TSAT (#1, Dec. '98/Jan. '99, to #48, Oct./Nov. 2006) was a bimonthly online fanzine devoted to transformation stories. The zine's name was an acronym standing for "Transformation Stories, Art, and Talk." TSAT was of interest to the furry community largely because of (a) the significant percentage of transformation stories which are also furry stories, and (b) the fact that during its lifetime, TSAT appeared eight times on the Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List and was nominated for two Ursa Major Awards.
TSAT was started by Jeffrey M. Mahr. Its first issue bore the cover date December 1998/January 1999, and new issues appeared every two months without fail. Mr. Mahr was aided and abetted by a small group of people, perhaps most notably Andy Hollis. In 2001, Mr. Mahr & co. chose to move on to another project; Infinite Imagination eBooks, a venture in electronic publishing which ultimately proved unsuccessful. TSAT #18, the October/November 2001 issue, was the last one produced under Mahr's auspices.
The departure of Mahr & co. left a hole that was filled by two members of the TSA-Talk mailing list: Michael W. Bard and Quentin 'Cubist' Long. Incoming webmaster Long gave the zine a complete revamp, discarding much of the graphics with which Mr. Mahr had decorated the zine, and streamlining its internal navigation. The first Bard/Long issue of TSAT was #19, the December 2001/January 2002 issue, and that pair of editors, like Mr. Mahr himself, produced new issues every two months without fail.
The zine's popularity may perhaps be gauged by the fact that there was a period of several unbroken months during which any Google search for 'tsat' would, in fact, yield TSAT as the #1 item in the list of results. On 30 Mar 2007, several months after new issues stopped appearing, the zine was #7 on Google's 'hit parade', with #s 1-6 all being related to military hardware called the Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) system; on 29 June 2009, more than three years after the zine's demise, TSAT was the #6 result of a google search for "tsat".
TSAT's final issue was #48 (October/November 2006); editor Long killed the zine because it simply wasn't fun for him any more. For one thing, TSAT's readers almost never provided any feedback. During Long's five years at the editorial helm, it was a rare month indeed during which he received even so much as one email of comment. Secondly, the nigh-absolute lack of feedback from readers was always matched by a corresponding nigh-absolute lack of new submissions from authors. Since TSAT had never yielded anything resembling tangible rewards, the decay (and, eventually, disappearance) of intangible rewards sealed its fate. . As of its final issue, TSAT was responsible for roughly 2 gigabytes of web traffic (comprising more than 50,000 distinct webpages served) every month.