Radar Magazine Folds

Posted by: Jon Fine on December 14, 2005

So much for ambitious pop-culture plays in the magazine space:

Radar magazine is folding.

The November-December issue currently on newsstands will be its last. Staffers were informed of the news late this afternoon.

(When we said yesterday we expected more media layoffs before ‘06, this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind.)

Radar was the brainchild of Maer Roshan, who held high editing positions at New York and Talk magazine (which was shuttered in early 2002). An initial round of funding yielded two “test” issues in 2003 and then he embarked on a long, strange, and well-publicized search for funding. That search included near-misses with parties ranging from Dennis Publishing, owners of Maxim, to mysterious Moroccan heiriess Maria Oufkir.

In October 2004, though, two New York heavyweights—Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman and financier Jeffrey Epstein—who were part of a failed bid to buy New York magazine pledged to ante up around $25 million to launch the title. The magazine published three issues in 2005.

Radar was the subject of so much chatter and coverage within the hothouse of New York media that it risked being the kind of pop-culture artifact you become sick of before you actually see it. (Gawker wrote about it in such volume and with such snark that Roshan arranged for Gawker Media head Nick Denton to be hit in the face with a pie at Radar’s launch party earlier this year.)

It was, actually, a sharp and funny magazine that refreshingly ignored many of the standard settings one sees in current magazines, like obsessions with shopping and product, or pages devoted to lowest-common-denominator service articles. Its Web site managed to break news in the very crowded field of publications that touch on celebrity and pop culture.

Roshan’s title sought to prove that a smart segmentation of a young andurbane audience could work in magazines in a manner akin to how HBO makes it work in TV. That his backers ultimately disagreed will do little to convince a magazine world already hopelessly stuck in “me-too” mode to take chances on novel ideas. But given current business dynamics, that’s at least partly understandable.

Reader Comments

Charles

December 14, 2005 10:01 PM

I'm really stunned, and confused. Radar was as good a pop culture magazine as I've seen in quite a while. If a magazine that well put together wasn't given a chance to keep things going, exactly what kind of new magazine has any chance?? Really, what's the answer?

charles baker

December 14, 2005 11:15 PM

That's bad news for RADAR staff, and awful news for the rest of us. Radar was a brave and ingenious magazine -- the covers didn't look like anything else, and the articles didn't pander to the celeb PR machine, like so many other pop culture magazines do. It was uneven, for sure, but it was always entertaining, and it took chances. What's weird is how quickly it shut down. I decided to subscribe with the Tom Cruise issue, because they had the guts to look at his Scientology beliefs with a sharp eye. Can't believe they pulled the plug after just one more issue.

Jon Fine

December 15, 2005 11:07 AM

Hate to see more proof of this, but there's a wide gap between what's a smart and interesting magazine and what's a commercially successful magazine. To cite just one famous example, The New Yorker, while apparently (slightly) profitable today, lost tens of millions of dollars before righting itself.

What really surprises me is how quickly Mort Zuckerman pulled out. In the past, he's shown incredible patience with magazines that haven't exactly brought joy to the bottom line, be it The Atlantic or US News and World Report.

J

December 15, 2005 11:12 AM

That really sucks.

I think I read just about every word in that magazine, it was great, and I laughed out loud while reading it far more than any other periodical I subscribe to.

Huge Seagull

December 15, 2005 11:48 AM

How is this possible? Radar is one of the very very few magazines I would consider subscribing to (which I did). With so many mediocre magazines littering the newsstands, how could Radar not make a go of it? It really stands out.

I thought celeb gossip was a slam-dunk. (Of course, Radar is so much more than that.) Plus they have that whole hip internet-savvy demographic, right? Don't all magazines lose money in their first couple of years? I am gobsmacked.

Mediavore

December 15, 2005 1:56 PM

Remember Might magazine? The irreverent little title from San Francisco that launched David Eggers' career? It was as smart and arch a pop-culture title as ever existed, but it lasted only a year or two.

beth

December 15, 2005 4:30 PM

is it too far-out-conspiracy-nut of me to wonder if the church of scientology had anything to do with this? i'm sure it is, but still, i wanted to float the idea anyway. maybe the scientologists have dirt on zuckerman.

Elizabeth Manus

December 16, 2005 11:47 AM

Jon Fine,

Your comment about the New Yorker ["To cite just one famous example, The New Yorker, while apparently (slightly) profitable today, lost tens of millions of dollars before righting itself."] makes sense only in short-term history.

