The Brad Weisman Show

The Making of a Magazine with Robyn Jones

February 01, 2024 Brad Weisman, Realtor
The Brad Weisman Show
The Making of a Magazine with Robyn Jones
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As I sit across from Robyn Jones, the nostalgic laughter can't be contained – our podcasting days, once a weekly ritual, have returned for one special episode.  We're cracking open the vault to share the shenanigans and heartfelt moments that made "Here's What's Happening" a treasure trove of memories.  For many years now she has been wielding the publishing baton at Berks County Living Magazine, Robyn gives us a VIP tour of the magazine-making odyssey.  From the synergy of content and ads to the strategic foreshadowing of issues months away, we get a peek into the editorial choreography that keeps readers engaged and advertisers smiling.

The conversation doesn't stop at the press; we meander through the detours of life that took Robyn from elementary teaching hopeful to publishing maestro, a journey that's as inspiring as it is surprising.  Her love for the simple joys – Hallmark movie marathons and "Favorite Things" parties and not to mention her ongoing involvement in community events.  So, whether you're a magazine enthusiast, a podcast aficionado, or just in need of a good story and a chuckle, tune in and let's revel in the confluence of community, passion, and the little moments that make life grand.

#robynjones #BerksCountyLiving #bradweisman #thebradweismanshow #publisher

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Welcome to The Brad Weisman Show (formerly known as Real Estate and YOU), where we dive into the world of real estate, real life, and everything in between with your host, Brad Weisman! 🎙️ Join us for candid conversations, laughter, and a fresh take on the real world. Get ready to explore the ups and downs of life with a side of humor. From property to personality, we've got it all covered. Tune in, laugh along, and let's get real! 🏡🌟 #TheBradWeismanShow #RealEstateRealLife #realestateandyou

Credits - The music for my podcast was written and performed by Jeff Miller.

Speaker 1:

From real estate to real life and everything in between. The Brad Wiseman show and now your host, brad Wiseman. Wow, there we go. I am so excited about this show. I think I say that every time. Hugo, do I say that every single time? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, I say it pretty much every single time. I'm really excited because I used to do a show called here's what's Happening with Tony Reese. It was Gami Neves and Robin Jones. Now you have to guess which one's in the studio here. No, you don't have to do that, but no, we used to do this great show and it was basically a podcast and a show, a streaming show that every week, we said what was going on in the county and the person that was the most organized every single week and the person that always had great notes was Robin Jones.

Speaker 2:

And I loved every second of it. That was so fun to do that you were always so prepared. I'd have notes printed out, or on my mind.

Speaker 1:

I did and Brad would have a reading eagle that he would just sort of leave through. Remember when I would forget it sometimes and I would get like, oh shoot, I'd be like Robin, you have anything for me? She would share her notes with me.

Speaker 2:

Or I would go through something of great detail and then Gami would start over. Oh my gosh, like I just went through that, that was hilarious.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think a lot of times he was running the board. So he was running the board and then you would say something and we'd all look at you like, well, we just talked about that, we just talked about that, that was fun. So it was a lot of fun. Yeah, we did. We did that show.

Speaker 2:

For years we did it.

Speaker 1:

They did. It was so fun. So now I'm back here. We got another show, which is the show I'm doing now, which I love doing, and I'm glad that you agreed to come in here. Yeah, so happy. So you are the publisher of Berks County Living. You've been since 2001. Or maybe you didn't start as the publisher.

Speaker 2:

No, I just started that. Well, not just, but I started as the sales rep and eventually became the associate publisher and then the publisher.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have a question what in the world does the publisher do?

Speaker 2:

So many people think that, because a lot of people think the editors in charge Right, but it's really the publisher and the editor works for me. Okay, well, I mean, we work together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, sure. No, I know what you meant, I know what you're yeah.

Speaker 2:

But so I sort of have. I think I have the best job because I get to oversee everything. Yeah, my hand in everything gotcha but just sort of keep it moving. So I'm in charge of the editorial team.

Speaker 1:

The same editorial would be the writing right, right, the writing that goes into that, that the Magazine right.

Speaker 2:

So I'm Nikki Murray's our editor. Yeah, and then all of our writers and photographers are all freelance people that we just hire on Assignment to get jobs.

