the southeastern end it connects to the C&O Canal towpath in Cumberland, Md. For nearly a century the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River, but since 1971 it has been an invaluable protected recreation area for walkers, hikers, and cyclists. As a national park, the C&O Canal is an excellent example of a resource that was made possible by federal funding and is a worthy investment for all Americans.

“Even so early in the season, we met plenty of people, both trail users and business owners, who welcomed us and gave us encouragement along the way,” said Brooks. “The scenery was great, but it was the people who made the trip special. I’m looking forward to riding back again at a more leisurely pace, so that we can stop and explore even more. And eat more pastries!”

While in Washington for the Bike Summit, Bicycle Times will be meeting with advocacy groups from across the nation, attending seminars on everything from safety to economics, and will meet directly with representatives in Congress to ask for their support for cycling programs.

Completing the journey wasn’t just for fun, however. Bicycle Times prides itself on thorough product reviews, and a number of items—including bikes—were put through their paces to see how they hold up to real-world use. The full reviews will appear in a future issue of the magazine.

Since only Brooks is making the round trip, the other participants are taking advantage of another federally-supported means of transportation to get to and from Washington: Amtrak. Trains are perhaps the most bike-friendly means of transportation available when pedal power won’t do.

Even if you can’t make the trip to Washington for the Summit, your voice can still be heard by legislators. Visit the League of American Bicyclists’ website,www.bikeleague.org, and find out how.

You can read more about Bicycle Times’ ride to Washington, as well as our other adventures, in the print magazine or at www.bicycletimesmag.com.

For more info or photos, contact Adam Newman at 

Posted in Bicycle Times News

Dirt Rag Magazine wins 2012 Aveda Environmental Award

Pittsburgh, January 31, 2012 – Thanks in part to a recent switch to 90 percent recycled paper, Dirt Rag Magazine was awarded first place in a contest of magazine publishers for using environmentally responsible paper and production practices.

The 2012 Aveda Environmental Award, presented by Green America’s Better Paper Project, recognizes environmental leadership and achievement. Pittsburgh-based Dirt Rag was chosen because of its switch to new paper and printer — funded through a partnership with Clif Bar — as well as its innovative ways to encourage the staff to bike to work and its commitment to cycling advocacy. Dirt Rag has been leading the way in independent coverage of mountain biking since 1989.

“Because our staff and readers are avid mountain bikers and spend a lot of time outdoors, we treasure the environment and do what we can to minimize our footprint. As a natural extension of this, we are proud to use the new paper,” said Dirt Rag’s publisher, Maurice Tierney. “It’s as simple as walking the walk.”

Greenability, Kansas City’s green living magazine, was the runner up; and GRIT, a rural lifestyle magazine, was the third finalist.

How much of a difference would it make if more publications followed Dirt Rag’s lead? If the entire North American magazine industry included a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper in their publications, it would save approximately:

- 1.5 million tons of wood, or the equivalent of 10 million trees;
- 6.6 million BTU’s of energy, or the equivalent of heating 73,000 homes;
- 1.8 billion pounds of CO2 emissions, or the equivalent of taking 160,000 cars off the road;
- 7 billion gallons of wastewater, or the equivalent of 5,000 swimming pools;
- And 780 million pounds of solid waste, or the equivalent to 28,000 garbage trucks.

Dirt Rag’s new paper, produced by FutureMark Paper Company of Illinois, is guaranteed greater than 90 percent recycled with 30 percent post-consumer waste, and is Forest Stewardship Council Certified and Process Chlorine-Free. To go with the new paper, Dirt Rag has also transitioned to a new printer, Schumann, a family-owned company from Wisconsin that specializes in one or two-publication companies. The new paper and printer made their debut in Issue #158 of Dirt Rag and Issue #14 of its sister magazine, Bicycle Times. Bicycle Times covers transportation and recreational cycling and is published six times a year.

These big changes would not have been possible without the help of Clif Bar. Through its generosity, it provided the financial means to make the switch possible.