My understanding is that the magazine was profitable before the Florios arrived and switched from a subscription model to a circulation model.

name

December 16, 2005 3:39 PM

Roshan can not budget properly...he can not resist spending crazy money on stupid things and then lying about it...Radar was his best chance and he blew it....he could have been smarter about the way he chided certain people, too.

Troy Masters, now publisher of the NYC newspaper GAY CITY NEWS, took him from Interview in the early 90s and gave him a chance at a gay magazine that folded after 52 issues.

It had several very high-profile and heady moments.

When the magazine failed Masters had wanted to convert the magazine into a newspaper but Roshan was too addicted to glossy budgets to accept the idea.

Staffers there described Roshan as messy, dishelved, disorganized and 'totally ADD.' It's no surprise he is where he is.

I was a writer for Roshan at QW, Talk and Radar...he never changed except his platform got bigger and increasingly more expensive.

myra

December 17, 2005 1:15 PM

The minute I heard about about Radar I got a subscription. From the get go I loved it. It reminded me of "Spy" magazine,another cuttting edge mag that eventually folded. I am horified that a good magazine that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator is discarded so quickly. I am glad I had a chance to read it.

christy

December 20, 2005 7:48 PM

I'm so disappointed! Finally a magazine with something smart AND funny to say, and it folds in what? 3 issues? And JANE is still hanging on? Sickening.

phil

December 21, 2005 8:22 PM

just a thought...but i think the magazine was forced to shut down by organizations like the church of scientology and/or landmark education. last month they discussed cruise and the ideas behind scientolgoy..this month's tyra banks vs. landmark education was dead-on. a few days later, the company goes under. i think these organizations will go to any length to keep their brainwashing methods unmarred and out of public eye.

gin

December 27, 2005 12:00 PM

Radar magazine gone? I guess I will have to lock my three issues up in the safe so that one day I can prove to my children that yes, there once was a magazine with intelligence and humor. Grow up hollywood. The world really does not revolve around you.

anon

December 29, 2005 3:25 PM

while i feel sorry for those left unemployed as a result of radar folding, i must say that i gave it a chance on an issue that was supposed to be the most seductive (in my mind, at least)--the first--and was not impressed enough to read the subsequent two issues. honestly, it wasn't that smart or novel in any way--i feel like there are a dozens other magazines saying the same thing in a more engaging manner.

Lenore

January 1, 2006 2:33 AM

Radar was the magazine I had been waiting for after SPY's demise so many years ago. I was so excited to have that type of view back, and it's gone already.

CJP

January 3, 2006 2:33 PM

What a drag! I had just sent in my subscription to Radar after not finding it at my local newsstand, when I read that Radar folded. Radar was smart. Radar was fun. Radar saved me from Scientology! I had just finished my first course with them when I picked up the Tom Cruise cover issue to read on a flight. By the time I landed back in NYC my hair was crawling and I spent hours on line reading the dirt on Scientology and ran for the hills. Thanks to Radar I was saved from the claws of Xenu! I will miss this fun smart mag and I will have to get my copies back from the friends that I lent them to.

D..

January 16, 2006 7:58 PM

THE BEST MAGAZINE...THAT NEVER WAS. LIVING IN L.A. AND BEING SUBJECTED TO HOW LITTLE LINDSEY LOHAN EATS AND HEARING ABOUT IT EVERY DAY IS MAKING ME CRAZY. RADAR ALMOST SAVED ME FORM THE NUT HOUSE. LOOKS LIKE I NOW HAVE TO RE-SCHEDULE MY DR.S APPT. SOMEONE GET THIS MAGAZINE STARTED AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lisa s.

January 18, 2006 1:52 AM

I have read the previous comments and agree that this magazine was one of the best to come along in a while. I read it from cover to cover, it reminded me of SPY which also went out of publication way too soon. I liked it so much, I foisted my Nov/Dec 20005 copy on my friend and now I think I might have to get it back as a collectors item. I just went to Radar's website to subscribe and found out the bad news!!

Surely Serious

January 18, 2006 10:07 AM

RADAR was out-of-touch.


The people who claimed to have enjoyed it likewise. Not that they ever bought it.


As I told Maer, Chris, et al, without any coverage of the people of the videogaming and internet cultures–ie the real celebrities of our day-a magazine like RADAR cannot survive.

