944 Is Hotter Than Six Degrees

944 Magazine944 MAGAZINE will launch two more editions in Detroit and Atlanta in October.  The owner, 944 Media, already publishes editions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and Orange County, CA.

As part of the expansion, 944 said it will cease publication of monthly culture and style magazine SIX DEGREES, which the company acquired this spring.  Six Degrees published editions in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Las Vegas.  The company was earlier this month ranked 768 on INC magazine’s annual 5000 list of the fastest-growing, privately held companies in the US, making it the second fastest growing magazine publisher.

Martine Bury, martine@944.com, is the group editor-in-chief and the website is at http://www.944.com.

Port City Life Will Become Maine Magazine

Port City Life magazinePORT CITY LIFE, a Portland, ME-focused lifestyle magazine, will be repositioned as a regional state-wide magazine titled MAINE.

The 112-page glossy will publish 10 times annually and the September issue will be wrapped with sister publication MAINE HOME & DESIGN and be sent to former Port City Life subscribers and be available at more than 900 newsstands state-wide.

Maine magazinePublisher Kevin Thomas of Thomas Reid Publishing is also the owner of Maine Home & Design, which launched in 2006.  He says Maine’s content is different from any other regional state magazines, and will tell a “fresher, trendier, more modern story.”

Susan Grisanti Kelley is editor and the website is at http://www.themainemag.com.

Birmingham Regional Magazines to Duke It Out

B METRO BIRMINGHAM LIVING is the somewhat awkward title for a new magazine debuting in November.

Birmingham magazineIt is a regional magazine for the city and surrounds by the former editor-in-chief of the existing BIRMINGHAM magazine.  When asked about his new love, Joe O’Donnell told a local newspaper: “We are developing a magazine and web presence that reaches out to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, to create a space online and in print that gathers in the nuances of the community by sharing its many fascinating voices.  We’ll be publishing great writers and photographers, columnists, bloggers and everyday people who have something to say, information to share and insights into the richness and excitement of life in this seven-county region.  People, food, houses, things to do, places to go, trends in life and business, we’ll be interested in it all.”

It will be published by O’Donnell’s new company, Fergus Publishing.

The Stirring Tale of the Coffee Stirrers

The death watch is on.

It’s not only the blogosphere and the twitterati; even the MSM and the New York Post are watching – and commenting on – every cost-chopping move consultants from McKinsey & Co are making inside publisher Conde Nast.

The Topic of the Century this week was the Case of the Vanishing Coffee Stirrers.

The savings!

According to inside sources, who prefer to remain anonymous because of the sensitive subject, the entire 4 Times Square building is now stirrer-less.  The plight of the deprived VOGUE* and VANITY FAIR* staffers created a tremendous response among the bloggers.  Help poured in from everywhere and ranged from “bring a spoon” and “pour in the milk first” to the possible contributions of Brownian motion.

Alas, the company must have saved enough on the coffee stirrers that the Conde Nast death watchers were relieved to hear that Anna Wintour of VOGUE* will not have to tighten her belt during her usual autumn trek to London, Paris and Milan for the fashion extravaganzas.  According to NYPost.com, “Wintour’s European entourage, which is usually about 10 people including her creative director, fashion director, several top stylists, European market editor, beauty editor and Publisher Tom Florio, is estimated to cost the company close to $250,000 in travel expenses.”

Too bad The Horse’s plain black coffee is already stirrer-less.

Medical Trade Magazines Sold

One of the magazines, 24x7CLINICAL LAB PRODUCTS , HEARING REVIEW, IMAGING ECONOMICS and 24X7 magazines are among a group of trade titles, mostly in the medical field, that have been acquired by Kansas City, MO-based Anthem Media Group (KANSAS CITY HOME DESIGN, SPEEDWAY ILLUSTRATED, MIDWEST CEO) from Ascend Media.  With the new titles, CEO Brian Weaver estimates that his company will produce nearly 6 million total printed copies annually.

Venerable Magazine Gets New Editor to Go with Its New Editorial Positioning

Saturday Evening PostSATURDAY EVENING POST recently returned to its general interest roots from having spent the last 38 years as primarily a health and medicine title.

Now, Joan SerVaas, CEO and publisher, announced this week that Stephen George has joined the magazine as editor-in-chief.  “His diverse experience in creating great editorial at some of the nation’s leading general interest magazines is exactly what we need as we continue to re-brand the Post.”

George joins the Post from BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS, where he served as deputy editor from 2002 to 2009.  He has also held editorial positions at PREVENTION, MEN’S HEALTH and READER’S DIGEST.

