Archive for December, 2021


Grazia USA: The Most Notable Launch of 2021. The Mr. Magazine™ Conversation With Dylan Howard, Chairman, CEO & Publisher…

December 30, 2021

We live in a digital led environment so our company slogan is ‘stories matter, especially how they are told,’…” Dylan Howard, Chairman and CEO, Pantheon Media

That is the biggest challenge, to constantly bear the cutting edge of how best to tell stories whilst also remembering that there is something beautiful about print…” Dylan Howard

If you told me early in 2021 that someone would launch a print magazine with 400 pages and lots of advertising, I would have told you that you are out of your mind. Bringing Grazia to the U.S.A. is not only an act of faith and belief in the way print can be handled successfully, it is an experience unlike any on the market today combining both quality content, gorgeous photography, and above all a touch of class.

A much needed infusion to the world of magazines in general and the fashion magazine sector in particular. It was not a hard decision for me to choose Grazia USA as the most notable launch of 2021 because it rose to the top of the 122 titles launched that year exactly like the foam rises to the top of an excellent espresso.

To learn more about Grazia USA’s launch, I reached out to Dylan Howard, Chairman, CEO of Grazia USA’s parent company Pantheon Media Group and we engaged in a Mr. Magazine™ conversation about the story behind the launch of the magazine and his role in bringing it to the United States.

Mr. Howard was quick to point out that the launch of Grazia USA was a team effort led by media and business folks he assembled from leading media entities including The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast, Tatler AsiaWWD, Reuters, Men’s Journal, Meredith, IAC, Cheddar, News Corp., Refinery29, and a360 Media.

Dylan Howard, Chairman& CEO, Pantheon Media Group

So, here’s my lightly edited casual conversation with Dylan Howard, Chairman & CEO, Pantheon Media Group publisher of Grazia USA:

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: As the publisher of Grazia USA, the most notable launch of 2021, can you please tell me how you were able to bring into the market in this day and age, an almost 400 page magazine, loaded with advertising among other things…

Dylan Howard: Samir, when COVID hit America, I had a lot to consider about what my next step was going to be, and I decided that I wanted to start another media company and I wasn’t content with it being an independent small player. I wanted to bring to America brands that have flourished internationally but have not reached these shores. And in putting together on the back of an envelope, some brands, one of the first brands that came to mind was Grazia, because close to 20 years ago, I actually wrote for Grazia when it was a weekly magazine in Australia, which is where I am from. So I opened discussions with Mondadori Media in Italy, and it had been Mondadori’s dream to launch a United States version of their flagship fashion and luxury property and just never found the right partner. In me fortuitously, they saw someone who was prepared to actually back it, someone who has an entrepreneurial flair, someone who has gladly no fashion sense, I leave that to the editors, and someone who was prepared to innovate on the brand. 

That innovation has meant more to digital covers, so we launched Kim Kardashian in October of 2020 as our first digital cover in the United States, then in February for New York Fashion Week we did three more digital covers which featured Elizabeth Olsen, Keke Palmer, and supermodel Kate Bosworth, and then in between that and the launch of our September issue, we published seven Grazia Gazettes, which is a first of its kind newspaper/luxury magazine-type publication- five here in the Hamptons, one in Art Basel in Miami, and one for New York Fashion Week, and that allowed us to create a sense of establishment in the industry. Next will be the Rodeo Drive edition in January. People immediately recognized the Grazia name, and they saw that we were doing things differently, and that led obviously up to our September issue, our fall issue, which as you said is almost 400 pages. I personally believe it is one of the best products in the marketplace, in the category. I believe that its editorial is stronger than its competitive set, and that is a tribute to the editor in chief David Thielebeule and Casey Brennan the executive editor, and many others (In fact Mr. Howard mentioned almost everyone who worked on the launch of the magazine), and I think that there is some hype around it. Again you mentioned almost 400 pages, loaded with advertising, content in my view, best in class, and three print runs. We had three separate covers. So this is a commitment to fashion, a commitment to luxury. This is not me saying I want to get back in the industry. This is charting a new course and establishing Grazia for the future because our audience is younger than everyone else. 50 percent of our readers are age 18-34 and you don’t find that anywhere in publishing today. 

SH: The publishing model, you are distributing some as a control circulation, you have the newsstand, you have subscriptions, Grazia is known as a weekly, tell me more about your business model.