Genevieve

January 31, 2006 4:00 PM

I just heard about this. I am really disappointed. I loved this magazine. I sure hope I still have all the issues in my house. I thought the stories were smart and entertaining. It was like looking at a bunch of cool blogs but in a nice magazine format. Totally dissapointed. This was only 1 of 3 mags I made sure to buy. I don't understand how something original like this could fold yet all those stupid Maxim and Stuff magazines are still around. Ps, Gawker is past it's prime, way past.

Becky

February 4, 2006 8:40 PM

I, like a lot of people that have posted here, was just about to send in for my subscription when I found out that it folded. WHY?! It was awesome. The first magazine in a long while that I read cover to cover and couldn't wait for the next issue. Dangit.

David K.

February 7, 2006 2:53 AM

I want my money back! They sent me one issue -- and then -- BUST. Sucks.

Maddie

February 12, 2006 6:08 PM

That makes me so mad. I think it is one of the few magazines that I literally read cover to cover. I bought a subscription too! Now all I have is that cheesy Radar messenger bag to remind me of what is not to be.

vicki

February 15, 2006 9:55 PM

I have a question, for anyone here who knows anything about this . I subscribed to Radar for the 2-yr "special price". I hadn't gotten an issue, so I went to the website, and found that they had stopped publishing. I wrote to the website, asking about a refund, and have not gotten a reply. Any suggestions about why? Pls don't tell me they are going to keep the money I paid for 2 more years, when I only got one issue. Have I learned my lesson? Yes. I also subscribed to "Spy" years ago, and "Talk". Maybe it's my fault!

Coco

February 21, 2006 9:45 PM

What? Why? This was the frist magazine that managed to combine the old Details (before it started to suck) and old Jane. When I was in Africa over Xmas, (in a place with no reading material in sight) everyone in my family read my copy and loved it. Everyone. Any chance they will have a comeback?

Tara

February 22, 2006 3:58 PM

I agree that RADAR was a unique magazine and like many out there I looked forward to many issues to come. What I really find disturbing is that RADAR completely screwed those of us who subscribed early on and never informed us that they were going under and certainly never offered refunds. I too have emailed RADAR at their website concerning this but have not recieved a word from them. It's not about $15. It's about good faith. I only recieved 2 very expensive issues. I have certainly learned my lesson.

Adam

February 26, 2006 7:56 PM

Yep. The best burn brightly and quickly, don't they? I received my trial issue and immediately thought of Spy magazine. That issue will now live with my Spy collection. Let's keep our eyes peeled, kids. Surely there's got to be something this great lurking in the bushes!

Penelope Silletti

March 1, 2006 4:17 PM

I'm also out my subscription money. Have they no shame? Does anyone have any advice?

gina v

March 1, 2006 5:25 PM

JUST F****** GREAT!!!!! the only magazine we have been excited to subscribe to and only rec'd one issue and now it's gone???? WHEN DO I GET MY MONEY BACK??!!!!?!?!?!?!? why is that peice of crap jane or lucky still on the stands?? oh I get it ....society as a whole is getting dumber..

puddles

March 2, 2006 12:44 PM

damn, i'm slow...i just realized they folded because i had been wondering when i'd get the next issue. i also subscribed, but at least i got two issues out of it...still a real bummer though

Hockey

March 6, 2006 10:11 PM

Puddles, same thing happened to me! I was thinking.. huh, maybe I should e-mail them and find out what the *%@# the delay is.

I couldn't believe it either - FOLDED. I guess the only good way of looking at this is.. we all have $5.00 collector items (since the subscription was $15 and they only sent out 3 of them)

* sigh * What a bummer though. It really was a good magazine!

Jon Fine

March 7, 2006 10:33 AM

While Radar itself went out of business, one of its main backers is Mort Zuckerman, who is alive and well and running the New York Daily News, US News and World Report, and a bunch of real estate ventures.

So trying to get a refund via Zuckerman's operation at the Daily News is worth a shot.

Jon

katie

March 8, 2006 10:17 PM

I didn't even get 1 issue after pay my $15.00. I kept waiting and waiting and then like most of you, went to their website and saw that it had not been updated since december....of course they failed to mention they folded...and that I wouldn't get my magazine, or my money back. screw that. It's only $15.00 but its MY $15.00 and I want it back. Just think of all the money these guys made for free.

kristin m.