Speaker 1:

So if you need to do something West Reading, you call Johnson Coaches or you call whoever, and they go out and they do the job Right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we assign them, like for the writers, a word count, what we're looking for in the piece, and Nikki and I together Come up with what all the articles are gonna be, and we plan super far in advance.

Speaker 1:

So how far in advance do you actually do this magazine?

Speaker 2:

Oh, we work so far in advance. It's crazy how yeah to work in advance, so we work months in advance. So, for example, in February, the February issue is published. Yes the March issue is already at the printer. Wow. The April issue we're working on the design. All the May and potentially June assignments are out, which is crazy.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So that's why you say to me sometimes, when I've done ads in the past, you're like we need to have this, and I'm like geez, it's like it's so far from now, like why do I need that? So you planted out that far in advance.

Speaker 2:

It's incredible and we have to release our editorial calendar usually in the fall of each year. So pretty much every week over the summer, nikki and I have an editorial meeting where we plan what the next year next year. Yeah, wow, that's incredible something comes up throughout the year that we think all right, that's a better idea. And more time?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we'll we'll do that. Yeah, we can change. But you know, it's amazing to me it's always like a puzzle piece too. That's exactly. Am I right? Like seriously, cuz if somebody says they're gonna do an ad, right, like, look at a magazine is like a puzzle piece. You have everything, every space is filled, right, it's all filled in. So I'm sitting here going thinking okay, so if there's an ad that doesn't make it, or somebody cancels an ad, what? What do you do then?

Speaker 2:

Well, it is totally like a puzzle. We call it a thumbnail and I actually do the layout of the magazine to design.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2:

Exactly where all the ads are going to be and we try to like thoughtfully place the ads so in the magazine. We have different sections of the magazine and our idea for doing the sections was like we used to have a bridal issue in our annual January issue every year. But we had some businesses say, oh, I don't have anything to do with wedding, so I don't need an ad in that issue.

Speaker 1:

Got it.

Speaker 2:

And all the same, readers are getting the magazine at the same time. So if we always have a restaurant article, always have a home related article always have fashion, always have events. You'll fit in into that article.

Speaker 1:

Gotcha.

Speaker 2:

And you're still reaching the same amount of people. But when I place the ads, if you're running an ad about an event, I try to put in the calendar section. If you're a flooring business, I put it in the home related article. Yeah, it has to make sense, Like you're trying, like yeah people read the ads like they read the editorial, because it's all local which is super nice so it makes a lot of sense, but it's. We call it a thumbnail and it's a piece of paper I could show.

Speaker 1:

Do you actually sketch this out?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like I hand write it in the like color code. Oh, my gosh Now our previous art director used to do it on the computer, which was probably faster, but then I always had some changes and it just over the years just became how about if I just do it, because then I'm going to know that I'm pleased?

Speaker 1:

for everything. That's a lot of work. Yeah, it is, but it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work, but it all comes together. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I'm going to add in something I don't ever want to say no like. I want to take the ad, so then I have to figure out. But then you know it's never just one piece moves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that everything moves. Yeah, it's like. It's like doing a Rubik's cube yeah. When you go to get that one square in there and you come back, forget it. It's all over. Amazing Now how many. You're doing one every month. You're putting out a magazine every month.

Speaker 2:

Now, when the magazine first started, though, it was a bi-monthly magazine, so it's just six issues a year.

Speaker 1:

Oh, okay.

Speaker 2:

So it started as the sales rep for just six issues every year for the first couple of years that's how it was, and then I was through the process of changing it into a monthly magazine, which was like double the work in the same amount of time, which is incredible. Now I can't imagine it being just six months. I think I'd be sort of bored, because there were sort of like a couple of weeks where you're like I don't really have to work that hard right now and now you don't get a time to breathe really.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's crazy. Do you ever argue with your team or what's going to be on the front cover, or who's getting up to the front of the magazine, or you know what I mean? Like that kind of stuff and he kind of like I'd think of, like a movie. I always think they're fighting or something.

Speaker 2:

No, there's no fighting.

Speaker 1:

I just think that there's like a cat fight or there's a fight that you're like no, I want this on the front. You know what I mean. Well, maybe not. There's no fighting Could be, just build up in my mind. We do?

Speaker 2:

we usually do several covered choices.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So the director creates them and usually different kind of looks, and then we all sort of vote for our favorite, and lots of times that is your vote.

Speaker 1:

Count for more.

