Rolling Stone changes publishers again

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Wenner Media's Rolling Stone magazine, in the midst of a redesign and a substantial ad page slump, has tapped its fourth new publisher in two years.

William Schenck, formerly publisher at Wenner's Men's Journal, will replace Ray Chelstowksi, who had held the Rolling Stone publisher post for one year. Schenck became the publisher of Men's Journal in 2005. On his watch, the title saw a 16% year-over-year ad page increase in 2007 and an 11% boost through September of this year.

Rolling Stone's ad pages are down 20% for the period of January to August 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.

“[Schenck] has been a very successful manager at Men's Journal, where, since becoming publisher, he has grown ad pages by 30%,” noted Mark Neschis, corporate communications director, Wenner Media. “He's really done a terrific job, and the thought was to move him over to the flagship brand as we move to launch this reformatted title.”

The employee shift coincides with a reworking of Rolling Stone's design. The traditionally oversized title will debut a new, standard-size look with its October 30 issue. The company says the new format will allow for more editorial pages and extended advertising opportunities, though skeptics are quick to point out that the trim may also be a cost-saving measure.

“The reformatted trim size affords our advertisers even more opportunities to reach a large audience of young readers,” Gary Armstrong, CMO of Wenner Media, explained in a statement. “We're excited to take it to the marketplace.”

Chelstowski is leaving the company to “pursue other opportunities,” according to a company press release.

Rolling Stone has a rate base of 1.45 million (Spring 2008 MRI). Fifty-nine percent of these readers are men, and 87% of readers are between the ages of 18 and 49.

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