Saturday, September 23, 2023

Russell Barnard

Pampa High School Class of 1956



Russell Barnard attended Yale University where he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering in 1960. He was hired by Sinclair Oil Company as a Design Engineer at their Chicago research and development center. While working at Sinclair, he also attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.


He married Helen Pullman (Vassar College, BA; University of Chicago, MA) in 1961.


In 1963 he was transferred to New York City as Assistant to the President of Sinclair Research.


Barnard moved to the Columbia Records Division of CBS in 1964, where he held several executive positions including Vice President, Marketing Services.


He left CBS in 1970 to start his own venture capital consulting business, Killion, Barnard & Oettinger, with two partners. Among his consulting clients during the subsequent three decades have been magazines such as Rolling Stone, McCalls, Psychology Today, Mother Earth News, American Health and Working Woman, as well as media corporations like CBS, ABC, American Family Publishers, American Express and Marketing Corporation of America.


Barnard started his own magazine, Country Music, in 1972. Country Music quickly established itself as the most respected and influential publication in its field. Today, in its 25th Anniversary year with 600,000 circulations, it is the world's largest music-only magazine. Barnard is Editor & Publisher of Country Music and President and principal owner of Silver Eagle Publishers, the parent company.


In 1984, Barnard founded the Country Music Society of America (CMSA) to give serious fans a vehicle through which they could communicate with each other and make their collective opinions known to the performers and music business executives whose endeavors they support. The CMSA publishes a newsletter for its members and professionals in the field. Members may buy tapes, CDs, videos, books and the like through the CMSA at substantial discounts. The CMSA now has over 200,000 members, making it the largest consumer interest association in the entertainment and communications field. Barnard is president of the CMSA.


Following the success of the CMSA, Barnard started The American Academy for the Preservation of Old-Time Country Music to support research and criticism on the early history of country music and the folk music from which it evolved. The Academy publishes The Journal, a periodical which disseminates results of its historical research through articles, interviews and archival photographs and illustrations to its members, to the academic community and to the media. The Academy also publishes books, such as The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Country Music and The Illustrated History of Country Music. Barnard is Executive Director of the Academy and his wife, Helen, is Executive Editor of the Journal.


In 1972, in addition to launching Country Music, Barnard was named President of Harper's Magazine Company and Publisher of Harper's, America's oldest monthly, founded in 1850. During Bamard's four-year tenure, Harper's enjoyed its first profitable year since 1932, won the National Magazine Award and published the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.


After leaving Harper's in 1976, Barnard was named Vice President for Development for Hearst Magazines, publishers of many magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics and Harper's Bazaar.


After three years at Hearst, Barnard decided to devote his efforts exclusively to Country Music and his consulting business. At that time, Country Music's circulation was around 250,000. Within three years of his assuming full-time management, circulation had nearly doubled and, during the ensuing years, continued its steady growth to 600,000.


In 1983, after a career as a teacher and administrator in New York City private schools, Bamard's wife Helen joined Country Music as a Senior Editor. In 1988 they moved both their home and their business from New York City to nearby Westport, Connecticut.


They have three children: Anne (Yale 1992), born in 1970, is a newspaper reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer. John (Yale 1996), born 1974, is an advertising copywriter in San Francisco. Christopher (Yale 1999), born 1977, is a student in New Haven.


Barnard moved to Pampa in 1951 with his late parents, Raymond and Hildreth, and his younger sister, Ardis (PHS 1962). His father was one of the first Celanese supervisory employees brought to Pampa during the planning and construction of the Pamcel Plant.


Many interesting turns in Barnard's career were strongly influenced by three Pampa High teachers. Leah Lamb, biology, taught him to aim higher. Elaine Ledbetter, chemistry, taught him to believe he could do anything. And Elizabeth Hurley, Little Harvester, taught him how to write a good news lead.


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