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Membership decline???

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Old 11-19-2004, 04:58 PM
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Jim Branaum
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Default Membership decline???

Taken from Joyce Hagar's December 2004 MA column:

"
For those who are interested, below is an age breakdown of the current AMA membership. MA


Younger than 20: 18,520
20-40: 30,693
41-60: 61,317
61-70: 26,057
71 and older: 23,267

"

Unless I am suffering from CRS again, those membership numbers look like a decline from previous ones. I wonder if it is the $ or the rules.
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Old 11-19-2004, 07:01 PM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

ORIGINAL: Jim Branaum

Taken from Joyce Hagar's December 2004 MA column:

"
For those who are interested, below is an age breakdown of the current AMA membership. MA


Younger than 20: 18,520
20-40: 30,693
41-60: 61,317
61-70: 26,057
71 and older: 23,267

"

Unless I am suffering from CRS again, those membership numbers look like a decline from previous ones. I wonder if it is the $ or the rules.
Hi Jim-
I KNOW I suffer from CRS from time to time, but the total of a little under 160,000 seems consistent with the trend in recent years, i.e., a little less than the previous year. I do think the distribution, though the stats are kind of gross, qualitatively validates the average age the MA survey came up with - at least it appears to be between 50 and 60. With 70% over 41, these data certainly don't upset the conclusion some have drawn from the MA survey that AMA is an organization of gummers.

Abel
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Old 11-19-2004, 07:02 PM
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Ummm... could be that people are feeling it less neccessary to join, because of electrics, because of the political bull, because of declining field retention, and all those other reasons. Another reason could also be that there has not been a great job done in promoting the AMA outside the hobby arena. Go into most hobby stores and there is nothing that would make people even think that there is an AMA, and please do not think some pimple faced clerk has the intelect to give that information to a customer.
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Old 11-19-2004, 07:53 PM
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With all the equipement advertised that you can fly any where you want why would you need to go to a club or join AMA. Most radios are on 27 or 49 mhz unless you have a radio from an action that you put in a unit and don't care or don't no what a problem it can cause. With all this going on a lot of older flyers are droping out and young flyers don't care. It is not the AMA dues it is the principle of the whole thing.
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Old 11-19-2004, 08:01 PM
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Hello Abel,

I am not sure arguing about the organizations make up is productive, so I won't. However, I AM very concerned that the raw membership number seems to be declining. THAT is something we should address as reduced membership numbers allow EC members who swear "not on my watch" to raise the dues 20% every couple of years to pay for the expanded goals for the Muncie site and other "we gotta have this" high dollar items.

Or should we all just go away?

RE: Membership decline??? - 11/19/2004 6:02:15 PM


SSRCCPREZ has one part of the idea, the electric folks just don't NEED the AMA and the AMA has not presented it case to them properly. That is TWO straight shots by ONE kind of flyer. However, putting the AMA into the buying and owning and otherwise retaining flying fields nationwide is just another taxation plan to relocate wealth within the AMA.

Saying that politics drives people off is sort of like saying giving at church drives members off. Ain't so, the preacher and his laymen do that without ever talking about $. Our problem is (one more time) that most don't know how to present the AMA to prospective new members without dropping into the rant about insurance, which does NOT define the AMA.

My opinion, and I am partial to it unless you can convince me otherwise.
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Old 11-19-2004, 09:20 PM
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I was just in the Begginers and AMA might think about the thread on freebies for newbies. We need more good ideas to promote the Hobby Sport. Looking for input on a fellow RCr's thread.
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:41 PM
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ORIGINAL: Jim Branaum

Hello Abel,

I am not sure arguing about the organizations make up is productive, so I won't. However, I AM very concerned that the raw membership number seems to be declining. THAT is something we should address as reduced membership numbers allow EC members who swear "not on my watch" to raise the dues 20% every couple of years to pay for the expanded goals for the Muncie site and other "we gotta have this" high dollar items.

Or should we all just go away?

RE: Membership decline??? - 11/19/2004 6:02:15 PM


SSRCCPREZ has one part of the idea, the electric folks just don't NEED the AMA and the AMA has not presented it case to them properly. That is TWO straight shots by ONE kind of flyer. However, putting the AMA into the buying and owning and otherwise retaining flying fields nationwide is just another taxation plan to relocate wealth within the AMA.