D.H.: So Grazia is just one of the tenets in my business, we have near on twenty brands now. We have the digital version of OK magazine, Radar. We did three start up brands. Front Page Detectives which actually picks up on the 1920s pulp magazines- so we relaunched that as a digital website. We have a Royals website. We have a female inspiration website. This year we will announce, we have How it WorksHistory of WarAll About Space, and we are going to announce another 4 or 5 print productions that will launch in 2022. But for Grazia, it is our flagship, we will do four issues per year. We will continue with The Grazia Gazette newspaper which I refer to as the traveling newspaper. We go where people are, much attended events, is where you will find The Grazia Gazette like Art Basel in Miami. We will continue to do our digital covers, but we have a commitment to printGrazia worldwide is in various shapes and forms, as you pointed out, it is a weekly in some countries. In other countries, it is a monthly. In Australia and here in the United States, it is a quarterly, which allows us the time and resources required to put out a publication that is best in class. Instead of flooding the market with more of the same, we can take a considered approach to what it is we are publishing. Likewise, that enables us to work closely with our advertisers to ensure that we are capturing what it is that they want to market and when they want to market. I think we would all agree that the industry is flooded with product and it is not necessarily the highest quality product because of the frequency in which they print. 

S.H.: Did anyone tell you when you came up with the idea that you are going to launch Grazia in the U.S., are you losing it? Are you out of your mind?

D. H.: I’ll tell you about The Grazia Gazette, I mean, I’ve never published a newspaper. I’ve worked at newspapers before. I was sitting on a couch one night and I said what if we were to create a 56 page luxury newspaper and distribute it to 40k households in the Hamptons in 2021 and I called my Chief Operating Officer, Melissa Cronin, who joined me from A360 Media, and she said, this is a brilliant idea, and within days, we were in production. So, I’m sure people like to say behind my back, he’s crazy. They don’t necessarily say it to my face, but I tell you what there is a sense of pride and accomplishment when my editorial staff and my business staff are able to put together a publication like this and for me as a CEO to be able to see that my investment in hiring the best of the best has paid off. So for example, our Global Brands Officer is Brendan Monaghan, who has a strong lineage across the media industry from The New York Times to Vogueand GQ, Tanya Amini who comes from Conde Nast, W Magazine, our CFO Andrew Lee is a 22 year veteran of Conde Nast. Melissa Cronin who is the ying to my yang, a brilliant, insightful smart strategist, she is the COO and president of the company. Also, Casey Brennan who has worked with me for ten years and as I mentioned our editor in chief David Thielebeule who joined us from The Wall Street Journal, and many others. We also had Kevin Sessums as an editor at large. He was the former executive editor of Interview magazine and a host of other contributing editors. It’s interesting before I was a very hands-on content guy in my past role. With this I’m not, I’ve had to take a back seat which is a little different and a little discomforting at times, but when we put out the three issues and we see that a market is reacting the way it has, I could not be more proud of my staff.

S.H.: If you are going to look back at those one and a half years, what do you consider, the most pleasurable, the AHA moment, the I’ve made it…

D.H.: I don’t subscribe to the notion that you’ve ever made it. You are only as good as the last issue and the challenge is on us to produce an issue for March that will again set us apart from the competitive set. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon for our businessWhile those other publications will age out of the category in my opinion, I hope and I believe, and Mondadori also believes that Grazia will be the last one standing. In order for that to occur, we need to continue to invest in fashion and luxury and we need to continue to invest in the product. So whilst 2021 was great and we had enormous success and we are all very proud of what we are able to put out, 2022 is only a few days away and we are looking at a very strong line up already of products that we will distribute to the marketplace whether it be a quarterly, the newspaper, or other news formats to tell stories. We are just really excited about it. To be able to bring a brand that is 83 years young to the United States, with a legacy that it has from Italy to London to France to Germany and now in 21 other countries, is truly passing on the baton to us and we have to do our founding editors proud and I think we did with the launch of the first issue.

S.H.: I remember when Didier Guerin came from France trying to launch Elle magazine in the U.S., the naysayers said this will never work…

D.H.: I think it was the great Theodore Roosevelt who said something that has just sat with me about publishing. Theodore Roosevelt in his speech, The Man in the Arena, he said, “It is not the critique who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spins himself in a worthy cause, the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  And that hangs in my office here (in the Hamptons)  and hangs in my office in Manhattan as well.

S.H.: You are the man in the arena. What’s the biggest challenge that’s facing you? 

The biggest challenge is continually innovating. We live in a digital led environment so our company slogan is “stories matter, especially how they are told” It is constantly innovating, looking for the next method or model in which to be able to showcase content, be it through the intersection of QR codes in a magazine pointing back to video, creating premium podcasts that can traverse the United States into Europe and other areas. That is the biggest challenge, to constantly bear the cutting edge of how best to tell stories whilst also remembering that there is something beautiful about print. I think our model of doing a quarterly with a brand offshoot as The Grazia Gazette is not only industry leading, it’s a sign of what should happen moving forward for the industry to sustain itself. 

