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FAQs and Input about working for FAMA Magazine

Back to BobF Writing Log/Input

Need to decide whether to sue them for mis-use of content... or just wait till they fold, implode from incompetence and dishonesty

FAMA writing redux     5/3/06 Hi Bob, <Hey Clay!> It was really nice to meet you at IMAC. And thanks for agreeing to do a couple of articles for FAMA magazine. I'm penciling you in for two articles: a ribbon eel piece and an article on emperor angels. <Real good. Will crank these out and send along to you... snail mail or just via the Net?> Also, you were going to send me a disk of pics. We need freshwater and saltwater species, equipment and technical shots, full-length multi-species tank shots, etc. <Mmm, am capable of doing most all> The time between receiving something and seeing it in print is relatively quick. We pay $400 for 1,500-word articles with a selection of about 10 decent photos per article (we usually end up using four or five in the actual article). At some point, please provide me with an idea as to when you think you might have each article to our office. <In a week or so...> You can space them out or send them in at the same time, it's entirely up to you. <Thank you> FAMA is for more advanced aquarists, so your articles can deal with the more challenging aspects of keeping ribbon eels and emperors. Usually captive-care articles such as these start off with some natural history, but the bulk of each article will be captive-care requirements. Also, part of the word count should be a sidebar and can cover anything from conservation issues to brief descriptions of commonly kept species to particular illnesses and treatments. You can also cover breeding in sidebars (or in the body of the article). Remember that personal anecdotes as they might pertain to keeping the fish you are writing about are a good thing. <Hotay> Because 1,500 words isn't a lot, you may want to cover just a couple species that people keep. Or you could delve into some challenging aspect of keeping these fish like a particular captive ailment and any and all known treatments for it. <Will do> Photos can be slides or digitals (must be 300 dpi). If going with digitals, send raw digital images with no Photoshop alterations. We have an art department that adjusts the colors and such. <Okay> You can either e-mail a Word document and the digitals to cjackson@bowtieinc.com, or drop everything in the mail and address it: FAMA, 3 Burroughs, Irvine, CA 92618-2804; Attn.: Clay Jackson. Once we receive everything, then we'll either mail or fax you a contract, which you'll need to quickly sign and return. You'll be paid the month of publication and will receive two contributor copies too. <Real good> Welcome back to the FAMA family of contributors. I'm looking forward to working with you. If you have any questions or comments, my phone and e-mail are always open. Thanks again. Sincerely, Clay Jackson Managing Editor FAMA (949) 855-8822 ext. 3138 <Outstanding. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I look forward to many more submissions, work with you in future. Bob Fenner> Already got you on the schedule. Thanks Bob. --Clay P.S.-- You can send the articles w/pics via e-mail. Any huge volume of photos would need to go the conventional USPS route. <Will do! BobF>

The New FAMA Hey you---how's it going???? I need to talk with you about writing for FAMA again, under Bowtie's ownership, but, for now, do you have any idea where I can get in touch with Alex Kerstitch????? Thanks, Suze <Mmm, Suze... Alex is long since dead... passed on from real self-induced trouble... croaked. Bob Fenner>

