Wayne Green

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This is a transcript of an audio interview. This transcript may contain errors - if you're using this material for research, etc. please verify with the original recorded interview.

Source: Floppy Days vintage computing podcast

Source URL: http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-48-kevin-savetz-interviews-wayne-green and https://archive.org/details/WayneGreenInterview

Interviewer: Kevin Savetz

Wayne Green was founder of 73 magazine; Byte magazine; Kilobyte, which became Kilobaud, then Kilobaud Microcomputing; 80 Micro magazine for the TRS-80; Hot Coco for the TRS-80 Color Computer; Run for the Commodore 64, inCider magazine for the Apple II; and several other computer magazines.

This interview took place over Skype on January 29, 2013, when Kevin was doing research for a book about the very first personal computer magazines — Byte, Kilobyte, and Creative Computing. Although he decided not to write the book, he is publishing the interviews. Wayne Green died on September 13, 2013, eight months after this interview.

Kevin: Wikipedia, which is never wrong, [sarcastically] says you were born in 1922. Is that right?
Wayne: Yep. Why sure!
Kevin: I'm sorry?
Wayne: Yep. Why sure! That's New Hampshire for yeah.
Kevin: That was my next question. It says you live in Hancock, New Hampshire.
Wayne: Yep.
Kevin: OK. Mostly I want to start talking about "Kilobaud," but before we get there, the first magazine you published was "73", is that right?
Wayne: Well the first magazine, yeah. I published an extended news journal before that that got to 64 pages and had 2000 subscribers, called "Amateur Radio Frontiers." Then in 1960 I started "73 Magazine" for amateur radio and published that for 43 years. It was always about new HAM technologies.
This is fun, this is fun, let's do this, let's do this, and so forth and then I ran out of them and I said, "Well, it was never about making money," although it did make a good deal of money, but I've never done anything saying "Hey I can make money." It's always "Someone needs to do this." [laughs]
Kevin: Excellent! 73...you stopped at what year?
Wayne: Two double-O, three.
Kevin: 2003, OK. You started with that, had you any magazine publishing experience before that?
Wayne: Well just that Amateur Radio Frontiers that's all, and oh, yes, when I did Amateur Radio Frontiers, it started out about radio teletype, M teletype, and that got me a column in "CQ Magazine" one of the 2 HAM magazines, and then I got the editor a better job, he wasn't a HAM, I got him a better job with a new magazine that was starting and they hired me on as editor for five years and I did very nicely, had a wonderful time there so I learned all about publishing.
Then the publisher, who is not a HAM either, bought a yacht, got overextended and got a year behind on paying my salary, so he fired me. I said, "Well, this is so much fun." I had just enough money to publish the first issue of "73." [laughs]
Kevin: Wow.
Wayne: That's how I got into that, but yes, I had experience with publishing with CQ. I knew the advertisers, they knew me, the readers knew me, and so forth.
Kevin: Was "Byte" your idea, or how did you get moved from HAM radio into computing?
Wayne: OK, well, I kept getting more and more articles for 73 on computers by computer hobbyists that were tied in with HAM radio. Then one of my advertisers, MITS, Micro Instrument Telemetry Service, had been advertising with me. They put out a $129 four-banger calculator, adding machine, a little adding pad and so forth.
All of a sudden, one of the Japanese companies came out with one for about $20, [laughs] and put him out of business. He had been making computers as a hobby, so he put together the Altair 8800 using the 8080 chip from Intel, and put it on the market, and I read about that, and I said, "Ah-hah. I think this is going to be..."
I thought up a short name for a magazine in the field, and I came up with "Byte," which I thought was right on mark. [laughs] I wrote to all of the companies that were making equipment that the hobbyists were using, and said, "Please send me your mailing lists, the people who have asked for information or that have bought from you." I kept getting shoeboxes full of these names and addresses, and I sent them out, and I was getting a 20 percent response. Now on direct mail, one percent is good. [laughs] I started publishing Byte Magazine.
Kevin: You wrote to these companies saying, please send me the list of people interested in your products...
Wayne: Right.