S.H.: I have to ask you since you were an editorial person, a reporter, a writer, you name it, is there part of your brain that misses that now that you are a CEO and you have to deal with the business side and ensure the business is working and the money is coming in…

D.H.: I am far too busy focused on what is next than I am meddling in what others are achieving with their work, and the premiere issue is tantamount to that. I wasn’t involved in the issue. Our COO and President Melissa Cronin, who I mentioned, was. From a business side, she and Brendan Monaghan lead it. I’m far too busy looking for what the next move for the company is and we have some big things lined up ready to announce in 2022.

S.H.: Before I ask my typical last question, is there anything else I failed to ask you, anything else you’d like to add?

D.H.: No, just that I’ve always viewed myself as a historian and I think I told you this previously of media, I always like to understand the masthead, its history, the people involved, and I think that those that believe the industry is at the crossroads need to sit back and analyze how to continue to operate in this climate. I believe the future lies in topic specific or knowledge based journalism. In order to do that, instead of cutting costs, maybe we need to be a little bit less frugal about that in order to create a product to introduce to customer so that we can convert them into ongoing customers and repeat customers. I would implore others in the industry to do that because the industry cannot survive with few, it has to survive with many. 

S.H.: My typical last question, what keeps you up at night these days?

D.H.: The next deal keeps me up at night.

S.H.: Thank you…

Editor’s Note: To read Tony Silber’s interview with me, for MediaPost’s Publishers Daily, about the magazine launches of 2021 including the launch of the year, the relaunch of the year, and the reinvention of the year please click here.


Alan Katz Heads To The Mountains…Seven Questions With The Mountains’ Founder & CEO. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

December 21, 2021

With The Mountains, we’re bringing world-class photography and service journalism to an audience that has “decentralized luxury” and is tricky for advertisers to reach.” Alan Katz, Founder and CEO, The Mountains.

Then in my adult life, I gave the Hamptons a shot, but it wasn’t my vibe. Pun intended, I just thought it was so much cooler in the mountains!” Alan Katz

What can a “dynamic, highly connected sales and marketing executive with over 20 years experience driving growth and developing new businesses and brand extensions across diverse media platforms — from print to digital to e-commerce,” do next? Well, for the man who held top executive jobs in the magazine media world for almost a quarter century, there is nothing else to do but head to The Mountains, (pun intended). Alan Katz, the former publisher of Cargo, Vanity Fair, Interview, and New York magazines, and the former CEO of AKA Media and Chief Revenue Officer of DuJour Media, is ready to be his own boss and ready to launch a new venture called, you guessed it, The Mountains: the magazine that tags itself as the magazine “from to the Catskills to the Berkshires.”

I had the opportunity to ask Alan seven questions regarding his new venture, so without any further ado, here is the Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Alan Katz, Founder and CEO, The Mountains.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni:  The late Steve Florio once described entrepreneurs launching magazines as “terribly naive about what it takes to make a magazine successful,” yet he was kind enough to call this group of future publishers “the romantics.”  As a former Condé Nast executive and publisher, do you consider the entrepreneurial launch of your new magazine The Mountains a romantic affair or a genuine new media business?

Alan Katz, Founder and CEO, The Mountains

Alan Katz: Both. Steve hired me in 2003 to launch Cargo, a terrific men’s magazine. It was both a romantic notion and a genuine new media business–as is The Mountains.  

To me, the word “mountains” itself is romantic; it’s what my parents called the Catskills back in the day. A magical oasis from the big city, where you could find fantastical hotels and retreats.

I chose the name both for its nostalgia and because it’s so relevant to our mission: to be the exciting new resource for the residents, weekenders and visitors of the region from the Catskills to the Berkshires. What’s more romantic than that? We all LOVE this region. It’s gorgeous, bucolic, adventure-filled, rooted in community.

But make no mistake…this is a genuine business. The region is BOOMING—4 of the top 10 zip codes in the U.S. with the biggest growth in net migration 2019 to 2020 were in our geography. Real estate and new businesses are off the charts. The pandemic fueled a “rebalancing” between cities and more rural areas that was already underway. The result is a more sophisticated audience not being served by the existing media in the area. 

With The Mountains, we’re bringing world-class photography and service journalism to an audience that has “decentralized luxury” and is tricky for advertisers to reach. 

S.H.:  How do you approach the launch of The Mountains as opposed to the launch of Cargo?

A.K.: Back to Steve, he famously said at my first team meeting, “There’s nothing like a Condé Nast launch,” and in 2003 he was so right!

