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Route 66 News

Revival of Route 66 Pulse newspaper planned

The long-dormant Route 66 Pulse newspaper will be revived in digital form soon, then in print later this summer, publisher Jim Conkle said in an email Friday.

Part of the email from Conkle at jimconkle(at)live.com:

We are looking for stories, photos and news worthy events to share with our readers.

Of course we are also looking for advertisers.

Let me also introduce you to Steve Pastis who is assisting me, tell the truth he is doing all the work, in making the Pulse again your source of news from the past, present and future.

We of course want to hear from those of you that have ides, suggestions and even advice on how we can make the Pulse a success.

No we are NOT replacing any of the blogs, current sources for news (in fact we use them too) or web sites that promote the road. Instead we will be promoting them.

Thanks to all of you that kept on me to bring the Route 66 Pulse back to life. I heard you.

Let’s make this another GREAT year for the road.

After launching in mid-2006, the quarterly Route 66 Pulse newspaper, with a peak circulation of 30,000 copies, ceased publication in the fall of 2008. Lack of advertising and the immense costs of distributing thousands of copies on 2,200 miles of the Mother Road were cited in its demise. It was briefly revived in 2009 with an environmental tack, but that eventually ceased as well. A companion website stuck around for a few months after the newspaper stopped printing for good, then vanished as well.

Conkle later launched a video-based Route 66 Pulse TV channel on the Internet, but no new content has been produced there for more than a year.

I hold little doubt the Pulse can be revived on the Internet. Anyone with nominal computer skills and a WordPress account can start such a publication with almost no money — much like Route 66 News started in October 2005.

I remain skeptical the Pulse can be revived in print form. The issues that caused its demise — lack of advertising and hefty distribution costs — will remain big issues today. Disclosure: I turned down a managing editor job offer from the Route 66 Pulse shortly before it launched in 2006 because of such concerns.

(An image of the cover of the Route 66 Pulse’s second issue in 2006.)

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15 thoughts on “Revival of Route 66 Pulse newspaper planned

  1. Sal Paradise

    I remember wishing them luck after the first issue on the site. As you did I wondered how this kind of project could work with costs, etc, and thought an internet version the better way to go. But, who am I?

    Probably any Route 66 vehicle needs a logic premise to survive, not just as a spin off with 66 as a theme of such local rags as used car or apartment guides you find everywhere. A good premise requires an idea that can link the diverse interests along the Route and then use that vehicle for cross marketing and promotions. For example, what the heck does one of the never ending Route events, like fun runs or such in Mclean, Illinois have to do with anything in Grants, New Mexico? Who cares about either. Why advertise in something which reaches far and wide when I just want local traffic and some visits from Route 66 travelers? How do you connect the dots and make it a vehicle that draws in people to ‘stay connected’ to the Route? That’s a hard nut to crack. Somehow, they need to find some serious level of national interest along the Route to grab attention and page hits, then allow for links to local business and events, etc. I didn’t see that in any of the vehicles. Pulse seemed to be a collection of local ‘rags’ tied together with a Route 66 theme. If they had found a way to hit a higher tier of national interest to the Route, they may have made it.

    I followed it because I follow Route 66, to include this fine blog. I also read all of the state 66 associations and belong to a couple. I even listen to KDSK FM from Grants, NM because of its (very loose) ties to the Route, and good music, and DJ’s. So, I’m probably not your average 66 person who just has a passing interest in the Route.

    Whatever they end up doing I hope they make a go of it. Maybe I can be their correspondent from here in DC to cover issues that have some ‘logical connection’ to Route 66 in Congress. As bad as I write they’d probably go out of business. I’ll make sure and follow their efforts and wish them the best. It wont be an easy job.

  2. Jim Conkle

    Thanks for sharing this Ron.

    A few comments on your post. When we were working on starting the Pulse, YOU were #1 on my list to be the Editor. With your background, knowledge of the road and professionalism we might have had a better run at success. The timing was not right for you and we are sorry you were not able to take the job. A position I know you would have been GREAT at.

    On a few issues, which is what broke the camels back, we printed 50,000 copies. The cost of printing and delivering them was just too much. So yes this is going to be a major obstacle to overcome. All the CVB’s, Visitors Centers and business’s on the road all want the printed copies.

    Sal, I like your comments please contact me direct at [email protected]

  3. Route66 Rick

    That is great. We have been going on route 66 for years, in fact we are on it now with our 2 year old grand daughter in AZ heading east. Have a lot of pictures on the road. Glad for the pulse and wish them all the luck in the world.

    1. Jim Conkle

      Thank you for you support Rick. Spending time on the road with your family only adds more memories to our lives.

  4. Ken Cooke

    Looking forward to the return of Pulse. Let me know how we can subscribe to it.
    Best Regards,
    Ken – Pre War Austin Seven .

    1. Ken Cooke

      it’s 18 months since I wrote but recent speculation on the future of R66 pulse gave me a link to your newspaper. It is unlikely that at 84 we will ever come back but we are still interested in what is happening to the people and places on the Mother Road.
      To contact me I am on [email protected] .
      Best Regards and a Happy New Year from Eileen and I.

  5. Kitty O'Cairre

    a friend here in Amarillo gave me a couple past issue a few years old SOOOO when the new ones coming out?? Ive read the issues he gave me & bout wore out the paper its printed on!! it a soooo worth while publication & jus hope yall really put it back out there!!
    its now 2016 soon to be 2017..
    or did it just get canned??
    tks kitty
    route 66 slug bug drops jewlery
    amarillo

      1. Kitty O'Cairre

        good mornin Ron well was sad to read it will not be back..such an piece of work & history so much research . an outstanding piece of journalism! a paper Worth the read I wish i had known more bout yalls paper before now to save any of the copies for reference on the mother road.. well sir just know you made a lot of smiles an memories come home to roost..
        wish there was a way to make a comeback with the many of thousands that read it…
        \i follow Roamin Rich he quite the historian & adventuer reminds me of your paper =)

        well thank you for yalls reply. anyway..
        an Happy New year Sir to you & yalls family,,!!
        kitty

  6. Jim Conkle

    As Ron has shared with his readers the Route 66 Pulse has not been revived. The cost just did not justify a print version. We might still do an On-Line version with a printed one, smaller more like a newsletter, later.
    We did put together all the past issues in one bound book. If you would like information on that please let me know, [email protected]

    1. 26 Whomerley Road, Stevenage Herts UK SG1 1SR.

      Thank You. We did R66 for the second time in 2008, when we met Jim Concle, but still it ‘haunts’ us so we want to keep in touch. At 85 and living in the UK it is unlikely that we will be able to drive THE MOTHER ROAD again. We have driven the Scottish North Coast 500, said to be the UK’s R66. The scenery is better but the distance and history no where near the adventure as R66.

  7. Eric Starr

    There’s a big interest now in Route 66. More so in the last ten years. It might make a go. I would love to see the paper in print again.

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