Kevin: ...and then you mailed them about Byte Magazine?
Wayne: Right.
Kevin: Is that right?
Wayne: Now, unfortunately, at that time, I had trouble with the IRS. One of my ad salesmen for 73 made a big mistake and offered a free ad to people who would start advertising with us. Well, immediately my competition told everybody about that and everybody that was advertising wanted a free ad. I had to fire the guy.
Well he got even by telling the IRS that I was hiding money and the IRS came in and made life miserable. They came in and said, OK all this furniture in your office here that's a personal expense not a business expense, and you've had it for five or seven years so therefore you owe so much a year on that. Oh, this big camera that you're using for your photography, that's a two thousand dollar expense that was personal.
They did one thing after another and built it up to where I owed about twenty thousand dollars and [laughs] took me to court. [laughs] At any rate, when I started the new magazine the lawyer said, well you better put it in somebody else's name for the time being. I had gotten back together with my first wife, who is now an ex-wife, and we had split up ten years before, and we got back together, and so I put it in her name, big mistake.
After five issues, the magazine was going great guns and I came back from giving a talk one night and the magazine was gone, everything. All the files [laughs] , everything, was gone.
Kevin: We're talking file cabinets, and pages laid out, and everything was just...
Wayne: Everything got moved out, all the back issues and so forth.
Kevin: Did you think you were robbed? What was your initial thought?
Wayne: I knew right away what happened. I tried to get in touch with her. She said, "Oh, yes. We took the magazine."
Kevin: Why do you think that happened? Why did she do that?
Wayne: Because it was worth a lot of money. She published it for a few issues and then sold it to McGraw-Hill for $7 million dollars. Within a year or so it was billing over $1 million a month in ad sales and it got up to 800 pages a month, magazine. In the meantime I started to put out a magazine called "Kilobyte." and they threatened to sue, so I made it "Kilobaud." Then I put out one called "Desktop Computing", which was in plain English, not computerese, for business men.
When Apple came out with their... well first I started with the Radio Shack computer, which was the biggest seller. They had 20 percent of the market with their TRS-80. I put out an "80 Micro" magazine. That got to be the third largest magazine in the country at 500 pages a month. [laughs] The reason Radio Shack got into this is because when I first got started with Byte I took the first issue with me down to MITS in Albuquerque.
Then I stopped off in Fort Worth, Texas and visited an advertiser of mine in 73 who had a radio store there and showed him. I said this is going to be the big future. At any rate, then I went down to San Antonio where they were putting out a keyboard. I got an 8800 computer from MITS, the keyboard from the other place, and I made it work, and I said, "That's it, this is going to be great."
I started "Byte Magazine," and at any rate the chap that I talked to in Fort Worth closed his store, went to work for Radio Shack, and the next thing I know they had a factory down there making TRS80's, and he was the head of it.
Kevin: That's a good gig.
Wayne: Right. But that got to be, as I said 20 percent of the market, and a couple of hundred small companies in there. I put out the magazine for that, and then I put out one for the color computer, called "Hot Cocoa." I put out another one called "Run."
Kevin: For the Commodore, right?
Wayne: I put out one for the Apple, and I put out one for dealers called Selling Micros, and so forth and I covered the field pretty well. There was a big need for software, so I started Instant Software Company, and I brought a local motel that had 12 offices for me instead of rooms. I took the center part where they had a big restaurant, and made that into a computer lab and got a bunch of computers, and hired on a lot of programmers.
What I did was have the readers, send in any program that they made, and we would market it for them. Pretty soon, I had a couple of hundred programs on there. I had all kinds, business programs, educational programs, entertainment programs and so forth, and we were the largest software dealer there, in the industry for a while. Anyway, I kept going with that, and finally I said, "Well, done that, [chuckles] done that."
Kevin: Seems like for a while, you must have had many employees, filling up your 12 offices. How big was your empire?
Wayne: I had over 250. When I brought the building next door to mine...My building wasn't bad, 40 rooms. The one next door was a little smaller, and then bought the motel, and another building up in North Peterborough for the books that we were putting out, and we put out a lot of books. We had a shipping department out in West Peterborough. [laughs] I don't know I'm like that, we grew and grew.