Re: Amazon Sword plants with Black Fungus, FAMA "sales" Bob and Crew, <Dave> Thanks again for the response. Illuminating, as usual. Hopefully, this short spate of follow-on questions is not overstaying my welcome. <Not going to happen> Well, I have spent the last several days perusing the WetWebMedia and The Krib web pages per your earlier response, and I now find myself, like the guy in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", with lots of great answers to my questions, but, now, even more questions, some of them quite basic, it appears. At the risk of being pointed to pages that I have seen but skipped in the last several days, I am going to try and make sure I am not going in a completely inappropriate direction here. <Ahh, clarity is pleasurable... and your "quest" will yield this in time, effortlessness> My goal with the freshwater aquarium was to create a planted aquarium which would host a reasonable amount of diverse but compatible freshwater fish, with perhaps a few invertebrates. It is a sort of pre-school step for setting up my 90 gallon marine tank. <Very good to understand a situation, critical to understand what one is about...> I have a 46 gallon glass tank with an undergravel filter as well as a Marineland Penguin 170 outboard filter. I have two AquaClear 30 powerheads, located near the top of the water, one on the left and one on the right, which drive the undergravel filter. I have 2x Blue Tetras, 2x Neons, 2x Green Barbs, 2x Tiger Barbs, 6x Glass Cats, 2x Plecos, 2x Chinese Algae Eaters, 6x Serpae Tetras, 2x Masked Corys, and 2x, Clown Loaches, plus a few various small shrimp. My current plant crop is limited to Amazon Swords, several of which are succumbing to the Beard Algae that started this whole  discussion. <Yes> Now, after reading through several of the WWM/Krib FAQs/Articles, I am a bit concerned about the undergravel filter and its compatibility with the intent to grow live plants. So, my first question is, do I need to dispose of the undergravel filter, and, if so, what would I replace it with? <I would at least "turn off" the powerheads (leaving the plates, risers in place) at this point... the hang on filter will do what you need here> A larger external mech/carbon/bio filter? Or do I need to take a page from marine aquarium technology and set up some sort of sump (I don't have a ready location for this sort of thing with the freshwater tank)? Or what? I thought I had done a good job of going through the set-up FAQs before I started, but, did I make a major mis-calculation here? <I would see how the current hang on does... do monitor your nitrogen cycle initially... as cessation of circulation through the substrate does have some consequences> Some of the WWM webpages seem to indicate that using an undergravel filter is perfectly compatible with plant cultivation. Is this true? <Mmm, strictly speaking, yes... Please allow me a shot to be clear/er here. Non-rooted plants (e.g. "grasses") do not "care" whether there is UG use or no... many rooted plants are disadvantaged by UG use... loss/competition for nutrients mostly... Such that these rooted plants are far better off "planted" in blind pots, or sequestered to an area that lacks UG plates... Overall, almost all "planted freshwater aquariums" are far better off WITHOUT undergravel filtration.> The idea I have forming here is to add substrate (I am using natural 1/8" - 1/4" mixed gravel) so it is deeper, say 2-1/2" - 3" or so (I have about 1-1/2" - 2" right now) and buy or make some small plastic dishes, say 3" - 4" in diameter, maybe 2" deep for each plant and "plant" each plant in an aquatic soil (need to figure out what that means, as well) in one of these Petri-dish sort of things. However, this would seem to restrict me to plants whose root systems are clustered, and would seem to mean I would have to forget any idea of cultivating "carpet" type plantings. This, with considered application of some (small) amount of NPK fertilizer would seem to offer an alternative to disposing of the undergravel filter.  <A good plan, but this is so> BTW, while exploring the possibility of downloading some of the FAMA references in various WWM pages, I see that FAMA is now soliciting requests from subscribers (I am one) for online back-issue articles. They say that they haven't a lot available yet, but the webpage for requesting articles is " Article Request Page"  if anyone is interested. <Thank you for this... good of them, but disturbing for content providers... they do NOT have the legal right/s to reproduce our work... A small concern of mine for my part... as my hundreds of articles, thousands of images that ran in their pages are posted on WWM...> I have requested a few .. we'll see what happens. Cheers and Many Thanks.  Dave <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

FAMA kaput? Hi Crew, <Brian> Do any of you know what is going on with FAMA, are they kaput (outta business)? <Not as far as I'm aware... still see their mag.s coming out monthly... though know that they're down to less and less ad revenue... and have not paid many of their content providers> I placed an order for their magazine through their website back in early November 04. They took my money but haven't sent a darn thing and I can't seem to reach them by e-mail, telephone, smoke signal, etc. <Poor form> I've read other listings on WWM about their questionable practices in paying writers but are they now just a common band of thieves running a racket of sorts? <Mmm, don't think they're (as a group) thieves... but some of them I do consider incompetent, liars...> Hmmm... Not to good a reflection on the hobby and it's vendors, reps, and the like in general if you want my opinion. They should just close up shop and let someone else fill the void they leave. Thanks, Brian <With the loss of their common progenitor, Don Dewey (R.I.P.) a few years back, the worsening of the U.S. economy... this 'zine has been much diminished... It would not surprise me to see them gone "all of a sudden"... a shame. Bob Fenner><<In response to a query on WWF RMF called FAMA (800-523-1736) on 2/22/05... they said they were in business... not going out>