March 14, 2006 1:16 PM

I'm PISSED! I loved RADAR. The writers are among the best in the country. Especially Dan Radosh. Maybe he can resurrect it.

Lindsey

March 14, 2006 10:18 PM

Bummer. Well, I will cherish my three issues and cross my fingers they become collectors items! Great mag, sad to see it go. I had it on my coffee table forever and I think every person that picked it up tried to steal it.

melodie

March 18, 2006 5:22 PM

RADAR is gone! That was the best magazine ever. When I received my first copy, I scanned the articles, but nothing grabbed me. I started reading and couldn't stop. So refreshingly different from other mags, and now it is gone....sigh.

Maria Velez

March 27, 2006 10:15 AM

that was ONE expensive ISSUE!

Ann

March 28, 2006 7:10 PM

What a horrible pity.

Like many others I used to read SPY magazine, and literaly wept when it disappeared. Upon discovering RADAR I told everyone I knew about it.
It surely would have gained a sizable following if it had been given a chance.

What a waste and a shame.

Oh Radar... you will be missed dreadfully.

Jeff

April 3, 2006 9:07 PM

Good News for people who believe in smart, funny, independent journalism. Gawker is reporting that Radar's editor Maer Roshan about to resurrect the magazine yet again. Nothing official yet, but if anyone can pull this rabbit out of the hat its Maer, who has fought the good fight for over four years. Keep posted. If any magazine deserves to succeeed it's this one.

Dan

April 11, 2006 2:56 PM

I'm not taking the bait for the second time. After I bought a 2 year subscription at a low low price of only $20.00 (yeah right) I received one issue (The "scary" one) and then stupidly waited for the other issue... (maybe it's bimontly I thought.. hell, maybe it's quaterly!)
Anyway, if they want to resurrect the magazine yet once again, I'll subscribe after the magazine has been out for at least 2 years.

Michele

April 16, 2006 12:08 AM

I subscribed to the magazine and got one issue, as many have. I forgot about it over the holidays and the new year, then remembered I subscribed and went to their website, and see NO mention of any folding. You'd think they'd have the decency to admit it there and let us subscribers know what happened. Thank goodness for Google. Found this article so I at least I know I'm screwed out of my money, instead of being left wondering. How can they be allowed to not refund our money? Is it in the fine print I didn't read somewhere?

Francesca

April 18, 2006 4:30 PM

Yeah, I'm in the same club as Michele - got an issue, a tote bag, and then a conventional holiday bought of amnesia. More's the pity cus I thought it was a great read with great covers; kind of like a less gay, more gossipy version of Details (another favourite.) Goes for the jugular a bit more. The website does strangely omit to mention that it's folded; looks kind of like it's being kept in warm storage for the second coming or something. Here's hoping. Especially if my subscriptions still good.

tommy the wonder mule

May 1, 2006 12:29 PM

I found the scary issue on the back seat of my car and wondered why I haven't seen a new issue--forgot all about it. But now they've folded. Has anyone figured how much money you can make off subscriptions by folding? Can someone write a Broadway musical about 2 guys who "produce" a magazine that they intend to get over-invested so they can shut it down and keep the profits? I guess if I were in NY in December I could have run over to the magazine's offices and grabbed a stapler to make up for my $15 subscription...hey! somebody in NY grab me a stapler!!!

Renee in Canada

May 9, 2006 6:11 PM

I've passed around [Scientology issue] this magazine in Toronto and now it has made its way to London, Canada. At my office in Toronto, and with my friends outside the office, this magazine sparked a passionate dialogue about our society. I'm very disappointed that an intelligent approach to pop-culture was pulled of the shelves. I'll have to rely on blogs while the magazine moguls try and get their act together. Sorry to hear that subscribers lost your money-

Roc

June 15, 2006 12:58 PM

I was also pissed about them keeping my subscription money after sending me one issue but this is what I can suggest-----

If you look in the Scary Issue credits section you will find Maer Roshan's phone number. It is not in service but it does give a NEW number and direct email. IF anyone finds out anything (i am still waiting for reply but who knows, maybe if enough people harass him) post it up. Thanks Yall!

JR

June 18, 2006 7:06 PM

What a rip off, I never received a single issue, just a cancelled check. As for Roshan, wonder what he is doing with all of the money he took from "good faith" subscribers.