Saying that politics drives people off is sort of like saying giving at church drives members off. Ain't so, the preacher and his laymen do that without ever talking about $. Our problem is (one more time) that most don't know how to present the AMA to prospective new members without dropping into the rant about insurance, which does NOT define the AMA.

My opinion, and I am partial to it unless you can convince me otherwise.
Hi Jim-
No argument from me, just observation. Another observation, FWIW, is it ain't just AMA politics, their penchant for spending our money on Muncie, etc. It happens at all levels; I've seen it in attitudes of some that have posted here, and I have recently seen it at my own club. We had a couple of young (20's) fellows join within the past year, which is something of a rarity. Their preference was for the popular small, electric 3D type models that have been made possible by energy sources with high power density. I'm coming to share that preference, not because I identify with their generation, rather because the models offer the possibility of enjoying high performance while flying within a range where I can see them. I think you can guess how this fits in with the image of what model airplanes should be in the view of the rulemakers, who are of the generation stereotypical of AMA. Those young guys have apparently found another place to fly as I haven't seen them since the 'board' did their thing. SSRCCPREZ sure got that right; they don't need AMA or AMA club sites. Not so easy a choice for me though, as I appreciate the fraternity with friends there as much as the flying, and also have as large an investment (time and effort, not money) as anyone still standing in preserving our right to fly there. I'll just hope for a turnabout sometime in the not too distant future, and push when I see any break in the stone wall.
Anyway, still not arguing, mind you - you have to do something more than present AMA to prospective members........you have to deliver too.

Abel
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:50 PM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

Perhaps, our fearless leaders at AMA are in a state of permanent denial about the membership numbers.

When I mentioned the declining membership on another forum a couple of years ago, Dr. Sandy Frank responded with a ranting post about how great the membership increases were and the increases were averaging 8% annually. Of course, those of us capable of reading reports and numbers knew better but (contrary to my nature) I chose not to argue the point with him.

I think all of the reasons presented here are valid, but so long as the AMA is percieved to be just a big insurance company they will have growth problems. Like some of our more prominent pols, AMA just has identity problems.

Cajun[8D]
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Old 11-19-2004, 11:55 PM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

The thing is to ignore the small noise an maybe it will go away. Sorry we will be here when all else ar gone!
You think the big wheels are going to share their grease with the small ones wrong!
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:31 AM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

Cajun,
You have to understand that Dr. H. Sanford Frank eats, breaths, sleeps, dreams AMA and ANY disagreement with him about any subject concerning his apparent religion will be dealt with as a heresey from a heretic. That is unfortunate because before he went down that path many of us thought he was going to make a significant contribution to the future of our organization. He used to have a bunch of good ideas that needed some tweaking to be workable, but all seemed to represent a good place to start. Many have discovered that he is unwilling to compromise, to a fault. That tends to get the baby thrown out with the bathwater, which is NOT how we are going to grow the AMA.

R/C Outlaw, you seem to have the right idea but I am not sure for how long. We need to get the AMA more responsive to the membership, but more importantly we need the AMA to mean something other than insurance. Like it used to.
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Old 11-20-2004, 09:49 AM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

I think the powers that be in AMA shot themselves in the foot when they decided to build a little empire in Muncie. There seems to be more than just a little resentment that our money is being spent to finance this. And, as you guys have stated, the guys who fly electrics have no use, or need (in their minds) of the AMA. I fly planes and helis, I know of many heli pilots who have nothing but contempt for the AMA, they see the AMA as an organization run by old farts who want to wind up their 1936 Wakefield and heave it into the air. Many heli fliers are treated like the red headed ******* stepchild at the family reunion by the dinosaur plane fliers at their respective flying sites. Some heli guys put up with the abuse, but many simply say to hell with it and go fly off by themselves. In their minds, the abuse they receive from the plane fliers who have to have it all their way reflects directly back on the AMA. Is it fair? Probably not, but that's the way it is.