The main difference is fundraising. We’ve chosen to seek investment from strategic partners who care about the community and want to support fantastic writers and creative talent that will help bring this region to life, uncover hidden gems and inspire new discovery. 

S.H.:  What is the genesis of The Mountains?

A.K.: I’ve always loved the area. In my childhood, I experienced it all: a bungalow colony, sleepaway camp and fine hotels, all in the Catskills. I even had my prom at Grossinger’s. From “A Walk on the Moon” to “Dirty Dancing: to “Meatballs” (and these day, “The Marvelous Ms Maisel”), I’ve enjoyed it all!!

Then in my adult life, I gave the Hamptons a shot, but it wasn’t my vibe. Pun intended, I just thought it was so much cooler in the mountains! 

So after 25 years as a weekender and homeowner in Columbia County, traveling  around the Catskills and Berkshires and randomly seeing the various media, I was often left wanting more. More original photography. More insightful writing. More useful advice. I’d worked at New York MagazineCargoVanity FairAndy Warhol’s Interview and DuJour, to name a few. My standards were understandably high, but I believed someone should attempt to deliver the best for the market. Then one day, I finally realized that person should be me.

S.H.:  You are launching both in print and digital, what is the plan?

A.K.: Yes, the plan is to launch with both seasonal print and daily digital in Spring 2022. This is a market that doesn’t have the best digital or cable service. It’s a thing. Hopefully that will improve, but until then, a high-quality magazine is what business owners and consumers want and need. They like to lean back and enjoy great writing and cool finds. Print has a certain credibility and luxury, plus it’s power outage-proof!

Our readers come to the mountains to be disconnected, yet want to stay connected, so we’ll fill in the timely facts with daily digital, email newsletters, social media and future video series and podcasts.

S.H.:  Tell me about the team working with you and the goals you expect to achieve prior to the Spring 2022 launch.

A.K.: We’ve hit the ground running with super-talented and connected editors, writers, designers, sellers, marketers and financial folks. They have deep roots in the community and have worked at some of the best brand in the business such as; New York MagazineUS Weekly,Vanity Fair, Apple, AirbnbArchitectural Digest, 1stdibs, Complex, Travel & LeisureDepartures and The New Yorker.

Prior to 2022 we are building the team and the content strategy, uncovering the fun facts and relationships that will enhance our platforms. And seeking advertising support from local and national businesses, brands and service providers, as well as financial and strategic investment partners.

I’m thrilled to say, both are going exceedingly well!

S.H.:  Anything else you’d like to add…

A.K.: I can’t express how much fun this has been, and how welcoming and collaborative the community has been. Everyone says it’s a long time coming, and appreciates our bringing the counties together under The Mountains moniker. Some of our first advertisers are signing on for 2-year schedules!

S.H.:  My typical final question, what keeps you up at night these days?

A.K.: What keeps me up at night these days is two kids in college, one just starting her first great job and the uncertainty of this global pandemic.

As per The Mountains, every aspect of the business tends to keep me up–my mind is racing with new ideas and ways to improve the media landscape for our audience and marketing partners. I mean it. Let’s go!!

S.H.: Thank you and good luck.


Music & Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I Book. Chapter 12, Part 4.

December 14, 2021

Music and Entertainment Magazines … is the 12th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 12 part four.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In March 1953 magazines that covered music and entertainment offered a great service to fans by providing current gossip of their favorite actors, singers, heartthrobs, many song lyrics and melodies, plus other pertinent information for people clamoring to be in-the-know. 

We have to remember that at this time, television was still in its infancy, basically still a “talking piece of furniture” that many were trying to adjust to and get to know. And while TV Guide was published in April 1953, and was a very big title, it did have regional predecessors that covered the infant television scene before the launch of the national edition on April 3, 1953. 

Music and entertainment magazines were the eyes and ears for fans, doing what the Internet and television does today for many people. In March 1953 there was a “channel” for every aspect of a fan’s interest, from honing their own musicality by learning lyrics to their favorite songs to enhancing their knowledge of popular movies and their stars. Magazines were the Internet of the times once again…and March 1953 had some of the best.

Let’s take a look, shall we?


As one of the first American film magazines, Photoplay knew its spot was at the top. It was founded way back in 1911 in Chicago and for the most part was published by Macfadden Publications. In 1921, the magazine created the first significant movie award and became worthy of its tagline: America’s Largest-Selling Movie Magazine. Unfortunately, the title folded in 1980. 

The March 1953 issue had the lovely Jane Powell on its cover and an article by James Dougherty, a former Los Angeles police detective, entitled Marilyn Monroe Was My Wife, which she was for four years when she was still Norma Jean Baker and not the iconic sex symbol that she became. The issue also announced its Gold Medal Award Winners and was filled with a plethora of images of stars famous during that time. It was and is a very enchanting issue.