Finally, I said, "Well I've done that, and I want to move on." Compact disks have come out, and the industry is ignoring them. The Music Magazines, Hi-Fi Magazines won't have anything to do with them, they say, "Well, we're always going to have LP's, so we don't need a new medium", and I said, "Boloney." First, I sold all my computer magazines to computer world, and got 16 million dollars for that to work with.
I then started a "CD" review magazine, which within the year, became the largest music magazine, and "CD's" were in. [laughs] I built a studio, I got interested in ragtime. I went to see the movie "The Sting," and they had...
Kevin: Scott Joplin.
Wayne: ...this Scott Joplin music there, and I said "Wow, where have I been? How did I miss this?" I'd always been a classical music fan since I was seven years old and was first exposed to it. It was an instant take on classical.
I was down in New Orleans at a music conference and I was walking along the street with my wife and I heard Scott Joplin music coming out of this bar. I'd been very disappointed, I'd bought every LP I could find on Scott Joplin, and the performers were all mechanical. They didn't feel the music, and I felt it. This guy, Scott Kirby, felt it. I went in and we sat down and had a couple Cokes.
Kevin: This Scott Kirby guy is playing live in the venue?
Wayne: He was playing in this bar, and I brought him to New Hampshire and we made a CD of Scott Joplin music and the result was so spectacular that I built us a $100,000 studio, one of the real state-of-the-art. No two walls parallel anywhere, and one wall all mirrors on hinges, with sponge spikes behind. You could vary the liveliness of the room however you wanted it. [laughs]
Bought a huge grand piano and so forth, and like that, so anyway, we put out a whole bunch of CD's.
Kevin: Hold on a second. [pause] Sorry.
Wayne: Well anyway, that's how computers got started. That was the start of the whole industry was because there was computer hobbyist groups. That's who I was catering to with "Byte" to start with.
Kevin: I want to go back to a couple of things. First of all, you said you sold all your magazines to Computer World.
Wayne: Yeah.
Kevin: You just felt done?
Wayne: Yeah.
Kevin: They were humming along. They're probably doing pretty well.
Wayne: They were doing very well, yeah.
Kevin: You were just bored with it?
Wayne: Yeah, I had to move on. Yes. Just like with 73, when I ran out of new things, I closed it. With computers, I ran out of new things. [laughs]
Kevin: OK. Going back even farther, when your ex-wife took the magazine from you, how did you feel? Did you feel betrayed, or was it just like an opportunity?
Wayne: Oh, sure. I sued her a little bit and settled for $100,000, which she never paid. That's what it cost me to start it. No big deal. I've never worried about money, never fussed about it. It's not important to me. Getting things done, sharing, is the big deal for me. When I find something fun, interesting, I have to share it. And that's what gets the magazines started and so forth.
After CDs, I got that going. Then I sold that magazine. The next interest was Cold Fusion. I'd heard about it, and I heard more and more as I investigated. And I went out to a Cold Fusion conference out in...
Kevin: What year are we talking here?
Wayne: 1993. I went out to a cold fusion conference on Maui, in the Hawaiian Islands. I went there a little early so I could scuba dive all six islands. As a result of going to that, I decided to start "Cold Fusion" magazine. I hired on Gene Mallove as the editor. He had worked for MIT in their publications department. MIT was one of the early places where they tested cold fusion. They sent out a report saying it didn't work.
Kevin: Was this the nuclear reaction in a coffee cup thing that was...am I thinking of the right thing?
Wayne: Yeah. I can give you a simple explanation of it. But anyway, Mallove looked into it and he said, "Hey, you fudged these figures." They said, "Shut up. We're getting millions for hot fusion research. Shut the hell up," so he quit. I met him at the conference and hired him on to edit the magazine.
The magazine took off. Of course, when we got ready to print the fourth issue, I came into the office one day and everything was gone. Everything was cleaned out. He moved up to Maine and put out his own magazine there using all my magazine articles that had been submitted and so forth.
Kevin: This had to seem familiar?