The AMA has a giant image problem, and until it is dealt with, you can watch the membership numbers continue down the tubes. Aside from the insurance required by many flying sites, there is no perceived need of the AMA. The magazine? If I want to read a quality model magazine, I'll read Model Airplane News. I know they always say the magazine has to reflect all facets of the hobby, but I really am not too excited reading page after page about some indoor free-flight competition. Since people who fly rc make up the vast majority of AMA membership, shouldn't that be the primary emphasis?

I sure hope someone comes up with a solution to the black eye that the AMA has, and I sure hope that Dave Mathewson is our next AMA president!
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Old 11-20-2004, 11:54 AM
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ORIGINAL: Woody218-RCU

Many heli fliers are treated like the red headed ******* stepchild at the family reunion by the dinosaur plane fliers at their respective flying sites. Some heli guys put up with the abuse, but many simply say to hell with it and go fly off by themselves. In their minds, the abuse they receive from the plane fliers who have to have it all their way reflects directly back on the AMA. Is it fair? Probably not, but that's the way it is.

I don't think we should be mixing the anamosity between heli flyers and plank flyers with the AMA drop in membership. It is a simple case of fixed objects over the runway don't mix well at all with moving objects.


Since people who fly rc make up the vast majority of AMA membership, shouldn't that be the primary emphasis?


It probably will be the primary emphasis when the R/C guys take the time to get involved and vote. The insignificant number of CL and FF flyers ARE significant when they nearly all vote.

I sure hope someone comes up with a solution to the black eye that the AMA has, and I sure hope that Dave Mathewson is our next AMA president!

Again, if a significant number feel this way he will be - we should know in a few days.
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:17 PM
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R/C Outlaw, you seem to have the right idea but I am not sure for how long. We need to get the AMA more responsive to the membership, but more importantly we need the AMA to mean something other than insurance. Like it used to.
Jim, you're 100% right. Some say this is just perception, but perception is reality to most of us who really don't know any better.

Cajun[8D]
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Old 11-20-2004, 04:10 PM
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ORIGINAL: Cajun

R/C Outlaw, you seem to have the right idea but I am not sure for how long. We need to get the AMA more responsive to the membership, but more importantly we need the AMA to mean something other than insurance. Like it used to.
Jim, you're 100% right. Some say this is just perception, but perception is reality to most of us who really don't know any better.

Cajun[8D]

While I could make a long list of things that AMA does which really is a big help to all modelers and modeling itself, other than insurance, I can also make a list probably just as long that AMA does do that at best hinders the modeler/modeling just as much as the help list helps. In addition there is a list for that which AMA should be doing that they never even consider.

Actually I think AMA IS RESPONSIVE to the membership. Only some 15-20% of the voting membership, at best, take any active interest in the administrative/political operations of the AMA. That leaves 80-85% of the membership basically stating that they are happy with how AMA functions. Now, with an 80% majority of the membership approving AMA, just why would the Power-Structure have any reason to NOT continue to perform as they do?

When I consider the flack levied upon me in my recent EC campaigns, from the few that do express interest, I wonder if the moves here for D. Mathewson are really an interest in AMA and/or the man, or simply a revolt against D. Brown with his past performance against those outside his own small world of modeling interests. Actually it could be a trend that a few may not be so quick to jump on an opponent of the current structure, or is it simply a temper thing that will soon pass?

There is not anything that will make AMA "Like it used to be." At least I hope not. Back in the '60s, AMA was going down the tubes. The increasing interest in RC along with proportional control, along with Johnny Clemmens establishing the Charter Club Liability Insurance program for site owners saved AMA. I well remember back in the late '40s, early '50s when the Ray Arden's new fangled Glow-Plug along with 1/2A engines and 1/2A CL saved most modeling companies from going under. In the '80s RC cars saved the RC industry or at least provided the capital to keep them solvent and to introduce the computer radios at comparably inexpensive pricing. Now if the few that have an interest in AMA could REALLY support changes in the AMA EC, at least maybe a turn-around might get AMA back to that which it SHOULD be.

Only with an AMA EC that has a main goal of promotion of model aviation from the grassroots to the highest levels can the growth in membership be accomplished. For example the NRA foundered for years because they only promoted firearms for hunting, and target plinking. Out of some 100 million gun-owners, for years the NRA hovered at less than 3 million members. A few years ago when NRA finally got out the words that preservation of personal arms was basically to defend against oppressive government, that membership nearly tippled in a few short years. (YES, I am and have been for many years a Life Member.)