Photoplay was one of the first American film fan magazines. Photoplay Annual was a yearly edition that offered color portraits of famous movie stars of the times. The 1953 issue was complete with Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Tony Curtis and many, many others. For most of its existence, Photoplay was published by Bernarr Macfadden. The 1953 issue gave us pictures of famous weddings of the year, divorces, and births. It was a must-have for fans.


Prevue, the pocket size movie review, was published monthly by Madison Publishing Company, Inc. in Atlanta, GA with the editorial, advertising, and executive offices in Carmel, NY. The magazine promised its readers that  “every month, from January through December, you’ll be up on every major movie to be released plus exclusive features on what the stars are doing…thinking…wearing.”  Stephan L. Saunders was the publisher and Barbara Reingold was the managing editor.

The March 1953 issue featured Cyd Charisse on the front cover and Shelley Winters on the back cover.  The cover line was “The Taste of Fame, by Rita Gam,” and the inside of the magazine was divided into two sections, Prevue Presents and Prevue Previews.  Needless to say there was no movie magazine in 1953 without the obligatory picture of Marilyn Monroe who was the Pin Up of the Month in that issue.


This magazine was another title published by Charlton Publications, known for its song lyrics publications, (as we saw with Hit Parader) and also its comic books published under the Charlton Comics umbrella. It had its own distribution company called Capital Distribution. 

The March 1953 issue was another reflector of great music of the times, with lyrics to songs like A Stolen Waltz and My Baby’s Coming Home. On the cover was the inimitable Danny Kaye and showcased the titles to the many different songs that’s lyrics lived upon its pages. 


Bernarr Macfadden had a hand in this early entertainment magazine – you know it was television’s infancy when Radio got top billing. Macfadden Publications published this title on a monthly basis and offered an inside look at radio, TV, and records. It had some full-color features and lots of articles about the “people on the air.”

The March 1953 monthly had Julius La Rosa and Lu Ann Simms on the cover, two singers who appeared on Arthur Godfrey and His Friends regularly. There were stories about some local New York stations and many extras that fans found interesting, I’m sure, such as a story about Art Linkletter written by his son and why Patti Page was so lucky.


A Dell publication, Screen Stories brought yet more Hollywood entertainment information to life, with articles about all your 1950s favorites, from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Ann Miller. The magazine joined Dell’s other titles, such as Modern Screenand Who’s Who In Hollywood. The March 1953 issue featured the wholesome Jane Powell on the cover as everyone’s favorite Small Town Girl and offered 21 other stories and features. Great title with lots of celebrity information.

To be continued…


Quick: The Innovative Magazine That Fleur Cowles, Of Flair’s Fame, Left Behind. From The Mr. Magazine™ Vault… Part 1.

December 9, 2021
Quick magazine Vol. 1, No. 6, June 27, 1949. From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

If you mention Fleur Cowles’ name, Flair magazine will immediately come to mind.  The artsy, short lived (Feb. 1950 to Jan. 1951), and probably ahead of its time magazine, that Ms. Cowles edited and became famous for, is still the talk of the town when people refer to her journalistic history. In an interview in Vanity Fair magazine, she refers to a hardbound set of the original Flair magazine as her obit. She is quoted saying, “people ask me, if you could read your obit, what would it say? My answer is that I would like it to be about Flair.”

However, there was no mention in the entire in-depth interview with Ms. Cowles about another magazine she launched before Flair.  The magazine that she left behind (although some believed she was the brainchild behind it) was a newsweekly that was modeled in size after the mini devotional magazines published in that era like Daily Word (since 1924), The Upper Room (since 1934) and Our Daily Bread (since 1938), and set the stage for what so to be called “pocket” mass distributed magazines.  

Flair magazine Vol. 1, No. 1, Feb. 1950. From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

She and her third husband Gardner (Mike) Cowles launched Quick magazine in 1949. It was a weekly that dealt with people, pictures, and predictions. The magazine was 4 X 6 in size, small enough to fit in a man’s shirt pocket or a woman’s purse.  Ms. Cowles was the associate editor of the magazine and her husband was the editor, the same roles they had at the more famous Cowles publication LookQuick’s concept was to give its readers “all the news and inside information you need to be well informed; its predictions will tell you of events to come. Carry it in your pocket or your purse – and read it wherever you are.”

The first few issues of the magazine, starting with the May 23, 1949 issue, were tested locally in New York City. The gradual national launch started with Vol. 1, Number 6 in June of 1949. It continued to grow until it reached national circulation with its July 18, 1949 issue. This is why the magazine celebrated its first anniversary with the the July 17, 1950 issue.