Wayne: Yes, right. I hired a guy from Vermont who was an expert, but he was in lunatic asylum. I got him out and hired him on. We put out the magazine in reduced form for 28 issues. We published all the scientific papers by the top physicists on exactly how and why this works. Jim Patterson, an inventor down in Sarasota, Florida, demonstrated a cold fusion cell at an energy conference.
It was about the size of a coffee mug. He had one watt of electricity going in and 1,000 watts of heat coming out for the length of this show. What you do is you take powdered nickel and put it in water. Then you pass electric currents through the water which separates it into hydrogen and oxygen, OK, you with me?
The hydrogen is absorbed by the nickel which is like a sponge. The Oxygen molecule is too big, and it passes off. Of course, you use the powder so you have the maximum surface area on the Carbon. Pardon me, on the Nickel.
When it gets 82 percent full of Hydrogen, it begins to combine with the Nickel to make Copper which is the next one up on the Scale of Atomic Weight. There's 0.2 mass left over, that's gone. If you look at Albert Einstein's e=mc^2. Energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light. A tiny but of mass lost is equal to a huge amount of energy which comes off as heat.
When you get it up to 82 percent it begins generating heat and will generate a lot of heat. What I look forward to is a unit in every building's basement that generates all the heat and the electricity that you can use for almost nothing, less than a thousandth the cost of oil. It uses very little Nickel to generate an awful lot of energy.
The Department of Energy, no doubt urged by the Oil Industry, and at that time the Bush's were President. They were oil people from way back. The Department of Energy sent out a message to all the colleges and universities, "If you do any research on Cold Fusion on an undergraduate level you get no more money from the government for anything." Then they went to the Patent Office and said, "You're not to even look at patent applications for Cold Fusion."
Then the head of the Department of Energy put out a book, Zenga, called "Cold Fusion, the Fiasco of the Century." They buried it. There's some science that it's being re-interred if you look at E-cat. Looks like Andrea Rossi may be getting going with it. It is the future, it is the way things are going to go. It has to.
It's one of three technologies that are going to totally change the world, totally. Not one, the next one is the Takahashi capacitor. If you're into electronics think of a capacitor one inch square, about an eighth of an inch thick that has one farad of capacity.
Now, we all deal with millions of farad in all of our electronics. I drove scooter all over outer London one day, all day... powered by one of these capacitors, call it a battery, if you will. It was half the size of a Coca-Cola can. We're talking about a battery for cars or any vehicle about the size of a shoebox that will power a car for 500 miles, recharge in a few seconds, and of course your cold fusion is nonpolluting in any way.
Kevin: What's the third item?
Wayne: The third item, a book came out by Dr. Bruno Comby called Maximize Immunity. He said, "Look, in every research project with dogs, cats, rats, mice and so forth, those fed the standard American diet were getting cancer, heart disease, and other human ailments and those fed raw food weren't. The ones on the American diet were living only half as long."
They tried some rats and they took three groups of them. One fed raw food. The second fed the American diet. When they got to the age of 60, human age of 60, they did an autopsy to find out how they were.
The ones on raw food were in perfect shape in every way. Those that survived on the human diet were in terrible shape. Their teeth were bad. Their guts were bad and so forth.
The third group they put on the American diet with cooked food and when they got to be 30 years old, in the human context, they took them off that diet and put them on raw food. Those that survived that long they autopsied when they got to be the equivalent of 60 and all back in perfect shape again.
Dr. Bruno Comby, not being real stupid, his hospital in Paris, Institute Comby and you can go to comby.com, Institute Comby. Put his patients on raw food diets and he said he was unable to find any incurable [chime] illnesses, none. Then, a few weeks after reading this, I heard Dr. Lorrain Day on the Art Bell show and she is or was a trauma surgeon in San Francisco and taught in hospitals.
She got a breast cancer and you go to drday.com and you'll see that breast cancer. She knew that chemotherapy made everybody terribly sick and didn't save any lives, about 97 percent deaths on it. She didn't go that route. It got down to where the cancer went all through her body, and they gave her days to live, gave her last rites, and then she changed to a raw food diet, and total cure.
