ZIP Beep
1984 - 1989

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Star Tribune story about ZIP Beep


Ron Reagan's Big Book Of Indians
(from Issue #47)



The World Of Kindly Doctor Crandal
(from Issue #52)



ZIP Beep Table Of Contents


ZIP Beep Issue #1


ZIP Beep 1996 Forward


ZIP Beep 2005 Forward


Cyberworld Report article about
Strinz Creative & ZIP Beep



Wikipedia reference


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I have always enjoyed creating things. I especially like doing something that has never been done before.

In 1984, I was two years away from launching Gizmode radio. My home mortgage data service, the Financial Update Network, had taken on new dimensions with a separate Bulletin Board Service (BBS) that could be accessed by more than one user simultaneously -- the first of its type in the Upper Midwest.

The BBS let users send email to one another. Along with my employees and business associates, we came up with a number of what we called "online magazines" for lack of a better term. One was sports oriented, one was a weekly financial column, another was about the art scene in the Twin Cities. Then there was ZIP Beep.

ZIP Beep was the world's first widely-available online humor magazine. Today, we would call it a blog. It consisted of four to six humor "articles" by a loose collection of writers. I edited ZIP Beep. Which, of course, meant I wrote a lot of it just before deadline.

Through the BBS Press Service, it was syndicated to nearly 150 other BBS systems across the country, plus a handful in Europe and Austrailia. The Internet was generally unknown then. But that didn't stop us from reaching thousands of readers with computers and modems.

Many of the articles, like Ron Reagan's Big Book of Indians (written after Reagan made some particularly egregious but now forgotten comments about American Indians), were political humor. Others were everything from poems about computers crashing to interviews with famous comics who came through town.

In the Jay Leno interview, done in 1986, Mr. Leno said he was not responsible for helping his then-friend, David Letterman, become a successful comic -- although Mr. Letterman had recently said Leno "taught me everything I know."

The Dudley Riggs interview included a mention of two alumni of his Brave New Workshop: Al Franken and Tom Davis.

ZIP Beep was issued monthly for just under five years. Back issues are availble on the Web. Due to the technology of the times, it had no illustrations -- just text. It was all function, no form (the opposite of many of today's Web sites).

I'm proud of my little contribution to the history of humor. Check it out. Some of the subjects are nearly forgotten (did somebody say Murdered Nuns In El Salvadore?), but others are timeless.