JR

Angela

July 15, 2006 2:29 AM

This saddens me. I purchased the "scary" issue at an airport and devoured every word of it and told everyone about this wonderful magazine. In fact, I even went to a few places that sold magazines for months afterward to see if they sold it anywhere. It was deliciously entertaining and I hope that they do come back to life like their website allures to.

Todd Schoonover

July 26, 2006 1:57 PM

I paid $25 for a two-year subscription back in November and they cashed the check and sent me the Scary issue. I've been waiting for my next issue and finally went out and found this. We subscribers should get our money back or get an alternate magazine subscription in its place. Bastards.

Jon Fine

July 26, 2006 2:33 PM

Todd (and everyone else who's owed issues of Radar):

Radar is relaunching (go to http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/FineOnMedia/archives/2006/06/radar_magazines.html)and there is a Web site up at www.radaronline.com. That site promises issues in '07, and directs those who've already bought Radar subscriptions to currentsubscriber@radaronline.com.

Jon

carmen

September 3, 2006 12:12 AM

I love Radar and I loved Talk magazine, subscribed to both and never got my money back. They were both very entertaining, I read them from cover to cover. I am a complete magazine whore and make it a point to stop at newstands at least twice a month to peruse the latest and the greatest and nothing pops. I absolutely loved radars premier issue with jlo on the cover and the crazy tom cruise one. But from now on I will buy magazines of this nature on an issue by issue basis. I just found a great little mag out in LA, it is released on a quarter basis, I believe its called the book LA and it had hugh heffner on the cover, I guess I will read that until something better comes along.

John

October 24, 2006 9:59 AM

While I am late in posting this I do want to ad to the comments. I thought I couldn't find the magazine because of the area I live in thus just not available. So sorry when I went on line to investigate and found the news that the publication had folded. Radar was refreshing and bold. The Cruise article was one of the most truthful I have read in a long time. Now in the midst of this election I would love to have Radar comments on the various races. Why, like TV shows, do the good things go by the wayside. Why doesn't a successful publication adopt this format or this magazine and bring it back. One last comment ;there was a need for more marketing of the mag to get it into peoples hands just once...then they would become subscribers right away.

Jane Beck

September 30, 2007 7:21 PM

Radar closing ah its a conspiracy--probably Oprah getting back at them for calling her over rated---which she is--she acts like she invented the talk show-- honey you are not worth 260 million dollars!!!!!

Maer Roshan

October 24, 2008 11:23 PM

As founder and editor of Radar over the past few years, I want to thank you all for your kind and gracious comments about the magazine. The last three years were by no means easy ones, but we have a lot to show for them--15 issues, 250,000 loyal readers and an ASME award nomination for general excellence. We also had a lot of fun producing both the magazine and the website. It's great to hear that our work meant something to you. Thanks on behalf of me and my staff.

As for the subscriptions: As of today, Radar has been purchased by American Media Inc. who will assume all of its assets and liabilities. The new entity has a legal responsibility to fulfill or refund your unserved subscriptions. I have not been given the name of a specific person you can contact there. But I'd suggest by calling CDS, which manages AMI subscriptions, for further information. Their general number is 1800 998 0731. Thanks again for your suppport.

Maer Roshan

Toby

October 29, 2008 11:23 AM

I like Radar ... liked? It was like "Take a Break" in England. Trashy and fun with lots of pictures and little text. Always a pleasure.

Colleen

January 4, 2009 1:03 PM

When I bought the first issue, I became a fan and subscribed. I only got one issue in the mail and then they stopped coming. What a disapointment. I read every word in that magazine. Throughly enjoyed how refreshing the articles and layouts were. Sigh, going to miss that. No other magazine on the market seems to understand us like Radar did.

Glenda Wilson

January 7, 2009 6:04 AM

I also have been a subscriber both times Radar failed. What a shame as it was excellent! I was offered The Star, Men's Fitness or Shape magazine as a substitute to fulfill my subscription. I am totally insulted that AMI would offer me trash as a substitute.

Linda Bees

February 5, 2009 9:03 PM

That's sad...it was my favorite magazine. I read it from cover to cover. And, then fluff like People and Entertainment Weekly stay in business. But, I think there may have been poor advertising with Radar. I never heard of it until I happened to find a copy sitting in a stack of magazines that someone brought to work. I read the whole issue and then went online to order a subscription.

Post a comment

 

About

The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!