Speaker 2:

Yes so.

Speaker 1:

I knew it, Hugo she's the big way.

Speaker 2:

I knew it. I knew it Fighting. That's why there's no fighting.

Speaker 1:

Because it's just Robin goes. This is going to be the cover. Yeah, that's it.

Speaker 2:

Now, most of the time I like to go with the majority for the most part or a variation of the cover. Now, if someone just had their heart set on something and I could tell how important it was and it wasn't that important to me to have the other one, I would be willing to let them have the right thing. But usually, let's say she did four covered choices. Usually I like part of one and part of another and then a fifth choice comes out, urging the things together.

Speaker 1:

And who does that part Like the designing of the covers?

Speaker 2:

I'm our art director.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so an art director does that, actually does the artistic part in there. It's incredible. What's what's your favorite part of doing the magazine? What gets you like you can't wait to get into? Is it seeing the finished magazine? Yes, that's what I would think it would be too, and so out Like we have like open in that box of the fresh ones. Is that? That's the best part, right I?

Speaker 2:

do love it, Although sometimes I'm like please let everything be right. Like you think it is it all looked going in, but you just never know what's going to happen.

Speaker 1:

Minds me, elf, and the two pages are missing. Do you remember that from Elf? Elf, the two pages are missing and let's go to print. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Or in Friends, when Rachel makes the trifle, oh yeah not good.

Speaker 1:

not good, so is there? Are there mistakes?

Speaker 2:

Very rarely, but just like they often come out on a Friday and then I'm always like, should I look at it or should I wait till the end of the weekend?

Speaker 1:

Well, there's nothing to do. Yeah, exactly, it's printed, it's done.

Speaker 2:

We've the biggest mistake that I think that was ever made and it was before I was in charge of any kind.

Speaker 1:

Thank God she was juicy, she wasn't in charge. Thank goodness, you notice.

Speaker 2:

She said there's been no mistakes, since she's in charge, totally the biggest one and it's sort of maybe helped to make me in charge.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

We did an article on the scookle sojourn. You know, like the kayaks or the canoes going through. We misspelled scookle on the cover of the magazine no.

Speaker 1:

On the cover.

Speaker 2:

On the cover I gotta say scookle is one that screws me up a lot, but like if you're publishing a magazine you should know how to say scookle, so when it's printed and I got delivered to my house and I never saw anything. Before it arrived at my house I was like oh my gosh, oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

Like I did you like holy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think I like when I swore Did you swear? You probably swore I did swear.

Speaker 1:

I thought so, but that's incredible that somebody spelled scookle, especially in this area. Yeah, my gosh, doesn't there spell check?

Speaker 2:

for these things. Well, maybe that's not in spell check.

Speaker 1:

Scookle probably not.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, it was a mistake. There's no way to do it.

Speaker 1:

How many eyes were on that that missed that. That's, it's amazing, you know.

Speaker 2:

But I think at the time there were less eyes on it because of the way the team was set up.

Speaker 1:

Gotcha, gotcha, amazing, amazing. So the other thing too is I gotta say you are everywhere in the community. One of the things I've noticed about you is that you can go to pretty much any event in the area and usually you either have your hands in it or you've been there or you're going there or whatever, because I see you a lot of different places, yeah, but it's amazing. I mean you are everywhere. But I think that's a lot to do. That helps a lot with the fact that you do a magazine called Berks County Living.

Speaker 2:

You are living the county you are definitely involved in everything, and I think you have to be involved in the community in order to produce a community magazine.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely. I agree with that.

Speaker 2:

I was in that magazine when I got married when you really yeah with my wife at Heidi Reuters submitted the photos. When I walked in I was like, how do I know you?

Speaker 1:

And then I went yeah, yeah, you don't forget a face like that.

Speaker 2:

That's Heidi, and Heidi is one of our freelance photographers.

Speaker 1:

She's very good.

Speaker 2:

Years and years and years. She always does our Dining Out article. Typically we do a wedding of hers and she does lots of stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she's very good. I've seen a lot of her. I love her. How many magazines go out?

Speaker 2:

How many are printed. We say we print up to 10,000 magazines per issue. And it all depends if we have like extra distribution. So like upcoming in April is the Southeast Pennsylvania Home and Garden show, and so we have a booth. This year it's at the Leastport Market, which I think will be interesting and sort of fun. But we'll have a booth at the table, will all day long. We'll just stay on there and pass out magazines and then so we print extra copies so we can have them.

