What is The Sun Runner Magazine?
Conceived in 1994, The Sun Runner magazine was born during the 1995 revitalization of 29 Palms - when this quiet desert community, asleep in an economic slump, suddenly awoke and began to reinvent itself.
Residents and merchants were busy creating the Mural Project, cleaning up the streets, remodeling commercial facades, starting new visitor-friendly businesses, and spawning new annual events and fund-raisers for 29 Palms. A vehicle was needed to “get the word out” to the community and to the world. “Something is happening in 29 Palms: Catch the Spirit!” was the motto.
Capturing the spirit of the renaissance, resident Vickie Waite founded The Sun Runner Arts & Entertainment Magazine, became its Publisher & Editor, and sought local writers and artists to contribute to its pages.
The first issue was distributed on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1995, offering photography, art, intelligent writing, and a social calendar to a culture-hungry community. By January 3, the community’s response to this new publication was overwhelmingly positive. Subscriptions began rolling in. Advertisers began to call. The rest is history.
Over the next nine-and-a-half years, Waite grew The Sun Runner’s coverage area, advertising, and distribution, to include all of the hi-desert/Morongo Basin. But wanting to eventually retire, Waite actively sought out someone to take over the growing publication.
On June 1, 2004, Yucca Valley resident, award-winning journalist and musician, Steve Brown, joined The Sun Runner as Publisher and Executive Editor to continue the magazine’s growth. The magazine moved from a quarterly publishing schedule to a bi-monthly basis, beginning with the Oct./Nov. 2004 issue and increased its print circulation at that time as well.
In 2005, the Sun Runner Showcases were launched, intimate concert performances at the Hi-Desert Playhouse in Joshua Tree. A host of regional, and even international musicians performed at the Showcases, prior to the Playhouse’s disastrous freeze and flood in January 2007 (the Playhouse remains closed as of the end of 2012). The Sun Runner also began hosting Sun Runner Salons, with featured guest authors and poets from around the region. A free, weekly e-mail newsletter, the Sun Blast, was also added, along with a weekly radio show Friday mornings on KX96/92.1 FM (heard throughout the Morongo Basin and Coachella Valley). The Sun Runner began sponsoring arts events throughout the desert, from the Palm Springs Art Museum to Calico Ghost Town, while a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thesunrunner), MySpace, and even Twitter, added to the magazine’s reach.
As of 2007, The Sun Runner had expanded its editorial coverage and distribution network to include all of the California deserts region, and publishes three to four times (seasonally) as many copies of the magazine per issue as when Brown took over the publication in 2004, reaching more than 60,000 desert residents and visitors from El Centro and Borrego Springs, through the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs area and the hi-desert/Morongo Basin/Joshua Tree Gateway Communities, and on through the Mojave Desert to Ridgecrest and Death Valley. The magazine has become increasingly involved with regional tourism efforts for the California deserts, as well as with its diverse cultural community, participating in efforts ranging from Operation Sun Runner (sending CDs from musicians around the country to our troops overseas), to speaking at engagements, and producing a variety of events.
Features such as the annual Desert Writers issue, have given voice to creative spirits throughout the California deserts, while contributors to the magazine add to The Sun Runner’s regional voice that makes it The Magazine of the Real California Desert. The 2011 and 2012 Desert Writers Celebrations were an active part of the international 100 Thousand Poets for Change project.
While we hope you’ll enjoy the new features we’ll be bringing your way, don’t fret - we have no intention of losing the magic that has made The Sun Runner the delight it has been over the past 15 years. As always, feel free to contact us with your ideas, comments and criticisms. We may put the magazine out, but it belongs to our desert community.
As of July 1, 2008, The Sun Runner entered a new phase in its life by moving to Joshua Tree, central to the hi-desert communities the magazine calls home.
Tens of thousands of copies of The Sun Runner are distributed at more than 500 locations throughout the California deserts, and the subscription list includes hundreds of loyal subscribers throughout the country. In 2009, The Sun Runner began limited distribution outside of the desert region, with distribution to Orange County visitor-oriented locations, as well as to the Oceanside California Welcome Center, the Bakersfield Visitor Center, the Lone Pine Visitor Center and other locations. In 2011, the magazine began limited distribution in Yuma, Arizona, as well as to many desert communities from Boron to the Salton Sea region. The Sun Runner is an active member of the California Deserts Visitors Association, and participated with the CDVA at the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 LA Times Travel & Adventure Show, and is exhibiting in January, 2013, at the LA Travel & Adventure Show. These shows are the largest consumer travel shows in the country. We’re busy planning our travel show presence for the 2012 event! Through the CDVA, The Sun Runner is represented at the International Tour Operators Pow Wow as well.
More than 250 writers, poets, columnists, artists and photographers have contributed to the magazine to date. With our website online since 1999, 100,000+ readers have visited our site from all over the globe! In celebration of the start of the magazine’s 18th year in publishing in 2012, The Sun Runner has unveiled a dramatically upgraded website with enhanced content and advertising opportunities, that will be mobile and tablet friendly, SEO optimized for maximum presence online, with full integration of features from our online calendar, to blog, news, video, slideshow, and social media capabilities, along with a beautiful new desert-wide business/organization and attractions directory.
As The Sun Runner Magazine enters its 18th year of publishing in 2012, it is more popular than ever. The only desert-wide media in the California desert region, the magazine continues to expand to include more desert communities and reach more desert locals and visitors to the desert, now reaching 50,000+ readers per print issue, and thousands more online through www.thesunrunner.com, our digital editions, our weekly Sun Blast newsletter, our social media outlets, our weekly radio show on KX 96.3 FM (Joshua Tree Gateway Communities) and 92.1 FM (Coachella Valley).
The Sun Runner Magazine produced the Hwy 62 Art Tours Official Program for the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council’s 2010 annual art tours, as well as printed and distributed 100,000 rack cards promoting tourism in Death Valley. The magazine has printed the Desert Institute’s course catalogs, visitor attractions maps for the City of Twentynine Palms, the Real Route 62 Visitors Guide (the official visitors guide for the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities), and more. Look for more specialty desert publications and online content to come in 2013!
The Sun Runners’ 2011 Desert Travel Issue was the BIGGEST issue in the magazine’s history, with 84 pages of desert travel fun reaching more than 60,000 readers across Southern California. The 2011/2012 Desert Travel Issue will be distributed once again at the LA Travel & Adventure Show, the biggest consumer travel show in the country, and visitor locations throughout the desert and Southern California. We’ll be sharing our suggestions for desert explorations from Anza-Borrego to Death Valley and everywhere in between.
Who says there’s nothing to do in the desert? Not us. Adventure abounds! We've even began hosting desert tours in 2012, introducing adventurous visitors from all around southern California to some of the unique wonders of our deserts.
Each issue of The Sun Runner brings you the people, places, and events that make the California deserts unique. To find out more about the complete print edition of the magazine, click on Subscribe.
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