For a more comprehensive list of magazines using recycled paper and sustainable production processes visit Green America’s Better Paper Project website:http://betterpaper.ning.com/page/better-papers-better-magazine

About Dirt Rag: Dirt Rag has been bringing you an independent voice on the mountain bike scene since 1989. They bring you the best news, interviews, features, fiction and product reviews without corporate overlords getting in the way. Dirt Rag is published seven times a year. www.dirtragmag.com

About Aveda: Empowered by its mission, Aveda believes that authentic beauty is one that works in harmony with the greater web of life and leads its business through environmental sustainability. For this reason, Aveda partnered with Green America in 2005 to found the Aveda Environmental Awards for Magazines. Akin to Aveda’s corporate leadership in environmental and social sustainability, this award recognizes the achievements of magazines committed to environmental leadership in an industry where less than two percent of all magazines contain any recycled content. For more information on Aveda’s mission and guiding principles visit http://aveda.aveda.com/aboutaveda/guiding_principles.asp.

About Green America and the Better Paper Project: Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. Green America’s green economy programs encourage corporate responsibility, tackle climate change, build fair trading systems, advance healthy, local communities, and provide green purchasing and investing information for families and businesses. Green America’s Better Paper Project is creating a greener magazine industry in the US and has assisted over 150 publishers in selecting environmentally responsible papers for their magazines. For more information, visit http://www.greenamerica.org and http://www.betterpaper.org.

Posted in Dirt Rag News

Dirt Rag Switches to Recycled Paper

PITTSBURGH, PA (BRAIN)—Dirt Rag magazine, with help from Clif Bar, is transitioning its two publications to a recycled, sustainable paper source.

The new paper, produced by FutureMark Paper Company of Illinois, is guaranteed greater than 90 percent recycled with 30 percent post-consumer waste. It made its debut in Issue #158 of Dirt Rag, which is on newsstands now.

“You may have reduced or eliminated magazines and newspapers from your life to avoid all those dead trees hanging around. Now, you can support us and know that we’re doing our part to reduce the number of trees used to make our magazine,” said Dirt Rag publisher Maurice Tierney. With 90 percent of the paper sourced from recycled material, that’s far fewer trees needed to create an issue of Dirt Rag.

In fact, the paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forest Initiative and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. It is the same paper used by the Sierra Club in its publications. Other FutureMark clients include Whole Foods, Staples and Walmart.

To go with the new paper, Dirt Rag has also transitioned to a new printer, Schumann, a family-owned business in Wisconsin that specializes in printing for one or two-publication companies.

These big changes would not have been possible without the help of Clif Bar. Their generosity has provided the financial means to allow Dirt Rag to make this change.

“We cannot thank them enough for helping us follow this path, and for setting the highest standards for sustainable business practices in everything they do,” said editor Josh Patterson.

Posted in Bicycle Times News, Dirt Rag News

Dirt Rag Launches Commuting Magazine

PITTSBURGH, PA —Dirt Rag Magazine is launching a new magazine called Bicycle Times.

This new magazine will focus on the pavement side of the bicycle experience—from commuting, to touring, to riding with family, to just pedaling around.

“Bicycle Times is a natural progression of publishing Dirt Rag Magazine for 20 years,” said Dirt Rag founder and publisher Maurice Tierney. “Our devotion to the rotating mass of the bicycle wheel extends from the dirt to the pavement.”

“Throughout Dirt Rag’s history, we’ve received quality submissions that are in the free-spirited vein of the magazine, but that happen to be about riding bicycles on roads, not on trails. We also do a lot of road riding ourselves and have a wealth of knowledge about it to share. Now, we’ll have a home for such worthy but not mountain-bike-focused stories,” said Karen Brooks, editor of Dirt Rag.

The inaugural issue of Bicycle Times is slated for April of 2009, which is also the 20th Anniversary of Dirt Rag. In its first year, Bicycle Times will be published quarterly.

Posted in Bicycle Times News
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