Speaker 1:

That's very cool, yeah, cause we get them here at the office.

Speaker 2:

I know we get a copy, which is nice. It's great you know the real-term mailboxes.

Speaker 1:

It's awesome, it's very nice.

Speaker 2:

And then several realtors in the area like give, give subscriptions to the people.

Speaker 1:

That's a good idea.

Speaker 2:

Sort of get you familiar with the area.

Speaker 1:

That gets it to their house. That's a great idea. I like that idea. So also, did you go through high school saying I want to be a magazine publisher?

Speaker 2:

No, I went through high school and college thinking I wanted to be an elementary education.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you know, I remember you saying that.

Speaker 2:

So I graduated from Susquehav. How'd that work out for you? Well, we're talking. Great for Berkeley.

Speaker 1:

We're talking about Berkeley living. Is that how it worked?

Speaker 2:

out? Yeah, exactly, but so I graduated to be an elementary education along with everyone else in the world. The year I graduated I wanted to be a teacher, so jobs were a few in bar between.

Speaker 1:

Was that back in late 90s?

Speaker 2:

I graduated college in 91.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So yeah, that's exactly right. I remember back then there was so many teachers.

Speaker 2:

So I substituted, taught for two years and then I worked at Sam's Club at night and on the weekend. Oh my God, sam's Club. I can still tell you some.

Speaker 1:

Did you give out the? Did you? Oh really, are you serious? Yeah, I really could tell you, like all photos you were at the receipt checker. That puts the line through it. No, Did they really look at the cart? I don't think they do. Do you ever go to BG? I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I'm like now I do that scan and go thing.

Speaker 1:

So like they just show it, like look at your phone. I don't know how that works.

Speaker 2:

But anyway. So I graduated to be a teacher and I couldn't, and then eventually I went into sales and then was like I don't think I could go back to teaching. But if you think about it, it is sort of similar to what I'm doing now, because we gave like, as a teacher you'd give assignments to students, now we give assignments to writers, yep, I mean, you have a lesson plan, now we have an editorial plan, and you know like, so true, yeah, they're still the act of teaching, especially elementary.

Speaker 1:

Ed is a lot of planning, yeah, a lot of planning A lot of planning for this.

Speaker 2:

You have to be totally organized. You have to be sort of spread out. You know have various interests, like kids. Yeah, I agree 100%. And you?

Speaker 1:

know. The other thing is you're involved with the PA Americana region. You're also on. Are you still on the grip advisory board? You don't still do that, or no?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think I am, but they just haven't asked, they haven't had any meetings.

Speaker 1:

They didn't kick you off. You don't know. It's been a while. It's been a while. And women to women yeah, so I so.

Speaker 2:

I, so I, this is sort of fun, I think, yeah, so I was on the initial like board for grip the greater reading. I remember that and a founding member of women to women.

Speaker 1:

That is cool. You know what's fine. I remember the grip things used to hire me to sing for that sometimes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, that's really cool. You should do our jingle, jingle mix. Oh my god.

Speaker 1:

That's right at the, at the in town.

Speaker 2:

Was it a blinkin at the evening? Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

I remember that now. So it says I read, I read this somewhere that you, you enjoy a glass of wine and and I was like, hmm, I know Robin, it's probably a bottle. I know Robin very well, so you love wine, red or white, both both. There you go.

Speaker 2:

When are a little more red, some are a little more white, but isn't it funny how that works.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's something about the the white wine in the summer because it's refreshing. Yeah, yeah exactly I agree with you, and red wine warms you up. Yeah it's so funny. I feel the same way watching good movies. Have you seen any good movies lately?

Speaker 2:

right now Well, not right now, but a couple last couple months ago. I I'm obsessed with hallmark movies. Okay, the need to watch every holiday.

Speaker 1:

Sure Sure.

Speaker 2:

I still watch, like now, every weekend a new hallmark movie.

Speaker 1:

What about, like Yellowstone, like that kind of stuff?

Speaker 2:

you're watching anything I don't watch Yellowstone, I feel as though I missed the boat on them.

Speaker 1:

I'm so good. We still didn't finish it, but it's so yeah.