Linckia seastar use? >James, howzit? Am writing from reading your piece in the Nov. FAMA (do hope >they are paying you). You plug genus Linckia seastars... "which require, >little, special attention." Do you have any tips on selecting, keeping >these alive? Through my history (to present) they've mostly all died... >irrespective... Bob F Hey Bob, <Hello James, Konichiwa!> I pulled up the article - and I have to agree, that caption was not the best choice of words for that star. Should have used a chocolate chip, <Protoreastor nodosus are FAR more hardy> or at least stated that's the case for smaller ones, as I did in the text. Still, I'm a little surprised that you say they've mostly all died, as they've been fine for me for the most part. Well, I'd say they've done about as well as most other star/serpent/brittle if they made the trip ok. I had a good supplier when I was in retail and some did come in as bags of white mush - but those that made it through the first few days seemed to fare well enough, although there were always a few losses here and there even later. <Man, take a look at the WWM FAQs re the genus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/linckiafaqs.htm Mostly bad news, reports> I put several in customer's tanks when I was doing maint.. Bought them at a LFS after letting them sit for a week or so usually. Looking for physical activity, moving tube feet, and a lack of white goo was sufficient as far as picking them after the waiting period. Usually kept them in FOWLRs, but not always, with a Choco chip and/or a serpent, and they seemed to do fine. These were always pretty small though, maybe 3 to 5 inches tops. Like I said in the text, the bigger ones would likely need more attention (food). I used to give shrimp and/or shrimp pellets to various stars, brittles, and serpents and sometimes even put them on top of food, but that's about it. <I see...> I've always thought most all of the problems I've ever heard about them were directly related to shipping problems and/or improper acclimation. You didn't say why/when they've died. I know I've read at some point that some stars don't like to eat what you might provide at times, but I don't recall having any specific problems with them... Have I been lucky or is my brain off track? <Hee hee! Maybe both> What do you think the natural life expectancy of one might be? Curious... <In captivity... less than a week in my estimation. Do agree with the origin of difficulties... principally collection, holding and shipping "stress", damage> On the other topic - pay. I remember you (and I assume other writers) had trouble getting paid a couple of years ago, but I thought that had been cleared up... The emails you sent me about the problems were one reason I haven't written anything for them in such a long time. But, now I'm sitting over here with too much free time, so I figured I'd give it a try. <Okay> Susan told me up front that it would probably be 3 or 4 months after publication before I'd get a check, and my first article for them in years came out in July - so they're about due. We'll see what happens I guess. Please tell me you ended up getting all your money and that I haven't made a blunder... <I did eventually get mostly paid up... after about two years... other folks have not been so fortunate. Will cc you a pertinent note/email from Ted Coletti re.> Aside from all that, I have found that I will have at least two weeks with no classes in March - so I can take a good trip or two. Okinawa is a must, as I can get a roundtrip flight and 4 nights in a hotel for $500. Is there anywhere else that you would specifically suggest for diving that won't break the bank? I was thinking maybe Palau, but I don't know much about much over here. There are a lot of dirt cheap deals to go to Saipan or Guam, but I have no idea what I might see there. I've seen some packages to Fiji too, but they're quite a lot more expensive. <There are a bunch of island groups to the south and east of Japan... some have air service, holiday packages... I would get out to as many as you can> Getting about ready for my Xmas trip home too. Take it easy, jf <Hope to see, dive with you somedays soon. Bob F>

The Other Skimmer Article, FAMA I have tried numerous times to send you that other article I wrote on protein skimmers.  It ran in the August 2004 issue of FAMA <... Steven, you did get paid I trust> <<Not yet.  Which is not surprising.  I still have not been paid for that Finding Nemo piece that ran in Oct. 2003.  Susan Steele said would inquire with Jay Crews regarding my payments.  I am not holding my breath.>> and is mostly based on what I wrote for Reef Invertebrates, but I thought it might be useful to archive for the WWM readers. <Certainly>   It discusses the various means of protein skimming (air-driven, venturi, aspirating, downdraft, Beckett, and spray injection) plus the merits of protein skimming in general.  Do you want to create a page on WWM for me and then I can simply upload the text through Frontpage from here? <Mmm, you can make a page... or I will if you want... or you say you've tried to attach it and send to the WWM server, my hotmail acct.?>   I think that might be the easiest way at this point.  I have a recent version of FP and had to do something similar regarding images for Adam/CA.  -Steven Pro <Will make a page now... you can see in the Nav. or Folder View... called ProSkimrArt2. Bob F> <<I doubled checked it in Internet Explorer.  It looks like it worked just fine.  -Steven Pro>>

FAMA, payment and articles Just read through your long string online about battling for payment ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/famamag.htm ).  I submitted an article to them back in December and was happy that it was printed this last July, a review of 4 canister filters titled "Four-of-a-Kind."  After being ignored by their accounting department, Susan and now Kathy Rodriguez, I'm wondering if they printed the article simply because they're running out of writers who are willing to be mistreated. <Sigh... what bad P.R.... I strongly suspect you are correct. We have more readership on WWM everyday than FAMA has subscribers... It's only a matter of time before their advertisers "find out" what is going on and they tank virtually overnight. I had the same problem with a UK publication, got a couple hundred URLs from their zine, advertisers, other content providers... and sent them all a note re how I was treated... You might try this, very effective>   I'm glad that I ran across your little corner of the Internet.  I figured that I'd pissed off their advertisers, hence I became a non-entity.  Seems they're just bad about paying people.  I was debating sending another article, but I think I'll just hang onto this one until a better market pops up. <... It is amazing (to me) that the owner and her daughter (KathyR) think they can get away with this behavior. It's a shame that so many others (their staff has some excellent people) will suffer for their shenanigans> How long ago did your battle with them end?   Thanks! Steven Poor <About a year... finally told them to return (some dozens of pieces, hundreds of covers) my content... there are many other markets. I suggest you make submissions to others. Bob Fenner>

