EXCLUSIVE: For Its 110th Year, Popular Mechanics Will Embrace YouTube

When the announcement was made a few days ago that Hearst magazines is creating a pair of 2012 YouTube channels, FishbowlLA couldn’t help but notice the name Popular Mechanics. Founded in 1902, the publication will provide content for an automotive-themed channel alongside Hearst mates Car and Driver and Road & Track.

While spinning off the current Popular Mechanics feature “Jay Leno’s Garage” for YouTube seems like a no-brainer, Hearst men’s enthusiast group editorial director James Meigs (pictured) says that idea has yet to be broached. However, given that the magazine was, even back in Thomas Edison‘s day, dedicated to the coverage of cutting-edge technology, automotive and otherwise, he confirms there will definitely be some sort of historical component.

“The channel will be launching towards the middle of next year,” Meigs explains via telephone. “It’s an ambitious schedule with a whole range of distinct programming. It will be branded Car & Driver Television, but we’ll be tapping into the resources of all three participating magazines.”

“You’ll be seeing some of the talent that is in our Popular Mechanics pages, but we’ll also be casting for hosts and others,” he continues. “We’re not going to try to run all of this out of our editorial offices.” Popular Mechanics has a sales office in Santa Monica, but is based on the east coast; Road & Track, meanwhile, is headquartered in Newport Beach. Since June of 2011, Meigs has been responsible for the editorial and content development of all three upcoming automotive channel participants.

The YouTube channel will come two years after Popular Mechanics introduced a monthly iPad version. Previously, Meigs helped launch Entertainment Weekly and was vp/editor-in-chief of Premiere from 1996 through 2000, working at the latter end with everyone from Anne Thompson to Kim Masters. He says the PM website currently receives about three million unique visitors per month.