If you missed last week’s story about the Boston Chapter’s Boston Bimmer, we’ve started a new BimmerLife series showcasing our chapters’ newsletters. This week we’re traveling (virtually) to Chicago, Illinois to learn about the Windy City BMW Chapter’s Breeze. This newsletter is run by the husband and wife team of Larry Schettel and Barbara Adams. Barbara has been Editor since 1990 and Larry has been the Art Director since 1976. With such long tenures, I imagine producing Breeze is almost second nature for them at this point.
While scrolling through Breeze’s online archive, I noticed many covers filled with the smiling faces of members at events, plus a ton of event coverage and event promotion. By the way, their archive goes back to 2013 giving you over 100 issues to peruse. Let’s find out more about the Windy City BMW Chapter and their newsletter from the Editor of 32 years, Barbara Adams.
BimmerLife: When was Breeze first published and how has it changed over the years?
Barbara Adams: Breeze started as just a mimeographed couple of pages in 1971. It then went to a black and white print newsletter for a number of years. It later transitioned to color printing and eventually ended up in digital format. When the chapter dues were reduced, we had to go digital-only as the cost of the printing and mailing was just too high.
BL: When did you transition to your current digital format?
BA: Our last printed and mailed newsletter was December 2019. Now we publish the newsletter on our website.
BL: What are the benefits and challenges of the current format?
BA: The benefit of a digital format is that the costs are minimal and we can easily add extra pages when needed. We include active hyperlinks, so readers just click through for more information. In addition, production turnaround time is much shorter. One challenge of not having printed copies is that we don’t can’t hand them out to use as a membership tool.
BL: How often is Breeze currently published?
BA: It is a monthly publication. It has always been a monthly publication.
BL: Who is involved with your newsletter and what are their roles?
BA: I have been Editor since 1990 and my husband, Larry Schettel, has been the art director since 1976. It is all done in house, which is very convenient!
BL: Do you have any regular contributors you’d like to spotlight?
BA: Our President has a monthly column. The chairpeople of our events write reviews of events.
BL: What kinds of stories do you like to run in your newsletter?
BA: We run reviews of all events along with photos of the events. If someone has a story that would be interesting to our membership, we run it. Road trip articles are great but don’t get them very often. Additionally, we run coverage of major races if a member attends.
For regular features, we always have the President’s column, a calendar, a new members list, announcements, and upcoming events. We also include pictures of our members’ pets on the back cover.
BL: How is the newsletter distributed?
BA: As it is all digital, it is announced to the members via iContact. We also publish it on our website, windycitybmw.org.
BL: How did you get involved?
BA: Well, I was helping with typing back in the old days. Since my husband was doing the art direction and making “it look pretty” it kind of just ended up with me. It is very nice having it done all in one place.
BL: Do you have any advice for CCA members that would like to get involved with their chapter newsletter?
BA: It is a regular ongoing commitment and you need to be able to get it done. It’s important to attend events and cover them for members. You need to be organized and understand deadlines. There is satisfaction getting it done and getting it out to our members.
BL: What do you think sets your newsletter apart from other chapter newsletters?
BA: The fact that we are a monthly newsletter is one thing that sets us apart. We are an active chapter and the coverage of the events shows our members having a good time. We receive a lot of compliments on our layouts and captions.
Thanks for the tour of the Windy City BMW’s Breeze, Barbara! It’s fantastic that you and your husband have been such active members of BMW CCA for so long.
If you’d like to read the latest issue of Breeze check out the Windy City BMW Chapter’s website: https://windycitybmw.org/. If you’re not yet a member and would like to join the Windy City BMW Chapter, click here. —Mike Bevels
[Images courtesy Windy City BMW Chapter BMW CCA.]