Re: FAMA, payment and articles Thanks for the quick note back.  Seems I need to add "fight with a magazine" to my mounting aquarium woes. Steve <A shame... I have sent the powers that be there a few notes from other disconcerted authors... Chins up as folks tell me! Bob F>

From Bob Goemans Hi Bob, Been awhile since we chatted! Don't see your name listed in Contributing Editors for FAMA. What's happening there?  <Hee hee! Seems like the days of the Gestapo... or KGB... I've become a "non-person"... they haven't stopped sending me the mag.s! But am trying to square up what I owe them/they owe me and see if Suze wants more or is allowed to accept...> It seems like they have or are catching up on getting authors paid. I'm now only two months in arrears, which is not bad for magazines in general. <I'll say> Also, I want to again express my thanks for allowing me to use 'your' articles and photos from your website for my new and growing website (www.saltcorner.com). Both you and James Fatherree were extremely helpful/gracious in this matter when this whole thing began back in the middle of this year. My sincere thanks. <Glad to be of assistance> I've also posted my review of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist on my site and am willing to post any other articles and or publications that you may want further coverage on. Your environmental views are right inline with mine, and if you have anything special you would like posted on that matter, don't hesitate to send it my way. <Thank you... perhaps the link to our upcoming book?> Even though my goal is to make my site one of the better 'educational' sites, nothing could surpass your site, and I honestly mean that! A job well done! But this is my retirement dream so to speak, and with people like yourself and James helping, I feel it will be quite respectable in the near future. <Outstanding> Again, thanks for your help and lets join forces when and were it's in the best interest of our beloved hobby, Cheers, Bob Goemans <Hope to see you soon Bob. Bob!>

FAMA Payments Bob, We subtracted the price of 3 ads (Oct, Nov & Dec) from what we owed you. Kathy R. sent you a check to catch you up on article payments. We are now even (Barbara called and left you a message to call her if you wanted in our Jan 2003 issue, she has not heard from you). <Hmm, bizarre. Never got this message... Ghost in the machine?> If you want to continue the WWM ad, please call Barb and let her know. <Will count on Zo (Lorenzo Gonzalez) to do that (from WWM)... Would you like content/submissions? They're collecting dust here (ah-choo)... and I can use the exposure, income. What say you? Bob> Sue

Photos Hi Bob, How are you?? I see you dumped FAMA...... <More like the other way around... see you address this below... got tired of "begging" KathyR (owner's daughter) for payment, being lied to...> can't say I blame you. They were out of line not paying people for so long..... I just hope they can keep the show going as I really hate TFH!! <I hope all the mag.s keep going, and improve... In the meanwhile the newer online 'zines are going great guns... and we're launching ours... This Friday!> Would you like to be my "unpaid" !! guest for 3 Horse Forums this Spring?? The topic would obviously be on reef tanks with seahorse set ups. I would give you 2 to 3 questions per column. (Actually I can pay you a small sum which would be like $75.00 per column) Let me know what you think!! <As my father would say, "Don't turn down the cash!" Would rather do for the moolah> Need to buy a photo of the orchid dotty back (you know the purple one from the Red Sea) and a weedy sea dragon (not leafy) for our "up and coming" section of the web site. <How about these... see attached. AQ suffix is "aquarium", RS= Red Sea, SG= Singapore, SIO= Scripps Inst. Oc.. Need more, other res., fmt. make this known> Oh yeh......Can I steal one of your photos for your section on cycle (my webmaster already did so I hope that is okay!!) <Yep> How is Sunny San Diego??? <Not sunny enough... looking to visit you someday soon... and we're involved more and more in buying land, putting up our first "roundhouses" on Fiji and Belize... Bob Fenner> Take Care, Carol Cozzi-Schmarr

FAMA I just received the latest copy of FAMA, and I was very disappointed to see that Bob is no longer listed as a contributing editor, and his usual articles, notes for new marine aquarists, Aquatic Environments, etc were missing... <Thank you for this... you're the first to notice... the folks who are currently RCM Publications (owners of FAMA) have not paid many of their content providers for several months... I asked for my images, articles back... and they dropped my name (sort of like the Soviet Union, I became a "non-person") from their extant being... Very sad for me all the way around... as I spent many, many happy hours involved with their enterprise> Thankfully I can find much (most ?) of Bob's written wisdom here at WWM, but I still miss having the printed copy for the train ride into/from work... <I do hope to be part of FAMA again... once they've paid me and importantly, so many of my friends, acquaintances that I encouraged to make submissions to them... In the meanwhile I am back writing for TFH (David Boruchowitz has returned as Managing Editor)... and we do intend to have our own (I think the term is PDF "printable" version) on-line 'zine, "Conscientious Aquarist" out soon...> Hopefully this is due to a decision on your part and not bad judgment on FAMA's part (although I wrote them a scathing email just in case), and we will soon see your work in the pages of another glossy mag (TFH ? AFM ?) ... <Ahh, yes> Carpe Scientific Name Cyprinus carpio carpio <Seize the carp, yes. Bob Fenner> Rich