Since then, she says she has found no incurable illnesses when you do this. There's a DVD out now, "Rawfor30 Days.com," which shows a group of people with long-term diabetes going on a 30-day raw food regime. At the end of 30 days, they were all totally cured of diabetes...all of them, type two diabetes.
I said, "OK," and I wrote a book for Americans, since Bruno Comby is French. He did get an American translation. A fellow up in Canada did that for him. But he only had a limited printing of it, so I wrote my book, which went into all that with a lot more details on fluoride and the dangers of that, and so forth.
That is where we stand, and that's the third one. If the word gets around on that, it's going to put the pharmaceutical industry out of business. That is our most profitable industry in the country. The top 10 pharmaceutical companies make more profits than the other 390 companies on the Forbes 400 list combined. We're talking $3 trillion if you get sick, and nothing if you get healthy...so there's no money in health. [laughs]
Kevin: OK. Why don't we get back to...
Wayne: That's the three. Oh, get back to computers.
Kevin: Computer magazines.
Wayne: Serves you right.
Kevin: Sorry. [laughs] You're writing a book about health. I'm writing a book about computer magazines.
Wayne: Well, I knew all the beginners.
Kevin: Sorry?
Wayne: I knew everybody in the field at the beginning.
Kevin: Yeah? Tell me interesting people you met.
Wayne: Oh, I don't know. Let's see... well Bill Godbout. He put out Godbout computers for a while.
Kevin: You went to a lot of conferences, early computer conferences, I assume?
Wayne: How about Steve Jobs? Maybe you read my thing on that, where I heard about the Apple computer, so my wife and I stopped by to visit him. Took me out... well, first he called Steve Wozniak over, who designed and built the Apple I.
They took me out to the garage and showed it to me and he said, "What do you think?" I said, "I think you've got a winner." I said, "Up 'til now, all of our computers had a motherboard. You plugged in the processor. You plugged in the memory. You plugged in the communication. You plugged in the keyboard." I said, "You've got it all on one board. That's the way to go."
Jobs said, "Well, what'll we do?" I said, "Well, there's a first computer conference that's going to be in Atlantic City in two weeks. Be there." He said, "Oh, I can't afford to fly." I said, "Take a bus. Be there." I had my booth there for the magazine and right opposite of me was the Apple booth with Steve Jobs. At the end of show he came over he said, "Wayne! Wayne! I'm in business! I've got 12 orders!" [laughs]
Kevin: Excellent. What was the conference? What was it called?
Wayne: It was a computer conference for microcomputers. Then a year later I stopped by to visit him and he had a laboratory at that time and I talked with him for a while. I said, "Well, you've got the Apple II here. How are you going to market that?"
He said, "Well I'm going to sell it direct like we've been doing the Apple I." I said, "Well, we've got some computer  stores now. Why don't you sell it through those?" "Oh, they'd take a discount. No, we're not going to do that."
I said, "Alright, here's what you do first thing Steve, first thing. Hire a marketing manager." So he hired a marketing manager, Mike Markkula and learned it [laughs] and they sold through stores. The result was a very successful company.
If I'd been able to get through the wall around Steve Jobs, he'd still be alive. I think he had pancreatic cancer. It's so easy to cure if you change to raw food. I'm 90 doing raw food.
Kevin: I'm sorry?
Wayne: I'm 90 years old and doing raw food. [laughs]
Kevin: Seems to be working for you. You had your editorial team, how does a typical issue go together?
Wayne: Oh, of which? [laughs]
Kevin: Let's go with microcomputing.
Wayne: OK.
Kevin: Assuming Kilobaud...
Wayne: Well, whatever. Anyway, the articles would come in and I had an editor for each and we invested in a computer system for setting type. At first you had to set type with linotype and all that stuff in the early days and then finally got computerized. I was right at the beginning of all of those, one of the first adopters.
I had a whole team of them in my 40 room house there, what had been a bowling alley part of the house we did for production and so forth. We all produced there. Then I added the other buildings, the one next door for the color computer and so forth.
