Looking Back, Moving Forward

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT IN LIFE, THE ONLY CONSTANT IS change, and this axiom certainly applies to the contracting industry. When Sound & Video Contractor
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Looking Back, Moving Forward

Jan 1, 2003 12:00 PM, GEORGE PETERSEN

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT IN LIFE, THE ONLY CONSTANT IS change, and this axiom certainly applies to the contracting industry. When Sound & Video Contractor first appeared 20 years ago, most of today's systems contractors were known as “sound” contractors. The changeover to the “systems” part (along with the systems themselves) was still years away.

In fact, 1983 was a different time indeed. Those days were the prefax, pre-Mac, pre-cell-phone, pre-DVD, pre-MTV, pre-CD days. Eight-track tapes and Sony Betamax VCRs were in the stores, and a nice house could be had for $50,000. Yet even a simple IBM PC-XT with 128 KB of RAM, a 360K floppy, and a whopping 10 MB hard drive would set you back a cool $5,000 — not including the 12-inch amber monitor.

The times may have been different, but the vision was there. S&VC was born out of a need to provide solid information about technology, products, business issues, and in-depth installation features. The impetus for S&VC came from Cam Bishop, the magazine's first publisher, who also headed sibling publication Broadcast Engineering. Accordingly, S&VC's interest in exploring the video and audio side of contracting was there since day one.

Besides the present team of John Pledger, Mark Smith, Jennifer Moline, Tami Needham, and excellent contributing editors, several S&VC staffers played a vital role in the magazine's success in past years. Those editors include Fred Ampel, Ted Uzzle, and Nat Hecht as well as publishers Bishop, (the late) Dennis Milan, and John Torrey. On the sales side, kudos to Eric Jacobson, Herb Schiff, (the late) Jason Perlman, and the current crew of Julie Dees, Sue Horwitz, Robin Boyce-Trubitt, and Stan Kashine. Kashine joined S&VC with the first issue, and his continued dedication to the industry inspires us all. Thanks, everyone.

In any endeavor, change is inevitable, ongoing, and exciting. As S&VC kicks off its 20th year, changes are being ushered in here, as well. The biggest change is the appointment of Mark Mayfield as editor. Mayfield's extensive background — with experiences ranging from hands-on systems contracting to product design and marketing for leading companies within the field — makes him suited to the task. Next month Mayfield takes over this editorial; he's a sharp guy with a lot to say. You'll like him.

Also, many readers may know me primarily as the editorial director of Mix (or from some other title I've had during my 21 editorial years there). However, in addition to continuing my work at Mix, I will now be contributing to the S&VC editorial effort on a regular monthly basis as senior consulting editor.

Speaking of changes, a series of informative “Technology Showcases” begins with this issue. Exploring evolving and emerging technologies, these articles will provide you with the necessary background and information to stay current with today's advanced audio, video, automation, control systems, and products. This month's focus is on assistive listening systems and LCD touch-panel/touch-screen controllers.

The industry and technologies may have changed during the past 20 years, but one constant has been our readers' professionalism and dedication to excellence. Publishing is too often one-way communication, but especially in this anniversary year, we want to hear more from you. Drop us a line at s&vc@primediabusiness.com to offer an interesting anecdote, whether it's an installation tip, trick, or technique or perhaps some recollections about the industry's history. Sound & Video Contractor is your magazine. Be a part of our team and let us know what you like or would like to see more of. We'll be listening.

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