Now JB you stated a December MA. I have not received that yet, however that makes for 13 copies this year. I have 11 issues and the Special NATS issue. Has the AMA's Chief Financial Officer, EVP, said anything about the extra expense of the mag.? Anything about the budget? Anything at ALL about AMA's future plans financially?
So, Gents, there is still another opportunity this 2005 to upset the Power Structure. Think about it. You will hear more later.

If you want to see AMA grow in NUMBERS as well as in effectiveness, then YOU must contribute to getting others on the bandwagon more so than just at this low interest AMA forum in RCU.
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Old 11-20-2004, 04:56 PM
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After seeing the stats and pecentages you see who is really interested in what is going on. The high % are like horses with blinders , they can only see what is in front of them and are afraid to look back. The lower ar frown on and are branded trouble makers. It is said that every thing is run by the old fellow's that are out dated and behind time but where would this hobby be with out them"us". And as far as Muncie I don't even want to get started on that!!!
For a low interest RC forum it gets a lot of attention. Any way I did.[:@]
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Old 11-20-2004, 05:34 PM
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Our club has in the last 4 years seen a reduction of members, and of course to belong to the club one must belong to AMA. When ask why they quit the club and AMA, simpley put, don't need the BS, and do not want to support Muncie and a good o'l boys club. As the numbers indicate most members of a club are the "gummers" as some one put it. The future is electric and flying at the local socer field, or open space, and as I personally have found a couple places to fly IMMA legal birds, why should I spend $100 or more on fees each year just to enjoy the hobby. I also am thinking very hard of dropping AMA.
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Old 11-20-2004, 05:47 PM
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The general state of the nations' economy, unemployment rate [outsourced jobs], price of gasoline, all have a way of re-directing money that is set aside for entertainment when times are good.
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Old 11-20-2004, 07:52 PM
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Default RE: Membership decline???

Quote:

Original: Hossfly

That leaves 80-85% of the membership basically stating that they are happy with how AMA functions. Now, with an 80% majority of the membership approving AMA, just why would the Power-Structure have any reason to NOT continue to perform as they do?

I have a slightly different take.
I believe that most of us (the 20 to 25%) who dwell among the discussion groups are those same people who make up club executive committees, run the contests, generally represent those that get things done, and in actuality support the AMA. And although I'm taken to task from time to time, I value everyones opinion that makes one here; because they have the convictions to speak up. It's unfair to minimize what transpires here because it keeps the conversation going, and lets those in "powerful positions" understand they too will be taken to task on questionable activities.
The 80% you elude to as the true supporters of the AMA aren't stating anything. They rarely vote, rarely attend meetings and look to the AMA for only the insurance. They never attend contests, will never visit Muncie. and care about nothing else than flying where and when they want without hassles. If you measure support by ambivilence, then yeh, you've got a winner there.
The trick will be in the offering of incentives, and choices in membership services which have not been thought of (yet). More rules, edicts and unbridled spending at Muncie are not the answer.
Where will these new refreshing ideas come from? Perhaps from the same unbridled unwashed 20% which populate the disscussion groups. At least they have the will and desire to speak up.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:31 PM
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ORIGINAL: combatpigg

The general state of the nations' economy, unemployment rate [outsourced jobs], price of gasoline, all have a way of re-directing money that is set aside for entertainment when times are good.
I agree combatpigg!
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:43 PM
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I wonder if each member logged in and volted online would the numbers be the same?
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:58 PM
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ORIGINAL: Geistware

I wonder if each member logged in and volted online would the numbers be the same?
I think not. If what we see on line, Dave Mathewson would have won by a land slide,.Tony Stillman would have been elected VP Dist. V 3 years ago. Modelers on line are NOT representative of the modeling community in general. On line modelers have some clue as to what is going on politically with the AMA and vote accordingly. Unfortunately they represent an insignificant portion of the AMA membership. Just ask Dave Brown.