Quick magazine Vol. 1, No.9 , July 18, 1949. From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

The editors of Quick wrote in the first anniversary issue, “Just one year ago this week we launched Quick across the nation. At the time, we didn’t know how you would accept it.  But the growth has been strong, rapid and continuous – greater than anybody had dared to hope for.  We started that week, a year ago, with about 290,000 copies.  Now, Quick is selling nearly 900,000 every week.”

Quick magazine Vol. 3, No. 3, July 17, 1950. From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

They go on to describe the content of Quick, “Each issue of Quick contains 11,000 words, giving the most significant aspects of the biggest and latest news in 27 fields of current interest.  There are about 100 photographs in each issue – the best news and feature photographs available in the world.”

As for the idea behind the launch of Quick, the editors go on to say, “Quick gives you a short, clear, easy-to-read summary of the week’s news – just what you need to keep you informed.  We want to make Quick your most useful magazine by so editing it that you will absorb the news you need in the shortest possible time.  We know your time is valuable.”  Sounds like the Mr. Magazine’s™ tagline, “more information in less time and less space.”

But alas, like the famous song says, “only the good die young,” Quick died shortly before it celebrated its fourth anniversary.  The last issue of Quick under Cowles was published on June 1, 1953.  Editor Gardner Cowles wrote addressing the readers of Quick, “This is the last issue of Quick.  Despite the fact that 1,300,000 people have been buying and enjoying this unique news magazine, publishing costs continued to exceed revenues.”

Quick magazine Vol. 8, No. 22, June 1, 1953. From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

He added, “A good many advertisers found that Quick, used ingeniously, produced good results.  Too many other advertisers felt that the small page-size was too much of a handicap.  Without a substantial volume of advertising Quick could not continue as a quality news magazine. So we decided to merge Quick with Look, and thus preserve many of the news weekly ‘s most popular features.  These will be in Look, beginning with June 30 issue – on sale June 16.”

Look magazine Vol. 17, No. 13, June 30, 1953. (To give you an idea of the difference in size between Quick and Look magazines, I shot a picture of Quick on top of Look for illustration purposes). From Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s collection.

However, in its four years span, Quick magazine was innovative on many fronts in content, advertising, marketing and sponsorships. In future blogs I will address those innovations one at a time, and later will write about the return of Quick under another famous publishing figure from that era.

So stay tuned, there is much more to be written about Quick magazine… 


InPickleball Magazine: Celebrating & Enforcing The Joy Of the Game. A Q&A With, The Man Behind The Magazine, Richard Porter.

December 7, 2021

From the CEO of a media company who launched a new magazine with a 9.2 million circulation to president of media sales at a national media group of the largest magazine media company in the world, to the launch of an ultra-niche new magazine,  Richard Porter has done it all and he is not done yet.

From the CEO of the Publishing Group of America (PGA) to the President of media sales for the Meredith Corp., Mr. Porter’s new venture is In Pickleball, a lifestyle publication that reinforces the joy of the game.  A game that is seeing both an uptake in its practitioners and devotees.

I had the chance to ask him a few questions about this latest launch and he was gracious enough to answer them.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni:  In a nutshell, tell me what is In Pickleball ?  When was it started and how often it is going to be published? Why now and why it is necessary, sufficient and relevant in today’s marketplace?

Richard Porter:  InPickleball launched this summer.   Our third issue will be in market next week.  This is a “media brand” launch that includes a magazine, a website, social media, video, and ultimately ecommerce.  The magazine will be published 10x a year.  Subscription prices are being tested from $24.99 per year to $39.99 per year.  We are testing a variety of sources for circulation — we will be on newsstands in Barnes & Nobel, will test FSIs and Direct Mail, also Facebook ads and other sources/locations where active pickleball players congregate (local clubs, resorts, tournaments, etc).    InPickleball is designed as a lifestyle publication — it reinforces the joy of the game — attributes of pickleball include:

* Social —  usually four people play together.

* Accessible —  The game is easy for all generations to learn — and be pretty good! — quickly compared to other sports.  

* Inclusive not Exclusive — unlike tennis or golf, pickleball really allows all kinds of people from all socioecomic strata, to play together.

* High Engagement/High Passion — but NOT divisive.  Pickleball players are typically on a spectrum from AVID to OBSESSED….people love it! So engagement is high, but content is not divisive (so much of our media/social content today is “hot takes” or “left vs. right” stuff, we feel GREAT about how pickleball is happy for all! — if I was a preacher, I would say this game is good for America and the world!  Social, healthy, fun, accessible, inexpensive…. nice attributes to bring us all together.

