Bob Guccione's Advice to Rolling Stone
Bob Guccione, Jr. began his career at the age of 18 in the UK where he became Britain's youngest-ever publisher. A year later he returned to America and launched the monthly music magazine, Rock Superstars, making him America's then youngest-ever publisher. In 1985, he launched SPIN, the enormously successful music magazine that usurped Rolling Stone as the dominant pop culture magazine for 18-24 year olds. In 1997, Guccione sold SPIN to Vibe Ventures and in 1998 launched Gear, a young men's lifestyle magazine, which closed in 2003. In October 2005, Guccione completed the acquisition of science magazine, Discover, from Disney and formed Discover Media, LLC. In the two years Guccione ran the title before stepping down as Chairman in December 2007, the magazine returned to profitability. He is now helping launch a new luxury lifestyle magazine in New York called Prestige New York.
Guccione: The first thing is, as he’s experiencing, he has to become more focused and more disciplined in the business because he’s feeling the pinch. But we should all have these problems. The Rolling Stone is still a vastly successful magazine, maybe little less successful this year than last but that’s its only problem. I think Rolling Stone is a very good magazine for its audience. The product itself is less [really] information about pop culture. The product itself is you’re not old yet. That’s what it says to its audience. You know, we all read it as teenagers and young 20s, and now we’re old in our 50s and older readers in their 60s, and in a sense, were being sold the sort of delusion that we’re not older, we’re still somehow as vital as we were in our 20s. I don’t care about that, so that’s a product that [doesn’t] an appeal to me. I’m quite happy being who I am in my 50s. But, I think, to a lot of boomers, it’s a sort of fountain of youth. Having said that, by the way, I have nothing but respect for it editorially. It’s an excellent journalism, still some of the best journalism. So Jann doesn’t need much advice on how to run Rolling Stone. The web, again, I think, you have to say, what is this audience? Aging baby boomers. People clinging to middle age ‘cause it makes them sound younger than they are. That’s how old the audience of Rolling Stone is now. That’s how we readers are. What do we really want? You know, I mean, I don’t think we really want to go and hang out outside MTV, you know, and watch stars go in. I think, probably we want to know where rare albums are. I always thought that they should’ve brought one of those great English magazines that archive old music, you know. It gets to a point in your life, you go, “You know, there’s a great album I heard in ‘97, I can’t remember what it was. And I want to get that.” Maybe that’s a whole avenue for them. But Jann doesn’t need much help.
Bob Guccione, Jr. says Jann Wenner doesn't need much advice, but here's some.