Re: FAMA Why am I not surprised? After getting a hand-wringing phone call from FAMA apologizing profusely and promising to make full payment in 30 days, I'm still waiting. I also would not mind being dropped from their list of contributors, especially since learning the hard way that they take the term "contributor" literally. - Bob Goldstein <Thank you for this sad-humor note Bob. Bob F, still "just waiting">

RE: FAMA Hard to believe - glad you're warning folks. What the hell are they thinking (or not thinking)? Sad to see a mag that has been around so long goofing up like this. <Agreed James... not understandable logically (to me at least). I suspect their advertisers will greatly diminish their participation with the concurrent loss of subscribers... stemming mainly from a drop in the quality of content, Diaspora to other pulp and on-line sources. Bob F> Thanks, jf James W. Fatherree, M. Sc.

Re: FAMA Bob: Sorry to hear about the current FAMA policy. Things were different under Don Dewey.  <Yes my friend. Shall we meet his kind again in this interest?> I just sent in what I thought was a great cover shot for the magazine, a pair of Heniochus varius. Shot half a roll on the two fish and picked the best to send. Came back unacceptable, though with a nice note. <What? Bizarre... I rec'd back my 124 (one hundred twenty four) accepted two by's from Sue Steele (on demand)... A shame all the way around. Be seeing you (hopefully underwater). Bob Fenner> Aloha, Jack <Dr. Randall>

Fama Blues Bob, Sorry to hear about the fama situation especially after such a long history with them. Their loss! Best Regards, Fernando <Thank you my friend. Some days I wish I'd stayed with pursuing a career with the public aquariums!. Be seeing you, Bob F> Fernando Nosratpour Senior Aquarist Birch Aquarium at Scripps

letters sent (Eric.B chimes in) Hi Jay, and staff: I very much appreciate the letters sent out by FAMA from you and Patricia. I have long thought it a bit of a shame that the major hobby magazines could afford to pay so little for articles, and when even the small sums paid could not be made, the situation became intolerable. I am currently writing for two online magazines, neither of which charges a subscription, one of which doesn't even charge for advertisements but is funded solely from sponsorship of the hosting web site. There are 26 sponsors, but until very recently had less than 20. The sponsorship prices are less than all but the smallest ads in FAMA, and signficiantly less than the ads run in TFH. Yet, I am getting nearly twice the fee, or more, per per article from them than I ever did from FAMA or any other magazines I have written for in the past. True, there are no printing costs, but there are editorial costs and the like. In fact, as a science editor, I am getting an additional fee from them. How is it possible that long established magazines with prolific advertising sponsors and subscriptions, and especially FAMA with a moderate quality in terms of color features, can have had this happen? There are many magazines with far smaller distirbution that have existed for very long times only by advertising or only by subscription. How can authors be treated this way? It doesn't take much to do the math in terms of knowing how much ads run, how many ads exist, how much subscription income exists, knowing the subscription base, tallying up the number of articles and columns, and having a pretty good general idea of printing costs. For at least some of magazines, we know that the editorial staff does little to nothing with the submissions, and at least a few of them have printed articles with typos and errors straight from the author! I very much liked writing for FAMA prior to the problems described in your letter. Besides that, I have always found the staff to be helpful, courteous, respectful, and professional in other regards, as well. For me, and despite the fact that other authors did not always feel the same, I found FAMA to be the best magazine to deal with, especially considering the alternatives which were, by and large, absolutely horrible. In any case, I am afraid that unless FAMA were able to pay me at least what I am getting from the online magazines, I could not see any good reason why my efforts and expertise should be put into submissions to any of the printed magazines, domestically or abroad. I think that this will eventually, if not immediately, becomes a very major issue for most of the highly regarded authors in our field, since as far as I can tell, most of the most popular and respected authors are already doing the same as I am. We all wish for a quality printed magazine, but none of us enjoy putting forth the effort, especially given our standing and influence in the hobby, in print with international distribution, for what amounts to the proverbial chump change. I thank you for your letters, and still regard your professionalism in the highest esteem for this effort. I look forwards to hearing from you soon. Best, Eric Hugo Borneman Department of Biology and Bicohemistry Section in Evolution and Ecology Room 258, Science and Research Building II University of Houston Houston, TX 77204 EricHugo@aol.com EBorneman@uh.edu <Good points, well made. Thx for the cc Eric. Bob F>

FAMA Bob, I heard that FAMA may be 'closing its doors'? Could this be true and the reason you have not been getting your payment? <A few recent notes from them lead me to believe that reports of their imminent demise are premature. Bob F> John Dawe