Anyway, I kept adding more buildings. The books came out of North Peterborough and we put out quite of few books there of software and other things.
Kevin: Type in software books?
Wayne: Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin: Was there ever any other negative feedback from advertisers who didn't like how a review came out or wanted things to be written a certain way?
Wayne: No. I don't recall ever having trouble with advertisers in any way, no. They loved the magazine.
Kevin: Talk about the typical reader of Kilobaud. Was it more of a hobbyist market than some other magazines?
Wayne: It was all hobby at that time because you had computer clubs around the country and that was what it was.
Kevin: Do you read computer magazines today?
Wayne: No, done that. That's a "Been there, done that," same thing with amateur radio. Without new technologies I lost interest in that. I got interested in that...Well it first started when I was 12 and I went to church one day, to Sunday school. A fellow came in with a box of radio parts and asked my friend Alfie if he was interested and Alfie said, "No." "What about you Wayne?" I said, "You bet!"
I took them home and there was an article in Popular Mechanics on building a cigar box radio. I had the parts so I built it and I was trapped for life. [laughs] I went into business selling postage stamps to make money for radio parts, always the entrepreneur, I'd buy 50 pound sacks of stamps torn off envelopes and then sell them in five pound lots and did a brisk business with that with ads in the stamp magazines.
Anyway, that bought me the radio parts. Then I went to high school and they had a radio club and I went there, that's where I learned about amateur radio. Then the next thing you know I got my HAM radio license.
Again, the forefront in amateur radio at that time was the microwave stuff and VHF. What did I do? I built a little two and half meter walkie-talkie and that was the first rig that I went on the air with when I got my HAM license, walking around town talking to friends on two and a half meters.
Then of course the war came along so they closed down the HAM bands. I was going to college. I was in my second year at college by that time. I joined the Navy one day before the draft board got me.
They were yanking me right out of college, so I made a good deal with the Navy on that. The fellow who worked for my dad...My dad was in aviation. He started the first transatlantic airline, American Export Airlines.
One of the fellows that worked for him was in the reserves and got called back in when the war started and he put me in touch with a fellow who was running the lab, the electronics lab over in Virginia across the river from Washington DC. I went down and visited him, Commander Bourne and he said, "Wow! I want you on my staff."
I joined the Navy and he said, "Now first we're going to send you to radio school, or electronic school in the Navy here for nine months and then we'll get going here. Let me know when you're out so I can do the papers to get you back here." I went to the electronic school, Radio Material School, graduated on top, number one. [laughs]
Well I had been a C student all my life. At any rate, when I graduated I had a choice of getting in touch with Commander Bourne and going back to the lab. I said, "No. I'm more dispensable. Let's leave that for somebody with a wife and kids or something."
I volunteered for submarine duty which was the most dangerous of all, they had the highest loss of any branch of the service because everybody that was in the submarines was on a submarine. They didn't have a large land support. The next thing you know I'm on a submarine, USS Drum, spent five war patrols on that and I've written a book on my adventures there and we were one of the top scoring boats.
The boat is on display down in Alabama. At Mobile Alabama it's on display there and you can see pictures that I took 70 years ago of the crew and me, [laughs] and so forth. We had some very, very close escapes. I saved the boat personally twice with my fast action.
I was the radar operator and of course when we were submerged I was on the sonar. Anyway, there's a lot of interesting stories there. After the war I got back into college again and became president of the radio club and I said, "Well golly. We need a radio station here." I started a wire broadcasting station.
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute up in Troy, New York. I started WRPI and we did all kinds of interesting news and shows, plays and so forth, and brought girls in from the local girls' college for the girls' parts. Today, that is the largest student activity, is that radio station which is now an FM station.
After I got out of college I went to work first for a radio station down in North Carolina. I got fed up with that and had an opportunity. The fellow who introduced me to classical music when I was seven had done an article on my dad's airport. My dad was hired to design and build and operate an airport for Philadelphia.
He had done a survey for the Department of Commerce on all the airports around the country. He built the first concrete paved runway central airport there. He managed that until he quit and went to work for one of the first airlines, Ludington Airlines, which is owned by Tommy Ludington and Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart kept her plane at my dad's airport, the Lockheed, and I used to play in that when I was a kid. He had her over to dinner a number of times. I got to know her.
