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One of LCT’s original contributors, Richard Ramis, recalls the early days when Limousine & Chauffeur and the National Limousine Association were just getting started.
“It is the nature of any business that change will occur on a regular basis. An integral part of doing business, in the limousine service field or any other, is realizing your operation should by no means remain static.”
So read the first sentence, written by first editor-in-chief John Kilroy, in the first issue of Limousine & Chauffeur Magazine in April 1983, in his Editor’s Note titled “An Industry Evolving.” That line easily could be written today in the third-generation successor to Limousine & Chauffeur, now called Limousine Charter & Tour Magazine, still publishing 30 years later.
As that statement shows. . . how much stays the same.
The first few issues of Limousine & Chauffeur eerily reference some of the same challenges and dynamics we see today, although with leap years of technological and mechanical progress in between.
“At the most elemental level, the product itself — the limousine — is changing,” Kilroy wrote. Oh how that reality is still with us today, as reported often in the pages of LCT, and an apt descriptor of the “big story” during this year’s International LCT Show in Las Vegas with its numerous makes, models and types of “limousines.”
One early industry founder, Richard Ramis, was there at the beginning and wrote many of the words in the first years of LCT. He recently was interviewed by LCT about how the first and leading limousine industry trade publication got started.
Ramis, 52, spoke from his office near Chicago, where he still works in dispatching and “limousine logistics,” as he describes it. Ramis is reluctant to name his company or reveal much about what he’s doing because he says he doesn’t want to appear has if he’s seeking attention or promoting something.
LCT’s first issue may have been published in April 1983, but the concept occurred a few months before, about 30 years ago from today. Ramis, a 22-year-old dispatcher at Southwest Limousine in Mokena, Ill., was working on a trade magazine concept. He had been writing, planning, and keeping files for his idea which was in “storyboard” form.
“I had no clue someone else was doing it,” Ramis says. “I was a limo operator, and when I got the magazine [Limousine & Chauffeur], I first was devastated. I figured if I can’t beat them, I’d join them. I contacted the publisher, we had a great talk, and he let me work with them.”
The first issue of Limousine & Chauffeur was owned and published by Winsome Communications Inc. of Costa Mesa, Calif., soon renamed Retailing Today Inc., with David Scott Heinzman as president and publisher. It published three issues through June 1983, when it was bought by Bobit Publishing Inc. of Redondo Beach, Calif. Enter Ty Bobit, new publisher and now the current president of Bobit Business Media, which still owns LCT 30 years later. He had actually been in discussions about the magazine with Heinzman and vice president Ann Stanley before they published the first issue in April.
In his first publisher’s note in the July/August 1983 issue, Bobit wrote: “We are happy to make this investment to earn your support and will remain dedicated to a commitment of better value and reporting in each bi-monthly issue. That’s a promise.”
Those marching orders have not changed much, either.