The question will eventually crop up, particularly from a nosey passenger sitting next to me on an airplane. After a few minutes of unceremonious chitchat, out it comes: “So, what do you do?”

“I am editor-in-chief of a trade publication,” is my usual reply.

“Oh, really. What’s the name of it?”

“It’s The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News,” I reply. “We’re a weekly publication that goes to the hvacr contractor. We inform contractors of what’s going on in the hvacr industry....”

Insert first interruption here: “Did you say ‘weekly’?”

“Yes,” I answer.

“You’re kidding.”


“Wow! What can you write about each week in regard to air conditioning and heating?”

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” is my quick response. “We provide contractors with information designed to help them succeed in business. We provide training and education articles. We provide service, maintenance, and troubleshooting articles, designed to help the technician and installers do their jobs properly. We provide information on new products and tools available from industry manufacturers. We…”

Insert second interruption here: “And you do this weekly?”



I can hardly wait to add this official answer this year: “Yes. We’ve been doing it for 75 years now.”

Now that ought to boggle their goggles. In truth, it boggles me at times.


This is something the Henderson family is proud of — as they should be. In 1926, F.M. Cockrell started Business News Publishing and published the first issue ofElectric Refrigeration Newsin Detroit on Sept. 11, 1926. Working out of the Saturday Night Press building, he started with a paid circulation of about 2,000 readers. It has not missed its mark since.

Ten years later, the paper broadened its coverage, becoming the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration News. Then, in 1958, we extended our coverage once more, becoming The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News, the name it bears today.

In my eyes, this is rather remarkable, especially when one considers the volatile nature of trade publications, period. The News has withstood the test of time — time after time, year after year. We are proud to place the “Celebrating 75 years” logo on page 1 of this issue and every issue in 2001.

We plan a year-long celebration of this publication milestone. Please check out our first installment of “This Week in History,” which you will find each week in the bottom right-hand corner of page 1. Assistant editor Cherie R. Preville has put together some interesting and important dates in hvacr history — and she pulled these from the pages of The News. (Of course, if you have some important dates and information to pass along to Preville, do not hesitate to e-mail her at previllec

Each week Preville will also provide her “Glancing Back” reports. In each article, news from issues past corresponding to the current week will be examined, to remind us where the industry and The News has come, which might help us understand the industry today and tomorrow. The initial installment of Glancing Back can be found on page 9. We believe you will enjoy this extra touch every week.


Stay tuned: We plan on having two big anniversary splashes in April and November. On April 30 we will publish our “75 Years of Cooling” issue, which will contain articles and features on the history of cooling, with highlights from past pages ofThe News.Then, on November 12, look for our “75 Years of Heating” issue. Here we will feature the companies, products, and people that have shaped the heating industry over the last 75 years. There will be other special “surprises” over the course of 2001. For instance, if you desire to grow your business this year,The Newsplans to help you reach your goals through a unique contest. Look for more details in our January 29 issue. All I can say is that it’s going to be a big year for us. We believe you will enjoy our overall coverage in 2001. Of course, let us know how we are doing. It’s always good to hear from our readers.

Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 01/08/2001