Richard Porter

S.H.:  Your background is in big magazine media companies and launches in the millions, how is this launch different from your previous ventures?  

R.P.: I have led a media company with only 50 employees, and worked in executive positions in companies of thousands.  One difference in today’s market, sadly, is the amount of great magazine talent that can’t find a place in the diminished staffing of larger magazine companies.   That has been a wonderful opportunity for InPickleball to hire freelancers, contract workers…the gig economy.  So we were able to launch a beautiful products with a team of top-credentialed people — backgrounds from Entertainment Weekly, The NY Times, The New Yorker, and many other top brands are represented in our ranks.    My very first job was at Ziff-Davis Publishing — at special interest sports magazines like Fly Fisherman, Backpacker, Sport Diver, Adventure Travel, Ski X-C…..I also spent some time at Rodale (Runner’s World, Bicycling).   So while I am known in many quarters for working at some of the largest magazine brands — Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, Meredith Corp — my training was in titles that share some characteristics with InPickleballvertical, how-to, passionate, active participants for example.

S.H.:  Who is the audience of In Pickleball and how do you plan to reach them?

R.P.: The audience for InPickleball magazine is active pickleball enthusiasts.  It’s the fastest growing sport in the country, so finding pickleball players to become readers will get easier for us every day!  There are “hot beds” of pickleball — California, Texas, Utah, Florida, Minnesota to name a few states….and within those states, there are certain cities/towns that really over-index.  Resorts like Marriott is ripping out tennis courts that are not being used by their guests, and replacing them with pickleball.  Retirement communities are now often built with pickleball courts.  There are many local clubs of players who have organized themselves (in Connecticut, one group built courts on the train station parking lot, as the lot was empty due to the pandemic!   Today — about half of all pickleball players are over 50 years old, typically affluent, high HHI.   But the sport is growing fast with younger people —  at least 28 colleges have club teams; it’s becoming a varsity sport at high schools.  The game was originated by three dads in 1965 for their kids to play, the whole family can play.

S.H.:  What are some of the obstacles, if any,  facing you with this venture and how do you plan to overcome them?

R.P.: Obstacles are plenty for any start-up business.  And maybe more so for media businesses.  And even more so for a magazine in 2021.   It isn’t for the faint of heart.  In the case of our magazine, the approach is to rely on the reader, not so much the advertiser, for revenue — as you know “secular decline” has found its way to magazines.  The pickleball market today is fragmented when it comes to media voices, many small ones — nobody has yet become the “megaphone” for the marketThat’s our objective.  To earn robust subscription revenue, which is critical, from readers — we have bet on quality.  I mentioned the great credentials already.  Look at a copy and you will also see and feel the quality — 60 lb paper stock, very white (not gray or yellow) that really holds saturated inks to make the graphics and photos pop!  Cover stock is 100 lb matte UV — we think of the sport as a tactile experience, and an aspirational one (people want to improve of course) so the magazine resonates that too — it’s a great tactile experience.  

S.H.:  Some say we don’t have a print problem, we have a business model problem in the magazine media industry, what do you think?  What is the role of print in today’s media landscape?  What is the future of print?

R.P.: I think we do have a print problem, not just a business model problem.  The business model can be really attractive actually — recurring revenue, first party data, quality content, subscriptions….streaming services have this model, and it’s  a good one.   But lowering quality to lower price and hope you sell enough ad pages to cover it, well, that’s just not a good idea.  Part of the print problem is simple:  Today, many ad agencies have great expertise in digital, video, social, data, etc. — ten years ago the leaders at those agencies had great print experience and passion for the medium.  Finding those knowledgeable advocates …. well, there are fewer of them, so the advertising decline can be a spiral….fewer resources evaluating/recommending the medium will lead to fewer magazines, leading to fewer resources, and around we go….

S.H.:  Anything else you’d like to add before my typical last question?

R.P.:  Well … sure!   I am very proud to have led two teams that won Launch of the Year honors from you!  Relish and Spry.  My goal?  I want to win a third time, Samir!!   InPickleball has a chance to be a really magical ride….I liken myself to an old rocker who was sitting around with his acoustic guitar, quietly writing his own songs, not recording or performing….and then, got together with some other really strong players….put together a band…and…whoosh!  Maybe we have some great new tunes that people will love, and we do an album, hit the road supporting it.     It’s a fun vision!

S.H.:  What keeps Richard up at night?