From Jay Crews Dear Bob: I would like to thank you for your past contributions and support of FAMA in the past. I would like to honestly convey to you that during our current troubles we have never been out to "trick" anyone. What we are guilty of is poor communication and lack of common sense dealing with people. I cannot ask you to excuse this, but rather I ask that you allow me to prove myself to you and the other writers of FAMA. <I am glad to hear this, and will of course grant you the opportunity> I respect the stance that some of our writers are taking in deciding to not write for FAMA again. I would feel the same way. What I hope for is that our writers (after receiving their payments) will give me and our staff the opportunity to rebuild the bridge that has connected us over the past 25 years. Aside from all business aspects, the most important element is an open communication between FAMA and its writers. <Agreed... and am very sure you will find the majority of content providers back what FAMA represents, and will return> I respect were you are coming from on this issue and I would like to talk with you about any concerns, questions or comments that you may have. Take care, Jay Crews Managing Editor <Anytime. If you would like my number is 858-549-4948 or we can e-chat if that suits. Bob Fenner>

Greetings from FAMA August 13, 2002 To: FAMA Writers Re: New Managing Editor I would like to formally introduce myself. I have been working at R/C Modeler Corporation (FAMA's publisher) for the past five years, primarily working with the company's other title and holdings during that time. I literally grew up around FAMA, as my mother Patricia E. Crews was Editor under Don Dewey since its inception. I graduated college from the University of San Diego in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. I went on to earn a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1994. Recently I completed the Professional Publishing Course at Stanford University. Although I am by no means an expert aquarist, I have kept both freshwater and saltwater aquariums over the years and thoroughly enjoy the hobby and the content of FAMA. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine was created by Don Dewey in the late 1970's to provide the best and most current information available on the market. Simply stated he envisioned FAMA as - The Magazine Dedicated To The Tropical Fish Enthusiast. The means that he used to accomplish his goal was to seek out and publish material from the world's leading minds in ichthyology and the finest expert aquarist around. I feel that Don's vision has been realized, due to the high quality of the editorial content FAMA has received from the loyal and dedicated writers that have graced its pages since 1978. During the last few years we have experienced several major set-backs at FAMA, both personally and economically. The most severe of these being Don's passing. It was a tremendous blow that we have yet to fully recover from. Frankly, we were not prepared. Then the tragic events of last September 11th, which affected our entire nation; including the economy. Our little niche in the pet industry has been no exception. These problems alone and combined have hampered our growth and operation drastically over the last few years. It is understandable that many of FAMA's writers are feeling betrayed by a magazine they have held in such high regard. Many have experienced problems with our accounting department and have had difficulty getting direct answers. Our staff should have been more forthright and honest about our situation. People understand that everyone is feeling an economic slow-down; they just do not want to feel like they are getting the run-around. We cannot afford to have our credibility in question. As we enter our 25th year, I want to reassure everyone that our company is stable. We apologize for any misunderstanding in the past. With my new appointment and focus on the current situation with FAMA, it is my goal to quickly become current on all of our outstanding payments and to implement a plan that will prevent problems like this in the future. We will be taking measures to redirect our assets to allow for a smoother running system. FAMA is still dedicated to its readers and is taking the necessary steps to show a recommitment to the writers that have propelled us to the top of our field. I personally am committed to carrying on the same vision that Don Dewey had 25 years ago. I will work to make sure that the relationship we have with our writers continues to be mutually beneficial, both editorially and economically. FAMA will begin exploring new and innovative ways to reposition itself as the leading magazine in our industry. I thank you for your support in the past and for your current patience. I look forward to an open and free exchange with all of FAMA's writers. Please feel free to contact me at anytime. Sincerely, Jay Crews Managing Editor jcrews@famamagazine.com (800) 523-1736 or (626) 355-1476

RE: FAMA payments Being their largest color advertiser, or one of the largest monthly spenders with FAMA, I will express my feelings with them on how poorly they have handled the situation. We will also be pulling advertisements from FAMA as well. I am sorry to hear about this. <Me too Todder... you can imagine my alacrity in making this situation known to you, others... Ridiculous to see/find a magazine business so poorly run. Bob F> Todd Gabriel

Re: FAMA payments - Update I agree with you. What is driving this is that the staff at FAMA seems to be trying to pull the wool over our eyes, nobody knew that he wasn't the only one, and most of us deeply resent being treated this way. Responses such as "I'll look into it" aren't sufficient, and appear to be diversionary. Now that we know so many of us are in the same boat, we may have some clout to get something, anything, done about it. I don't know if the problem is bad business management, embezzling, or whatever, but unless pressure is put on FAMA, it will be business as usual. <Am given to understand (by Sue.S) that the situation arose from expenditures to upgrade their "computer systems"... and has continued through direction from the very top (Pat.C), but have been lied to and put off by her daughter in Accounts Payable for years> I know that you know that the present management is nothing like Don Dewey. And they don't deserve (they certainly haven't earned) the respect that he did. I'm not keen on a legal solution, so let's see if this mass pressure generates some results. Even should it go further, getting an attorney for example, disputes more often than not are resolved in mediation. Anyway, now that we've lit a fire, let's see if we get anywhere. We weren't getting anywhere before. - Bob G. <I have begun sending notice to their top advertisers... this should do the trick... stipulated they have funds. Bob Fenner>

