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Kalmbach sells Classic Trains

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  • Member since
    September 2003
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Kalmbach sells Classic Trains
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 3:32 PM

Kalmbach sold all its rail-related business to Chattanooga-based Firecrown Media earlier today.

Firecrown has been an effective enthusiast publisher (FLYING, Boating, and the Internet site 'Freightwaves', and their CEO Craig Fuller has expressed an interest in

Firecrown plans to retain all of the editorial and content resources of the former Kalmbach Media brands

What this means for continued life, or improvement, of the free forums remains to be seen, but I hope we will hear something definitive about it here soon.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, May 2, 2024 5:06 AM

Worried

A check for two years of Unlimited Access is in the mail to the Wakeshaw address, with repients:

Trains and Classic  Trains, Kalmbach

I wonder if the check will be at all useful.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, May 2, 2024 9:58 AM

Reasonably-researched article here:

https://www.amediaoperator.com/analysis/firecrown-acquires-multiple-brands-from-kalmbach-media/

Mr. Fuller apparently bought the assets with a personally-secured bank loan charging 7.25%, and he seems to be saying that he's looking for at least 18% margin on the media operation as a whole.

The 'communities' represented by the forums were a key part of the 'Kalmbach Media' transition; a number of articles at the time noting that there was a trusting group of 'fans' who could reasonably reliably be cross-marketed to.  We certainly saw this being pushed... but in my opinion more than a little ineptly.  When Mr. Otte claimed Kalmbach made no revenue from the forum advertising, that was my flag that Kalmbach had lost touch with that whole portion of its strategy (and it was a major part of the strategy that was forward-looking).

I don't have much doubt that some version of forum community will continue, even if Firecrown's prior acquisitions don't have extensive 'discussion' pages set up as threads.  What concerns me is the likelihood that a 'newest and bestest' forum will be included under a trains.com Unlimited Membership, and in fact that the legacy 'archive' of post content will only be provided that way, too.

Whether they also fix the moderation and other foibles that have caused so many to leave... that's another thing that remains to be seen.

Facebook, and its excuse for an interface, is a non-starter as a replacement, and in fact I don't bother with any Kalmbach Facebook page and wouldn't likely start.

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Posted by pennytrains on Thursday, May 2, 2024 7:15 PM

The Facebook pages are just a news outlet and blogging venue for the company and staff.  No outside subject can be discussed like this forum allows.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Friday, May 17, 2024 8:26 AM

Yes, it will be useful. It's business as usual here.

Also, please note: For those of you who have concerns, the forums WILL continue and eventually be upgraded. While we've had some software issues, rumors of the demise of the forums and the loss of old threads is untrue.

Rene Schweitzer

Classic Toy Trains/Garden Railways/Model Railroader

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, May 20, 2024 4:38 PM

I feature A C Kalmbach is rolling over in his grave with the present officials of the corporation selling off its assets and shutting the business down.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, May 20, 2024 8:24 PM

Corporations are sold all the time.  Fresh blood, fresh money, fresh ideas.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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