R.P.: What keeps me up at night?  I am pretty reliant on “to do” lists …. I try to write my list before I hit the pillow, so I can rest at ease knowing my path is charted for the next day.   If I have a day where I forget to make that list, or just don’t do it, I often wake in the middle of the night thinking about something I need to do.   I often then text or email myself that reminder, and go back to sleep…or try to…..I am an advocate of the podcast — one earbud in, the other ear on the pillow.   If I really cannot sleep, I will learn about ecommerce, or sports, or history….or sometimes the droning voices will put me to sleep, so that’s great too!

Thank you so much for your interest.  Cannot wait for Issue 2 to be in your hands….as I said it’s a tactile experience that you will love.  And with a pickleball player already in your family, you have a new reader at the ready for us! Cheers…

S.H.: LOL and Thank you.


“Print Magazines, Not Money” & 27 Other Reasons For The Power Print In Bitcoin Magazine…

December 6, 2021

The relaunched Bitcoin magazine (Fall 2021) published a team letter from the publisher celebrating the necessity of print and why print is needed today more than ever. I rarely reprint someone’s else work, but in this case I am going to make an exception and reprint some of Bitcoin magazine’s the power of print reasons… Enjoy.

You can read the entire reasons for the power of print by clicking on the image below, but here are three of my favorites:

“Every revolution had a magazine.” Mike Germano

“Like proof of work, a paper magazine inextricably links a negatively digital innovation with the physical world, supporting a technology built with humanity in mine.” David Zel

“With the print magazine, all the worlds most important stories on bitcoin can be held in your hand and in your possession. Unhampered and uncensored by the internet.” Will Heckman

And what is good for Bitcoin magazine in print is good for the majority of the magazines out there. So, head to the nearest newsstand or bookstore and pick up a magazine or two and feel the power of print in your hands…


From Content Providers To Experience Makers In Seven Easy Steps… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

December 3, 2021

Almost every magazine and magazine media company today has a Chief Content Officer and Chief Revenue Officer.  I think those media companies need to have a Chief Experience Maker instead.  Don’t misunderstand me, content is important. I will venture to say revenue is even more important.  However, if you are in, and plan to stay in, the magazine media business, you will need to, without delay, appoint a Chief Experience Maker.

Magazines have always been experience makers. Take a look at some of the titles of the “mini pocket magazines” of the 1950s. Experience making at its best. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

What role does the Chief Experience Maker play?  Here are my seven steps to change from a content provider to an experience maker:

Step 1:  Know your audience. Let me be clear: really know your audience.  We live in the digital age; that means the audience data is at your fingertips.  Study the data, make it priority number one.  Find out everything and anything about the audience your brand is going to engage with and carry on a long-lasting relationship.  Audience first means your audience is your customers. Customers always want to be heard, whether right or wrong, so study and analyze the data. Experience makers are matchmakers.

Step 2:  Humanize your magazine media brand.  Your brand needs to be much more than ink on paper or pixels on a screen.  Your brand needs to be humanized, i.e., having the magic touch that changes the brand to a living breathing human being.  If your brand is a human being, who will it be?  What type of person will it be?  Determine the voice, the values, and the vision that person has in mind.  People engage with people.  It will make the experience much easier to start, continue and last for a good amount of time.

Step 3:  Create and curate habitual addictive content that is edited, vetted, and presented in a time and energy saving manner.  This is where the editor, a good editor, is needed to combine the creation with the curation. As I always advise my clients and anyone else who is willing to listen, “If your audience can find the information on Google, that piece of information does not belong in your magazine media.”

Step 4:  Focus on what I call the MVP of the magazine media business:  meet and exceed the audience expectation, validate all the information, and preview the near future to them.  Achieving that expectation through the creating and curating will help you take a step in the right direction of becoming an experience maker.

Step 5:  Make sure that your content is relevant to the audience, necessary to the audience, and on top of it all, sufficient to the audience.  Your audience should not need another brand or platform to finish, fulfill, or lose themselves in that experience.  No one would enjoy a movie if you keep asking them every few minutes to change from theater 1 to theater 3 and then back to 1 or 4.

Step 6:  Once the aforementioned steps are secured, you can start with step 6:  Dating your audience.  No relationship or experience exists in vacuum, and in order to start an experience or a relationship, you need to think about it as if you are dating.  Start with one date, then another, and once the relationship develops, you are ready now for your engagement, and long-lasting partnership.  The experience making is just starting.

Step 7:  What is an experience without a dash of luck?  Well, you always need that dash of luck in any relationship and in any experience.  So, here’s some good luck wishes to you and yours. We look forward to a great magazine media experience making business that only the Chief Experience Maker can deliver.  Are you ready?  

So, what are you waiting for?  Go for it, you can easily be the Chief Experience Maker.  Good luck!

Questions or comments, feel free to reach out to Mr. Magazine™ at

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