I'm one of the few people that knows exactly what happened to her. Her mechanic was a good friend of my dad's. As a matter of fact, you can find on the Web where my dad is in the plane with Don Whemple when he married Ms. Philadelphia. They did it all in the air [laughs] with my dad being there. That made the... I found that on the Web. At any rate... on and on. [laughs] I'll do a book someday...
Kevin: You should.
Wayne: Volume one of 10.
Wayne: Well, anyway, that's how computers got started. Before that I did cell phones the same way. I was publishing the HAM magazine and a few HAM clubs put automatic repeaters or relays on top of mountains and tall buildings to extend the range of handy-talkies and mobiles. I said, "Wow, this is fun." I put one up on the local mountain, and it made it so that any mobile HAM anywhere in New England could talk to any other.
I had a lot of fun with that and I had my little handy-talkie, talking through it and so forth. I put a bridge to 10 meters so they could talk all around the world there, if they wanted. I published hundreds of articles on repeaters, and a group out in Chicago put their repeater up on the top of the tallest building there, the Sears Tower, and had little receivers all spread around the outskirts of Chicago to pick up the mobile units and the handy-talkies and relay it through the Tower.
I kept writing in my editorial and said, "Look, I'm able to ski the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Colorado, and Utah, and make telephone calls anywhere in the world through the local HAM repeater." I said, "Everybody's going to want to do this." Well, Art Householder, K9TRG, out in Chicago, was working for Motorola, and he took my editorials to the top people at Motorola, and he said, "Here," and that's where cell phones started. [laughs]
Kevin: Awesome.
Wayne: But when I started, there were about half-a-dozen clubs with repeaters. By the time I got through publishing articles and a handbook and a list and so forth, there were over 8,000 repeaters around the country in the HAM clubs. I was flying from Johannesburg, South Africa... I was publishing with some computer magazines there, they invited me down.
I said, "Well, I'll come down if you also include a trip to Swaziland and Lesotho", and they said, "Done." I was flying in a plane they hired for me from South Africa up to Mbanane in  Swaziland. I was talking to the HAMs all around South Africa from the plane by way of the repeaters, and all of a sudden the Swaziland repeater came on, and I said, "That's it - we're everywhere." [laughs] Anyway, that's how cell phones got started.
Kevin: Excellent.
Wayne: Then, of course, when computers came along, I said, "I think I can...again." [laughs]
Kevin: When you were starting the computer magazines, there was clubs. Were there other computer magazines that you started basing Byte and Kilobaud on? I don't know exactly the timeline of them, what came when, so...but you feel like you were the first.
Wayne: Oh, I was the first at it. By the time Radio Shack was big, they were going in everywhere. It was getting very popular. They were selling well. [laughs] The programs were coming on, making it so that you could write letters and send email and stuff like that, and the web was developing.
Bill Gates, I met him first at MITS, when they had the first anniversary of their putting out their Altair 8800. They had a party, and I attended that, and we got asked, "Well, now, what do we do with these things?" The best that anybody could come up with was, "Well, you can use it to program the lawn watering." [laughs] That's all they could think of to do with them at that time. [laughs]
But anyway, right a few days after Bill Gates started working there, he came in. I think he went to school at Harvard. As a part of a computer class, he did a program in BASIC. When the 8800 came out, there was no software for it at all, nothing, just some little switches on the front. He went down there with his BASIC, and they hired him on.
IBM was busy with a big lawsuit because they had so dominated the mainframe business. When they finally got through with that, they wanted to get into these microcomputers. By the way, we had...when the minicomputer came along at one-tenth the cost of the mainframe, it put all but IBM out of the mainframe business. They hung on. But the minicomputers...what was it? I'll think of the name anyway...What was the big one? Olsen, DEC, Digital Equipment, and so forth.
