EverythingLongBeach recently spoke with John O’Kane, Publisher/Editor of AMASS Magazine, via email. They talked about inspirations, challenges and what’s it’s like having a business in All of Long Beach.
Tell us about AMASS Magazine. How long has it been in business?
It was founded in 1976 as an academic journal under another name, ENclitic. It has been non-academic since the 1990s.
The magazine is produced quarterly and distributed nationally through bookstores and newsstands, and in Europe and Asia as well. It also has many subscribers, especially libraries, both in the US and in other countries. The magazine is sold at an individual and institutional price outside of the harbor area. It is free in the harbor area and supported by local advertisers. The circulation, paid and free, totals 12,000. Most of this circulation is in Long Beach where we drop at about 200 sites.
We feature nationally known writers on issues of interest to the country at large that are political, economic and cultural. We also print articles on local issues, including restaurant and art reviews. And we also print fiction and an occasional poem. Our focus is libertarian and populist, as opposed to liberal or conservative, democratic or republican. Most of our advertisers are either non-political or conservative. But there’s no question we have a progressive slant. Our art and restaurant reviews tend to be focused around issues of community in Long Beach.
Our last issue, #41, was just released a few weeks ago. The cover and article attached highlight Williams Gym on Pine Ave. The next issue is due out in October. We would describe AMASS as a magazine for Long Beach and the Harbor area, as opposed to being strictly about these areas.
Why did you start AMASS Magazine?
I continued the magazine after being the editor in graduate school while completing my doctorate. My main interest and concern has always been in focussing on the issues of importance in our society.
What makes AMASS Magazine stand out?
It stands out because it prints articles about issues that no other publication does in the area. It is written in an accessible fashion and goes beyond conventional journalism. The articles are longer and more in depth. And it is free in the local area, but sold nationally and internationally.
What is the biggest success AMASS Magazine has had?
An increase in circulation from 1,500 to 12,000.
What is your favorite part of running your business?
Meeting local merchants and learning about their innovative ways to make a go of their businesses. We feel we are part of the Long Beach merchant family.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge now is deciding how to expand in a climate where the economy is in a holding pattern.
What unique talents do you bring to AMASS Magazine?
I have a doctorate in the Humanities and a masters in the Social Sciences. I teach in the UC system and publish in national venues. Next book out in 6 weeks.
How is AMASS Magazine involved with the community?
Through advertising mostly, but also in tending to the the distribution at various sites and expanding them. Also, we have built a family of writers and visual artists.
Do you have any future plans for AMASS Magazine?
Expand in terms of frequency, and geographical area.
What is the best advice that you received and who did it come from?
One of our advertisers said to keep the magazine the way it is. Maintain the quality and substance and don’t go for the quick buck. The numbers will catch up eventually!
Tell us one last thing:
We are planning to start do public events after the next issue.
How to contact AMASS Magazine:
Address: 1243 W. 13th Street San Pedro, CA