Re: FAMA payments - Update Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 12:39:33 EDT Has anyone heard from anyone at FAMA about these recent emails??? <No... my involvement in this most recent spate has been on the phone... I do not expect that RCM will want to commit to something stated on the Net, or in writing at all. Call their 800 line and voice your concerns is my suggestion: 800-523-1736. Bob Fenner> Jim

Re: FAMA payments - Update <I have begun sending notice to their top advertisers... this should do the trick... stipulated they have funds. Bob Fenner> I sent an email about this to all the industry people on my email list. That's when Dana Riddle responded with the same message as the rest of us. When big advertisers start telephoning to find out what's up, maybe this issue will get the attention from FAMA that we deserve. - Bob G. <I do think this will work. Had a very similar experience with a Koi magazine in the U.K. that used my materials, stalled and lied re payment... I made a large database of their advertisers email addresses... and sent them "my story"... The magazine paid up pronto. Bob F>

Re: FAMA payments Dear Bob - I suspected that if you were in the same boat, you'd be the one most affected because of your extensive contributions. I've heard from five others so far, besides you, confirming this same experience.  <... very sad> I would of course agree to participate in a suit if it comes to that, and I hope it won't. I can't imagine how they let themselves get into this fix.  <Agreed... my chief gripe was not so much with non-payment but knowing that leading me and others astray had become institutionalized> There were so many opportunities to cut expenses or increase ad revenue, which already must be considerable. You have to wonder if anyone in that office can do addition and subtraction. I will stay in touch and keep everyone who responded informed. Thanks for the input. Maybe as a group we can get something changed. - Bob Goldstein <With the loss of the leadership of Don, I think a good part of the overall "vision" has been lost at RCM... they have some plans to change their ad rates (static since 1992!)... I am hopeful they (FAMA) will rebound... in the meanwhile, I have my content back, and am shopping it in other markets. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Subject: FAMA payments Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 16:28:10 -0400 This is to advise fellow writers that I will no longer send materials to FAMA due to non-payment for anything since July 2001 despite repeated requests. I don't know if they treat other writer/photographers this way, but I suspect I am not the only one long overdue payment. If anyone is seeking legal redress, I would be interested in participating as an additional complainant. <Very sorry to hear/read of your similar plight. I received 58 articles, scans, and 124 accepted cover slides (!) back from Sue Steele... after battling with Kathy, her Mom (Pat Crews) over the same issue... and being misled (call it outright lied to) re payments... I sent a message to about sixty other folks in the content provision field (many of whom I'd encouraged to make submissions to FAMA) stating my case, apologizing for getting them involved... Have been assured by Sue (and Pat to some extent) that "all will be paid"... but am dubious at this point. Do stay in touch, and make it known if we can somehow expedite (I called last week, spoke with Sue, said I would call in a month (they have a few more issues of my materials in progress...) if I didn't receive some payment (am due from about April of this year now), and will likely have a lawyer friend write the usual demand letter... If this doesn't do the trick... escalation to a lawsuit, a mass emailing to their sponsors...? A shame Dr. Goldstein (Robert if you will), that the very people who "pay their wages" should be shafted by FAMA/RCM... Yours, Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia> Robert J. Goldstein, Ph.D. Robert J. Goldstein & Associates, Inc. 8480 Garvey Drive Raleigh, NC 27616 tel (919) 872-1174 tel (800) 407-0889 fax (919) 872-9214 rgoldstein@rjgaCarolina.com URL www.rjgaCarolina.com