I sat down and had lunch with Olsen. I said, "You've got to start adopting these microcomputers." He said, "Oh, they're just toys. We're not going to be bothered with that." I went over to Data General, which was another big one, and sat down with the president there. He said the same thing, "We're not going to be bothered with that," and on and on.
I talked to all of the top people in the minicomputer business. Of course, about two or three years later they're all out of business. The microcomputers just dominated everything at one-tenth the cost of a minicomputer. Anytime technology comes along that is one-tenth the cost, it's going to dominate. [laughs]
Kevin: At what point did you realize that computing was going to move from the realm of hobbyist to an actual thing that everyone...?
Wayne: I don't think there was any time. It just happens. I didn't think about that. I was just busy keeping up, keeping ahead, actually. [laughs] Then Computerworld came along. I got to know Pat McGovern, the head at Computerworld, met him at a conference and so forth. They wanted to buy my magazines and I said, "Well, I've done that. I'll move on." They bought them.
They didn't put anybody... I think his people got irritated at him making the decision on that. They put not very bright people at the head of each project and all the magazines died.
Kevin: How many magazines did you sell at that point? Do you know?
Wayne: I think about five. You have to have somebody who sees the future and gets there first, which I have always done. With compact discs, I noticed that there were six companies making almost 96 percent of all the compact discs, only one of them American the other five were European. I said this is crazy, we've got all these independents out here and they only have four percent of the market.
We got a group of people to check each CD that an independent put out and tell me what the best cut was on that and I put out samples discs, CDs with 15 different independent samples on it and gave them away totally free except for shipping and handling which paid for everything [laughs] and sold millions of those and the result was that the independent sales went from four percent to 16 percent of the market, over a billion dollars more to them and so forth.
Kevin: You had this advertisement for the indy CD in your magazine?
Wayne: Yeah. I put out a special journal for the independents of course [laughs] and a special catalog et cetera.
Kevin: When did you get out of the CD magazine industry?
Wayne: When it matured. I was never in it as a business, just wanted to make it work. I sold it to IDG where it died, that's the same people that bought my computer magazines. [laughs] But we've got a lot of things we need to change in this country and I've got some good proposals for it.
The federal government is incredibly bloated, have some over two million people working for the federal government and hiring more all the time. I know how we can cut the government in half in three years, with everybody involved, enthusiastically cooperating. How's that?
Kevin: Sounds good!
Wayne: We've got these stupid wars. We haven't won a war since World War II. We keep getting into them for political reasons and not winning. Like, the Vietnam War, what did we lose, 55,000 Americans over there doing that? You've got nothing.
We're not getting anything much out of Afghanistan or Iraq now. The only reason we went there was this 9/11 thing which turns out to have been totally fudged. I have a way we can get out of there successfully and win, easily and quickly at almost no expense.
Kevin: I've looked at your blog and I've read many of your opinions. You seem like an opinionated person, you don't keep them to yourself.
Wayne: I do my research and I pride myself of not having any beliefs, because a belief prevents you from re-thinking things, or accepting new data. I say "What is the data, what are the facts?" the best I can find them. I have 54 bookshelves full of books that I've read, doing the research, and very, very few novels. [laughs]
Kevin: I think, for the moment, I'm going to say, I'm...
Wayne: This is, this is...
Kevin: I have... That's all the questions that I have for now. I need to assess what we've talked about and see where I have follow up.
Wayne: This was a long 15 minutes.
Kevin: [laughs] Sorry.
Wayne: The beard is new, I just grew that just for the hell of it.
Kevin: Looks good. I have mine because my wife went out of town for like a week once, and I just stopped shaving because I'm lazy. She came back, and she said OK, that can stay.
Wayne: [laughs] Well, I thought I'd see what it grew into.
Kevin: [laughs]
Wayne: I [indecipherable 57:21] so I can be Santa Claus.
Kevin: Well thank you for your time.
Wayne: OK. Well, as you can tell, I hate talking, and it has to be pried out of me. [laughs] Have fun with your book.
Kevin: Thanks.
Wayne: I get a free copy, don't I?
Kevin: Absolutely, yeah.
Wayne: OK. [laughs]
Kevin: All right, thanks Wayne.
Wayne: Right-O.