Speaker 2:

My sister and her family love Yellowstone. Yeah, but I just I didn't know if I'd like it, and then I started now. I'm like, oh, it's so late now, but I watch a lot of streaming show.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and I love to go to the movie theater, to oh yes, yeah, it's, absolutely one of my favorite snacks.

Speaker 2:

So can you, and you can get those big. I get the tub, I'm there, I'm there.

Speaker 1:

You had some raisinettes or something. And then also, I know you like to cook, you experiment with new recipes and things like that, and I know, since we know, with February, here You're, do you to do this thing with your friends, favorite things?

Speaker 2:

you're still doing this because you have been doing this for a long time yeah, I just forgot how long, but for years I've done it and I love it.

Speaker 1:

I love and it's called favorite things. What is it? Oprah does it kind of, doesn't she?

Speaker 2:

so it sort of stemmed from that. So what it is is I invite I'm just girlfriends to come and you have to bring with you three of your favorite things, of the exact food or is this anything? More like a present present Okay go three things that cost either $10 or less, or this year we might.

Speaker 1:

We're changing it to $15 inflation yeah, $10 you get the pack of gum.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's about it, yeah and but so it's clever how people come up with their items, so you have to do three of these exact same, okay, same thing, and then so, like you have a, an eight ball, you've noticed you'd have to bring three of these exact same eight. Oh, okay colors, same, everything, so they're exactly the same. And then you I have names, that you draw your names out of a hat, and then whatever names you pull is who you give your gift to. So you go home from the party with three new.

Speaker 1:

You might become gotcha Thing.

Speaker 2:

So it's really fun to see really fun People bring, and then you have to explain like why it's your favorite thing got it, got it. But so, like over the years, like I like to cook and entertain, so I've gotten some pampered chef. Products like I was a. I had a party, so then you got free things and I got discounts. So the item that I gave cost more than $10, but the way I I even say well, to purchase it, it costs less, so, really, sweet, but it's funny you might have to have that the $20.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it's getting a little rough for 15. Like you feel bad like making the people pay, because that eight ball was more than that just so you know don't.

Speaker 2:

I saw you looking at, so I don't want you eyeing that up. I like that it's red. It's not cool.

Speaker 1:

I found a red one. Isn't that funny, yeah, yeah, my son has a black one and he took it back home, you, so I had to order my own.

Speaker 2:

That's funny.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's cool.

Speaker 2:

But so it's neat to see what people say at the party and they explain why it's the party. Sometimes, as they're explaining it, they might like get teary eyed.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow, right, and they love it.

Speaker 2:

which is like then it's just so touching. And or like later I'll get texts like I didn't get this item from someone else, but I love what they. Could you find out where they bought it, you know, like just sort of find it Very cool, and then I do all the food for the party. Which Right Do you still collect spreaders? I?

Speaker 1:

do Right, am I?

Speaker 2:

not right.

Speaker 1:

You can believe I remember that. Yeah, she collects spreaders, which I never knew there was such a thing.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I know what a spreader is like for, like peanut butter or whatever like that she collects these things but she goes to like I put a lot of one of them once and then he gave me one as a present.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I did, because I was like the only because we were somewhere on vacation, jess and I think, and I saw a spreader. I'm like we know where we were. We were in Key West, I'm pretty sure we're in Key West I think you were and I'm looking around and for stuff for our kids as souvenirs. I said you know what I do? Know somebody would like that spreader and it was you and I brought it.

Speaker 2:

You had like a like pewter end.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, yes, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

It's much easier than spreading things with a spreader than it is with a knife.

Speaker 1:

Yes, absolutely. Oh my God, we have these spreaders from Cutco which are the flat length. They are great, like making a peanut butter jelly sandwich or putting butter on something.

Speaker 2:

It's just amazing Is he getting it out of a jar.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, it's amazing. Thanks so much for coming out here today. I really appreciate it. What a great conversation. That was awesome. That was fun. Yes, very good, very good. So we'll have to get you, tony and Gami, here for a show. We'll do a little reunion tour or something like that. You know, just kind of do a reunion about what we used to do. That'd be great, awesome. Thanks so much for coming in. All right, there you have it Robin Jones from Brooks County, living the publisher, and now we know what a publisher is. So, thank goodness, we know what that is. All right, that's about it. We'll see you next Thursday at 7 pm. Thank you for watching the show.

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