Editor's Log Some Facts & Figures
Polkadate November 2019. There are always a couple of common questions that I get while on Polka Patrol from folks who are unfamiliar with the Texas Polka News and polkabeat.com. Where are you out of and what area do you cover, which is a double question, physical reporting and readership.
The answer to the first is that Theresa and I communicate by email on constructing an issue. She lives in Houston and I live in the suburbs of Fayetteville. She deals with advertisers, subscribers, writes, prods me to keep from missing deadline, and lays out the paper. When through, she sends me the semi-finished issue. I proofread it, to look for typos and other gaffes. I send her my comments to make adjustments. It totally amazes me, how error-free (usually) each issue is. Jeff Brosch finesses the layout and emails the files to the Bryan Eagle where it is printed.
Approximately 2,000 copies are printed each month. The Eagle prints hundreds of thousands of copies each month for dozens of papers across Central Texas, so they fit us in as soon as possible. They have our subscriber list and apply them, and mail it out.
Theresa and I generally meet once a month in Bryan to pick up the promotional issues and then discuss upcoming issues and general business. Cover stories are decided upon by special events (band's or musician’s anniversaries) or an attempt to expose our readers to other genres of music listed under our banner on the front page.There is a lot of real dancing music out there and everyone needs to be aware of it and support it. (Latest curious quote: “I only like Czech music, I don’t like American music…) The Cajun issue (TPN June 2019) got some good feedback as readers learned about this Texas-style music, yet the Cajun dance scene is disappearing in Texas. The Houston Cajun organization will no longer be holding dances; so sad for something so fun to disappear.
The second question, first part, is what area do we cover? For the dance calendar locations, that is derived from bands and clubs sending Theresa their schedules and advertisements. The listings are primarily from an area around a line running from Ennis to Temple to San Antonio to Victoria to Houston and back up I-45 to Ennis. There are other more remote locations, of course, and we are glad to publish them.
Since TPN is by subscription only, (not magazine racks), the difficulty of moving geographically into a larger area is difficult. Facebook and the weekly polkabeat e-blast exposes TPN to a wider geographical audience thusly the possibility of increased subscriptions; if the viewers recognize that these two FREE avenues are subscriber financed and elect to subscribe.
Also, while on the polkabeat Facebook page, please click on the posting signifying whether you like or dislike it; this morning I posted announcing a dance opportunity - 198 folks saw it, yet only 4 liked it. It is a very well-known band. Please click. Last week there were over 1,000 people enjoying the polkabeat FB page than there were subscribers to the paper, and there is a significant number of readers who do not use computers. (FYI, there are 24 readers who use the digital-only version.)
Photography-wise, TPN has a wonderful staff of volunteer photographers located around the dance area listed above. They have different tastes of cultural music preferences thusly the reader receives a buffet of music and events each week. The documentation of themed festivals creates a body of work that doesn’t exist anywhere else (that I know of) in the United States. German, Czech, Polish, Cajun and Zydeco, and Anglo cultures are being integrated into a generic culture that is faceless and themeless. Not only is TPN about the people who are dancing, but why and where they dance. Theresa and I cannot begin to express our gratitude to the photographers for making it a varied and happy magazine. (Another best quote: “It’s the only thing that comes in the mail that is full of happy people and makes me smile.”)
As far as geographical distribution, the TPN is being read in over 3/5 of the United States. Here is a breakdown by state and their subscriber count. Anyone know of anyone in Hawaii and a foreign country that would like a subscription? Alabama (1), Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (4), California (6), Colorado (5), Connecticut (3), District of Columbia (1), Florida (4), Iowa (6), Illinois (6), Indiana
(1), Kansas (6), Louisiana (2), Maryland
(1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (2), Missouri
(4), Montana (1), North Dakota (1), Nebraska (6), New Mexico (1), New York
(5), Ohio (4), Oklahoma (3), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee, (2), Virginia
(1), Washington, (1), Wisconsin (9).
Texas, of course, leads the pack as 1,643 issues are shipped to addresses in the Lone Star state. Being a devoted Texian, it’s a good feeling to know that the Texas Polka News is being read in Abbott, the home of Willie Nelson, who first played in the Rejcek Orchestra. Anahuac, where the first armed insurrections against the Mexican Government took place, has some TPN readers. Hallettsville, home of Janak Sausage, leads the pack with over 50 subscribers in towns with populations between 2,000 and 5,000. Houston, the home of the great migration of German and Czechs after WW II, has over 150 subscribers.
Various other small hamlets and villages where the TPN passes through the possible one- or two-person post offices are Natalia, Muldoon, Rosanky, St. Hedwig, Van Ormy, Voss, (where 1/20th of the population of 20 subscribe), Danciger, Guy, and Fayetteville.
Hopefully, this answers questions on the hows and whys of Texas Polka News and polkabeat, so please give a gift subscription to the person borrowing your paper and click often on FaceBook postings; our advertisers like that.