../people/George Bradley McDonald

Sources: Brad McDonald (august 2003), www.vitalbmx.com, John McDonald, Ride BMX US, ...
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1970 Date of Birth: december 30, 1970.
early years First two wheel bike at 3.
1990 Contributing to Invert and Ride BMX UK mags.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: I got hooked up with Invert/Ride BMX UK through Bart de Jong. I met him at a 2-Hip Meet the Street contest in Palm Springs around 1990. Bart gave me Mark Noble's contact information. I don't recall exactly how it got rolling, but I sent Mark photos from that contest. One of them of Brian Blyther was used on the cover of Invert, so I was stoked to get my first cover shot. Unfortunately, Invert had just fallen victim to the same economic downturn as everyone else. It previously had a lot of color pages and was printed on nice paper. Right when I got hooked up with them, they had to cut back to newsprint and black and white throughout. It was still a cool magazine and they survived through the tough times. I have a lot of respect for the perseverance that Mark has had and what he's been able to create.
1991 Shooting photos for GO. Being their full-on staff photographer.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: Getting hired by Go was a dream come true. I grew up reading Freestylin' and BMX Action, so Wizard Publications was my magazine Mecca. Obviously, reality couldn't quite live up to that. I worked there in 1991 when both the economy and the BMX industry were in bad shape, so it wasn't quite like the glory days of the 1980's. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. I was in college at the time, so it was a part-time and I only went to the office a couple times a month.
1992 The end of GO.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: Go folded January 15, 1992. Bob Osborn had completely checked out by that time. In the 8 months I worked there, I never saw him, so I don't think he had much interest in supporting a money-losing magazine. Unfortunately, the two women who ran the business didn't care much about BMX either. When the business shut down, they cleaned out the office and threw the photo archives in the trash. I don't think they quite realized that those photos represented much of the documented history of the sport up to that time. Luckily, a few people heard about this and were able to salvage some of the photos.

The beginning of Ride BMX US.
While still in college in 1992, Brad decided to start a BMX magazine, and regardless of how uneducated he was about the publishing world, he got the ball rolling as Ride's first editor/photographer/publisher, and he made it all the way to issue 19 before hiring any full-time help. There were plenty of contributors involved from the get-go, but Brad was responsible for the majority of the work, including mundane tasks like getting the magazine printed, selling subscriptions, etc.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: I started Ride in the summer of 1992 when I was 21. After Go folded, I knew there was a need for a more "real" magazine. BMX Plus, just like today, was pretty cheesy and didn't cut it for most riders. Other than photography, I really didn't know much about the mechanics of making a magazine or the publishing business. I was still in college at the time, so Ride wasn't a real business with an office or staff. I ran it out of my apartment bedroom. I did pretty much everything from typing in subscriptions to selling ads to shooting photos. I scanned photos at night at the computer lab at school. Luckily, I knew people who were nice enough to help out with their time or advice (my girlfriend/now wife Christine, my parents, McGoo, Jeff Tremaine, Rich Hansen, Aidin Vaziri, and Fran Richards were all invaluable).
The first issue was terrible from a production standpoint. It was all black and white inside, had bad paper, and the printing was dark. For me as a photographer, it was pretty disappointing. Money was super tight, but the magazine steadily progressed. My sole focus was on improving the quality, so every dollar went back into the product. The magazine didn't make any money for a couple years, but I was able to scrape by through freelance photo jobs and help from my parents.
Ride was the first BMX magazine in the US to print any swearing or anything remotely controversial, so some people thought it was "bad for the industry" and didn't want to support it. The controversy created a lot of awareness, but it made selling advertising tough. Rider-owned companies got it, but the big guys were a lot more timid.
1993 Interview in Fat zine issue 27.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: Bart and Stephen Prantl were in California for something, so they hung out at my apartment a bit. Bart decided to do an interview with me, but I don't really remember much about it. Bart is one of the coolest guys in the sport and Fat has always been great. I actually just saw Bart a couple days ago, so it's funny to think that I've known him for so long.
1994 The beginning of SNAP.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: Snap was launched in late 1994 to cover racing. It started two years after Ride. I was graduating from college and was going to have a lot of extra time, so I figured I might as well start another magazine. Ride had a tiny bit of race coverage, but it was pretty bad and it didn't fit with the rest of the magazine. Snap was all racing from cover to cover. I hired Steve Buddendeck to be the editor. He was my first real employee. He had great vision for the magazine and put it on the right track. Steve was in Ohio, so the magazine had an east coast feel that no BMX magazine had had before. The business side of racing was a lot stronger than freestyle was back then, so Snap was successful pretty quickly. Snap and Ride were each produced six times a year, so we were making a magazine each month. Steve is another guy I met through BMX years ago who is still a great friend.
1996 Ride BMX US april 1996: Publishing magnate, Brad McDonald, is now a married man. Congratulations.

BMX Business News.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: We launched BMX Business News about seven years ago to help the BMX industry grow. We publish it six times a year and send it out for free to bike shops. The goal is to help inform shops about what's going on in BMX as far as new products and general industry news. A lot of bike shop owners are older people who may not be into BMX, so we help them stay educated so their shop can stay current. A more informed bike shop owner hopefully translates into riders having a better selection of good products, and it helps the industry stay healthy financially.
1998 McDonald's company, based in Santa Ana, California, was acquired in 1998 by Oceanside, California-based Transworld Media (Times Mirror).
2001 Switching to Transworld.
Brad McDonald, august 2003: As freestyle started getting more TV coverage in the U.S. through events like the X Games, it started to dwarf racing. This hurt Snap with both advertisers and readers. We gradually opened it up to include dirt jumping since there were so many contests being held at races. As freestyle kept growing, Snap started getting more and more letters from readers who wanted to see freestyle in the magazine. At first we would just tell them to read Ride. After getting enough of those letters, we realized there was a need for a magazine that covered everything. Ride wasn't going to cover racing, so it made sense to broaden Snap's coverage. It was a bit of a dilemma, however, because even the name Snap was a racing term. To make the name consistent with the content, we changed the name to TransWorld BMX. A couple years prior to the name change, I had sold the magazines to the company that owned TransWorld Media (TransWorld Skateboarding and TransWorld Snowboarding). It made sense to use the company name since it gave us a more "obvious" title, which can be helpful for people looking for a magazine at the store. The name Snap didn't mean much to a lot of people, so the name change was good for instant recognition.
2006 Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com, march 2006: McDonald leaves Transworld Media. The world is full of surprises. Brad McDonald is leaving Transworld Media. After starting Ride magazine from his bedroom in the early 90-s McDonald had worked his way to the top at Transworld media as their Group Publisher. He also had a hand in starting SNAP, BMX Business News, Transworld Motocross and their latest addition, TW Quad. Now what's McDonald going to do?
Brad McDonald, march 2006: It is with both sadness and excitement that I announce my departure from TransWorld. I was the group publisher overseeing all the magazines there (Ride BMX, TW Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Surf, Motocross, and Quad). I am returning to my entrepreneurial roots and am launching a new venture, which will be an online media company that will focus on BMX and other action sports. The name of the company is Vital Media Network.
Given the depth of talented staff and management at TransWorld and new leadership at Time4 Media, I am certain this transition will go smoothly. Tom Beusse has laid out an inspiring vision for taking Time4 and TransWorld to the next level, and though I regret that I will not be a part of it, I am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together at TransWorld.