I haven't gotten over the fact that there's no Cornhusker Kickoff 2012 this season since my publisher Maple Street Press went out of business, and I've been keeping my eyes open on what's going on in Huskerdom with regards to who's still doing print, specifically yearbooks and magazines.
Therefore, ergo, et al, i.e., I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when Aaron Babcock announced that he, along with Mike Babcock (no relation), would be leaving Huskers Illustrated to create their own magazine - Hail Varsity.
Aaron was the general manager and editor of Huskers Illustrated, while Mike, well, if you don't know whom Mike Babcock is, you haven't been reading enough. Mike is the author of 11 books on Husker football and is currently working on a 12th. (I've reviewed three of Mike's books in year's past - The Nebraska Football Vault; Stadium Stories - Nebraska Cornhuskers; and Heart of a Husker - Tom Osborne's Nebraska Legacy.) Sufficient to say that Mike IS the Husker historian.
Then they added a young guy, Brandon Vogel, formerly of CBS Sports and BigRedNetwork.com to manage web content. Brandon wrote for me when I was doing the MSP yearbooks. He's damned good. I would have liked to nabbed him for CN, but, alas, he's too good for us, that bastard. (Okay, hopefully he's making a living there. Here, not so much).
Hail Varsity will debut this season as a high-end magazine, available in print, online, or on the iPad. Subscriptions are $49.99 a year for 16 issues, and if you subscribe before August 1st, you'll receive a special first edition around August 15th.
The first edition will be a look back on the last 50 years of the sell out streak at Memorial Stadium. Given Mike B's knowledge of history, and Aaron B's knowledge of photography and prowess with a camera, Husker fans should be in for a treat.
Hail Varsity will publish weekly during football season. Content will feature everything from analysis with former players, Mike's take on Husker history, Aaron's pretty damned good Husker photography, and features on fans that make up Husker Nation.
Starting next year Hail Varsity will be publishing a preseason yearbook. Things will be owned by Nebraskans and printed in Nebraska, so no "Made in China" involved.
In addition to the magazine, Hail Varsity will feature a web site (because we need another competitor), and a radio show, schedules shown below:
ESPN 1480 in Lincoln (4-6 p.m.) and 900 AM in Columbus (4-6 p.m.)
1620 The Zone in Omaha (7-9 a.m.)
I was not a subscriber to Huskers Illustrated, but I'll probably be subscribing to Hail Varsity if for no other reason than I have no desire to have print entirely disappear.
Once again, all my really witty commentary has disappeared because I hate the internet right now and it hates me. Go subscribe. Support a Nebraska business. Support one that chops down trees instead of creating more electronic toxic waste. We're Nebraska, dammit. We're all about Arbor Day.