Patrick Perry, who has served as the Post’s editor-in-chief for 31 years, will become director of development and executive editor of The Saturday Evening Post Society.  This is the nonprofit organization that oversees the magazine’s rich archives of fiction, art and editorial content.

Competitive Business Magazine and Business Website Hang Out Together

The Economist logoStaff members of the US edition of the London-based magazine THE ECONOMIST and the Conde Nast website Portfolio.com might want to watch their words in the office elevator and other public spaces.

In an unusual arrangement, the two competitive business venues will be located in the same building, 750 Third Avenue, this coming spring.  The Economist Group will be subleasing 62,000 square feet of space from Advanced Magazine Publishers, a Conde Nast division, and who owns the former PORTFOLIO magazine’s website, already located in the building.

The Economist is currently located at 111 West 57th Street and will make the move in the second quarter of 2010.

“The Best Type of Bankruptcy to Be In”

Reader's Digest AssociationReader’s Digest Association (RDA), the publisher of READER’S DIGEST, EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY and PURPOSE DRIVEN CONNECTION, declared Monday that it expects to file a pre-packaged Chapter 11 petition for its US business within the next 30 days.

RDA CEO Mary Brenner tried to put a positive spin on the situation in her press release by declaring that the company’s voluntary, pre-arranged Chapter 11 filing is “the best type of bankruptcy to be in.”  She also pointed out that no mass layoffs or salary cuts are planned.

However, there is not much positive to be seen elsewhere, especially for owner Ripplewood Holdings, the private equity firm which acquired RDA in 2007 for $1.6 billion.  Most likely it will lose its entire investment as ownership of the company is passed to the debt holders, which include Bank of America, JP Morgan and GE Capital.  Nor will RDA’s board members be laughing with joy as they will all resign – except CEO Brenner.  Furthermore, the ratings agency Standard & Poor lowered RDA’s corporate credit rating to its lowest rung, a D.

It’s a bleak situation for a company, which once sold 17 million copies of its flagship title each month and made multi-millionaires of its founders, DeWitt and Lila Wallace.

To understand how RDA slid down the financial slope, read Folio: magazine’s article “For Publishing Companies and Their Suppliers, a Surge in Bankruptcies.”  It is a great financial recap of the last couple of years in the magazine publishing business.

Is There Really Room for One More Bridal Magazine?

Get Married coverGET MARRIED will launch into the bridalsphere in October.  The publisher, Get Married Media, hopes that its connections with its website and Lifetime Television program will make the magazine “the most comprehensive and integrated wedding resource” as its press release portends.

The title bills itself as “the new shopping and trend guide for the savvy bride” and will provide expert wedding advice, ideas on décor, health and beauty tips, and wedding fashion coverage.  The tablescape on each front cover “will challenge top industry professionals to transform the latest colors, products and styles into an incredibly inspiring design – one that brides could recreate,” says said Stacie Francombe, founder and president of Get Married Media.  “As a focal point of the wedding reception, the tablescape reflects a bride’s personal style and sets the mood for the party.”

Former skirt! Magazine editor Stephanie Davis, Stephanie.Davis@GetMarried.com, is executive editor.  Frequency will initially be two times per year with a nationwide circulation of 300,000.

The Wooden Horse Round-Up

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CALIFORNIA COAST & OCEAN will cease publication with the September issue…

WOMEN’S HEALTH is raising rate base again.  The Rodale title will go from 1.35 million to 1.5 million, starting with its January/February 2010 issue.  Its total paid circulation has increased 30% in 2009, compared to the same period last year…

EAST WEST, the lifestyle magazine for the celebration of Eastern culture, is relaunching and is celebrating with a cover design contest for the October/November issue.  Submissions must be original artwork interpreting the meaning of East West and the merging of cultures.  The winning design will be featured on the cover, along with a profile of the winner in the magazine.  For details go to EastWestMagazine.com…

JCK MAGAZINE, one of the few Reed Business Information titles that won’t be sold, has been transferred to sister division, Reed Exhibitions, which already produces the JCK Show in Las Vegas…

SPECIALTY PHARMACY is a new quarterly magazine covering chronic medical conditions.  The magazine offers information on the treatment of HIV and AIDS, cancer, arthritis and other conditions.  Rob Eder, reder@lf.com, is editor-in-chief…

GOLF INC, the magazine for golf course owners, operators and executives, went online-only after its May/June issue at http://www.golfincmagazine.com and will continue to provide details on marketing, development, sales, finances and maintenance….

TechLINKS will cease publication of its magazine at the end of 2009…

VIBE, the defunct music magazine, and its website vibe.com have been acquired by Uptown Media Group, in a partnership with private equity firm InterMedia Partners and Blackrock Digital.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  The print edition will relaunch with a November/December issue and will publish quarterly in 2010.