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Old 11-20-2004, 10:10 PM
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It seems to me that in the foreseeable future the majority of RC model airplanes flown will be electric park-flier types flown at non-club fields by non AMA members. This may not be a good thing for the AMA. What argument for membership can the AMA present to these fliers?

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Old 11-20-2004, 10:17 PM
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Red,
That last sentence was not exactly fair. Dave Brown (and others of note - sf and jm) clain that the internet is just this decade's version of the CB radio and all the noise (and filth) that brought into our lives. The impact this and other forums has had on the election seems to support their position better that anything you or I can bring to the table as proof otherwise.

scrcc_guy said "The trick will be in the offering of incentives, and choices in membership services which have not been thought of (yet). More rules, edicts and unbridled spending at Muncie are not the answer. "

On this one, we agree. Your last sentence says the majority of what is important even though the rest of your post rings in well.

Horrace, go to the AMA site and click on MA and select the current issue. Look at Joyce's column and at the very bottom you can read exactly what I quoted. The date given there is December 2004. Your remarks about the EVP and finances are not exactly on target, but you could use this as ammunition to rant on about why MA is NOT a profit center instead of a cost center. So, either I am too stupid to see your point or I have provided the correct guide to the answer you need. Let me know please.

As for my remarks about "Like it used to be.", I was not talking about the 60's or 70's but about the 80's and NOT the 90's when our organization seemed to have learned how to get rid of lots and lots of money with no tangible benefit that the average modeler can attest to. Insurance and Muncie do NOT make the grade in that regard. I know your opinion about Muncie but do not feel that we should be throwing lots and lots of dollars down that black hole.
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Old 11-21-2004, 12:16 AM
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JB:
Jim Branum:
Horrace, go to the AMA site and click on MA and select the current issue. Look at Joyce's column and at the very bottom you can read exactly what I quoted. The date given there is December 2004. Your remarks about the EVP and finances are not exactly on target, but you could use this as ammunition to rant on about why MA is NOT a profit center instead of a cost center. So, either I am too stupid to see your point or I have provided the correct guide to the answer you need. Let me know please.

I know your opinion about Muncie but do not feel that we should be throwing lots and lots of dollars down that black hole.
Hey Jim, you did good. You proved my point in another thread in this forum and JR sent me a note saying I failed to comprehend what Bob Hunt was saying in the special issue. To me it was plain English that Hunt said we were getting 13 issues this year. I emailed Hunt however he never answered. So we have. Read it again JR!.
When I read your post I went to the AMA site and saw the November cover on the home page so I FAILED to investigate further. My BAD! I have not yet received the Dec. MA. Thank you for the above.

So my point is that from the audit reports, MA is paid for by the membership, not the advertising which is wasted on the agent's commissions and the "production" of said advertising, so I wonder just who allowed the financing of a SPECIAL ISSUE at additional cost in member-dues monies. I also wish to establish an early notice that the CFO, The AMA EVP, never tells us about AMA financial situations. potential problems and solutions, etc., etc. He simply PARROTS that information which is past history and is provided by the outside paid auditors. All he has to do is a bit of cut and paste and IMO, he considers himself done with his job as he sees it. IMO such neglect of the membership's financial well-being from the Second-in-Command is more detrimental to the AMA's growth than Brown's dictatorial behavior.

Yes, I support AMA having a well established base of operations. I pleaded to AMA to not do the Muncie thing but rather first establish several regional flying facilities. See where that went! Since Muncie is a fact, I think it is better to make Lemonade than cry over a bag of lemons. Make the best of what you have. OTOH I believe in a diversified portfolio, so all the money shouldn't be in the same account. Funny thing you should mention it as in a rare clean-up yesterday I came across some of my old letters to the EC when buying Muncie was in the planning stages. I did try and some of my predictions were not far out.
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Old 11-21-2004, 12:24 AM
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Default RE: Membership decline???


The 80% you elude to as the true supporters of the AMA aren't stating anything.
scrcc_guy, sorry if I wasn't clear. I think you can understand those statements were definitely my tongue-in-cheek sarcasm of those that fail to take interest and how the EC needs NOT to pay attention to us that speak up. We are not enough to vote the incumbents out without the help of the lazy 80%. We are together on this fact.

edit: bad word.
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