THE BELL TOLLS: Talk about a tough day for the magazine industry Friday, with Radar and 02138 — two marginal but ambitious titles — announcing their ends, and twice-yearly Elle Accessories going on hiatus.
The never-say-die print edition of Radar, which relaunched for yet a third time promising to fill an already well-served niche of “pop culture for smart people” (as it explained on a recent cover) lost the confidence of its investors, private equity firm Integrity Multimedia Co. Editor in chief Maer Roshan told the New York Observer Friday, “You’re dealing with independent investors and they saw the market and they were fearful about the future.” When Radar relaunched in mid-2006, IMC’s Yusef Jackson publicly promised five years of funding, though perhaps Roshan had learned to take that with a grain of salt after his first two rounds.
Radar isn’t totally gone, however. The Web site, radaronline.com, which had functioned as a daily news and gossip blog and always seemed the more vibrant entity, will live on in a different form, under a partnership with debt-laden American Media Inc., probably as a TMZ-like celebrity site. David Perel, who ran the National Enquirer and had the title of executive vice president of AMI News, will be in charge, and by press time it appeared that none of the roughly half-dozen full-time staffers on Radar’s current Web site would be retained. All magazine employees, estimated by a staffer to be about 16 on the editorial and art departments, were dismissed, and Roshan was thought to be among them. He did not return messages on Friday, nor did Perel.
Radar’s circulation was not released in the Audit Bureau of Circulations reports, nor were its ad pages tracked by the Publishers’ Information Bureau. But the title was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence this year, for circulation between 100,000 and 250,000. Roshan said in his editor’s letter in the 96-page October/November issue that the Web site was attracting more than a million unique visitors and five million page views every month. According to Nielsen Online, the most recent figures for September showed Radar Online garnering approximately 1.1 million unique visitors and 2.1 million page views.
Radar’s planned Halloween party at the new club Citrine is still on for Thursday. According to a spokeswoman, “The theme will still be ‘Vampires and Victims,’ but with an oh-so-appropriate ‘funeral’ spin.”
As for 02138, the Harvard-themed magazine originally launched by David Bradley’s Atlantic Media in 2006 and sold earlier this year to Manhattan Media, it had been staffing up for a relaunch in December under the oversight of editorial director David Blum. In a statement, chief executive officer Tom Allon wrote, “While Manhattan Media, and its financial backer, Isis Venture Partners, are committed to long-term growth capital, the funds needed to execute our strategic vision would by necessity have grown significantly and beyond the company’s risk/return profile.”
Then there’s Elle Accessories, which was headed by Elle fashion news editor Anne Slowey, and is being seriously scaled back, with four freelancers who worked on it being let go, according to a source at the company. There is talk of waiting out the recession and returning for a fall 2009 issue (if the economic downturn is over by then), although a spokeswoman for Hachette Filipacchi could not answer questions by press time. Slowey, of course, also has a TV gig on the new reality show “Stylista.”
— Irin Carmon
COMING TO AMERICA: European designers are choosing U.S. locales such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami over places closer to home to shoot their spring campaigns. While in New York for Chanel’s Mobile Art exhibition and for Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars, Karl Lagerfeld had plans to shoot campaigns for Fendi and Chanel. Last week, Steven Meisel shot Lanvin in New York and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin also were in town for Givenchy. Liya Kebede and Raquel Zimmerman, the faces for Lanvin for fall, will not be back for spring.
It’s said van Lamsweerde and Matadin also shot Yves Saint Laurent in Los Angeles with a very “California theme” a few weeks ago, but a spokeswoman said the shoot hasn’t been confirmed. Up next: Versace will head to Los Angeles in early November for its ad campaign, to be shot by Mario Testino, and Gucci is rumored to be in Miami this week. As one insider put it, the U.S. may be the popular spot for ad campaigns this season because places such as Los Angeles and Miami have the best light and weather this time of year. Meanwhile, a few others wondered if Barack Obama’s talk of change is exciting Europeans to shoot in the U.S. Or maybe it’s just less expensive.
— Amy Wicks