Sayin' hey (re FAMA) Hi Bob, Sorry to hear about your troubles with FAMA. What the heck is their problem??? Are they having money problems or just terrible management problems? <I suspect some of both> Not much going on down here that's exciting enough to talk about. I've gotten into something a bit different though. I'm not teaching summer school this year, as they didn't have anything available for me - so I went out and got a real estate license on the advice of a friend in the business. <Likely a very good move... you've got the personality and physical characteristics (outgoing, driven, sharp-looking...) to be successful in R.E., and success there pays much better than pet-fish> Had to be some of the most boring classes I've ever had in my life, but I took the test and got the thing and went to work full-time (for the summer) at a Century 21 office up the street. <I understand... took the classes, tested, even got fingerprinted... Am an agent in CA, though I've never bought, sold anything on my own> Small world story: The owner/broker went to Miss. State, my undergrad alma mater, at the same time as my dad, and his son went to the same comm. college that I used to teach at. Needless to say, he's been taking good care of me and helping me along. I actually sold a house last week after only a few weeks on the job, and made more than I would have if I'd taught summer school. So, I think I'll stick with it and continue on a part-time basis once school gets going again. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! <Yes> Still going fishing in my sparse downtime and caught my first Tarpon a few weeks ago. Absolutely magnificent fish! Really beautiful up close. Yes, of course I released it.... <Yes, hear they're not that tasty> Anyway, hope things are going well for you out west in spite of the FAMA problems. Drop me line and let me know what's up lately. On the subject of out west... what's the latest on the Caulerpa ban thing out there? Seems that I've heard that it was total, then just some species, what's the scoop with that? <Total for some counties (like San Diego where we live), and by species in others> Talk to you later, jf <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Re: FAMA woes? HEY BOB, That's too bad, I just got a FAMA yesterday in the mail with your photo on the front cover. Looks good. <Hope what you mean is a photo by me! Not of me!? I hope someday they will pay you. (in $) <Me too... and proffer an explanation, apology> John Dawe the unconscious marine aquarist <Hope to see you soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: FAMA woes? Hi Bob, It was necessary for me to call them almost every week for months to get paid.  <Ridiculous, and unprofessional on their part.> I received an array of reasons why the check never came, but through another contact became aware that they were experiencing a shortfall of cash because they updated their equipment. Not getting the truth is what hurt. But finally did get paid through March. We'll see where it goes. <Hang in there Bob... Sue.S assures me all will get paid...> Onto another subject. I'm starting a website and there will be room for guest articles. I would like to display some of your articles if that's ok. <Okay> Its not a money making site as 'chosen' advertisers will only help defray the cost of the site. Its real mission is the 'education' of hobbyists. Because of that, there's no fee paid to authors that contribute their articles ­ just the spreading of their words and deeds. <I understand> If agreeable, who should I contact? Those on various fishes would be wonderful and if possible the associated photos would be a fitting touch. <Umm, me re most all. Content that belongs to others you can post to and ask. It's identified on the site as to ownership.> I also would like to begin each authors page with a short bio, if available. <Oh, we have those/these posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wwmcrew.htm> Your thoughts please, Otherwise, cheers, Bob Goemans <Press on. Good life. Bob Fenner>

FAMA woes? You know it's funny - actually, it's not - but after you gave the news the other day, I considered for a moment.... I subscribed to FAMA almost two months ago. At the same time I also subscribed to Rodale's... as you might guess, my credit card has been hit for each and I'm reading copies of Scuba Diving and wondering when I might see my first copy of FAMA. Suck. Quite sorry about what this all means to you... <Yes... you remind me... of a sad duty that I should/must perform... to tell other friends, associates that I've encouraged to provide content to, advertise in, that FAMA has not paid me since part of the Feb. issue and lied to me repeatedly re such payment. I have quit submitting and demanded my work back from them. Bob Fenner> Cheers, J --

Re: FAMA woes? Thanks for the heads-up Bob! I have heard similar tales from other authors. <Unfortunate...> Hope things are going well for you Bob! <Yes my friend. As usual, only enough time to attempt a part of what life means. Hope to see you soon. Bob F> Scott

Re: FAMA woes? Dear Bob, As per our conversation, a letter and check have been sent to you. We thank you for your past support and your understanding. <Would appreciate an explanation... Why the misrepresentation in the first place? I do understand not having money, I assure you. What I cannot accept is that Kathy lied to me repeatedly... then ignore returning my calls... after all the years of being a principal content provider to FAMA, and counting Don as a paragon of excellence in the field... A shame. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Pat (Crews, owner of RCM, FAMA's parent)

Re: FAMA woes? Bob, I just took a look at FAMA's website and noticed they are a subscription based site. They had 4 main advertisers on their homepage and I just hit every one of them up for sponsorship of the WWM site. If FAMA does go belly up it would be a boon for the WWM. <You are so right... and it does look like they're going> How's the new computer working out for you? See you Thursday, I'll be ready to slice and dice some food. <Great. Look fwd. to it. Bob> Mike

FAMA, RCM, being honest and diligent Sue (Barbara, Kathy, Pat...), re my involvement with your pet-fish hobby magazine. I am waiting for payment and the return of my materials (articles, slides) per my request last week in view of the continuing lying by Kathy there re payment dating back to last February, 02. In late 01 I was given assurance by Sue Steele that I would not have to deal with the incompetence of A/P there and yet, now I find myself having to beg for payment to pay my bills. I will be calling your offices today to seek redress, and barring this will seek legal means of compensation and recompense/punitive damages. Further, I will be notifying your advertisers of your perfidy and other content providers of your dishonesty. Rest assured, this is the end of your magazines. See you in court.  Sincerely, Robert (Bob) Fenner

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