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ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast

hosts: Randy Kindig, Kay Savetz, Brad Arnold
twitter: @AtariPodcast
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May 24, 2017

David Ahl and Betsy Ahl, Creative Computing Magazine
Dave Ahl was the founder and editor-in-chief of Creating Computing Magazine, which was the first personal computer magazine.  Four editors served in the first six years: Dave Ahl, Steve Gray, John Craig, and Ted Nelson. Betsy Staples (now Betsy Ahl) then took over for the rest of its run. Creative Computing was published starting in November 1974, was acquired by Ziff Davis in 1983, and ceased publication in December 1985. 
In addition to Creative Computing, Dave and Betsy published a variety of other magazines including Sync (dedicated to the Timex Sinclair computers), Microsystems, Small Business Computers, and Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games Magazine. They also released a record album -- First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival (1979), a board game called Computer Rage, and software for a variety of platforms under the Creative Computing Software label. Dave was author of BASIC Computer Games, the first million-selling computer book; plus its sequel, more BASIC Computer Games, and many other early computer books.
After Creative Computing, Dave was publisher and Betsy was editor of Atari Explorer magazine for five years and he started Atarian magazine in 1989. Later, he published Military Vehicles magazine. 
This interview took place on April 3 and 4, 2013, when I was doing research for a book about the first personal computer magazines. Although I've decided not to write the book, I am publishing the interviews that I did for them. The other major interview was with Wayne Green: there's a link to that interview in the show notes. 
The first part of the interview took place in the bar at the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon. (There's some ambient background noise and music — remember, this recording was meant to be my notes for a book, so a little background noise wasn't an issue.) The second part of the interview was recorded in my dining room, a much quieter atmosphere.
The day before this was recorded, Dave and Betsy attended a grand opening get-together of tech luminaries at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, Washington. This event is mentioned several times during the interview. 
A full transcript of this interview is available at Also, there are many links to related articles, interviews, and magazine scans in the show notes at
Teaser quote: "When I started Creative Computing, I mean there weren't even personal computers at that point. I was convinced, I guess, that they would come about. I had no idea that it would be three months later that the Altair came about."
Outro music: Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, played on an RCA COSMAC by Joe Welsbecker on the First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival record (1979.)
Transcript of this interview
Scans of Creative Computing at Internet Archive
Full text of 35 issues of Creative Computing at
Best of Creative Computing volume 1, 2, 3
Creative Computing Magazine pages per issue
Scans of Atari Explorer at AtariMania
First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival record
Computer Rage board game
Dave Ahl: Blunders in Personal Computing, talk at VCF East 6.0
My Arthur Leyenberger interview
My Arlan Levitan Interview
My Wayne Green interview
My 2003 written interview with Dave
Dave Tells Ahl: The History of Creative Computing" by John Anderson