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Clock Ticks For Y2K Magazine

It's usually a bad idea to start a publication knowing it won't last more than 18 months.

But there was no choice for publisher Tim Wilson, whose Y2K News Magazine is devoted to the "millennium bug," the programming problem that may cause some computers to shut down when the year 2000 arrives.

"My banker thinks I'm crazy," said Wilson, based in Crossville, about 100 miles east of Nashville.

His company, The Trades, already puts out monthly publications about golf courses, parks, and resorts.

Y2K News is different. Wilson knows it will have only 36 issues -
one every two weeks until the beginning of 2000.

That's when many computers could fail because they were programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year and will assume that 2000 is really 1900. That could cause major headaches for all kinds of businesses.

Wilson hadn't given the millennium bug any thought until a group of resort owners asked him to write about how it might affect them.

"The deeper I dug, the more I got very worried, and that's how Y2K News was born," Wilson said.

The second issue has news of the government's response to the problem, a report on President Clinton's speech to the National Science Foundation and computer questions for business owners to ask. There's also a technical story explaining how to replace software and rewrite computer codes.

One article offers an "awareness sermon" for churches. Another answers questions about storing food for the coming "crisis."

About 2,000 subscriptions have been sold so far at $19.95 for six months and $37.20 for 12.

He is offering a collector's set of all 36 Y2K News issues for $47.85.

"Everyone wants it from No. 1 on," Wilson said. "Put this thing on the shelf and you can explain to your great-granddaughter: `See what happened with all this craziness back at the turn of the century.'"

By HANNAH WOLFSON