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.

One comment

  1. Hi, just noticed, and picked up summer 2022 (Premiere issue). Well done. And one particular kudo: most spot-on, accurate and excellent restaurant review (The Old Mill) I’ve read in years. I’ve experienced so many of the things referenced in the review, all the way to Ginny’s parting comments to diners “come back soon!” I better start getting there earlier than usual!

    PS — I’ve done some writing for various ski/skier blogs & websites ( 12 years as ski instructor at Stratton & Butternut). Would you be interested in a piece about how to find the best ski instructors when there’s not enough of them around?

    Sincerely, John Gelb/ jtgelb54@gmail.com

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