Mr. Hicklin, who is expected to meet with Out's staff today and starts his new job April 24, fills a position that has been empty since October, when Brendan Lemon left after five years as editor in chief.
"With his stellar track record, we are excited that Aaron is stepping into this position to lead the team at Out," said Joe Landry, VP-publisher, Out. "Aaron will play a key role in the continued success of Out and capturing the next generation of readers."
Time of change
Out and sibling publications like The Advocate are facing a time of change on several fronts. They have been operating under new management since their parent company, LPI Media, was acquired by PlanetOut in November for about $32 million. Last month Judy Weider, a longtime guiding figure at LPI, left her position as exec VP-editorial director. And more broadly, they face growing competition from the rise of new gay platforms like Viacom's Logo network and increased gay content in "mainstream" media.
Out reported an average paid circulation of 127,994 during the second half of 2005, up 9.3% from 119,374 during the equivalent period the year before, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its ad pages held essentially flat last year, slipping 0.7% to 796.8, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.
Before Blackbook, Mr. Hicklin spent five years working at Gear magazine, the now-defunct pop-culture book for men founded by Bob Guccione Jr., and was previously features editor at Scotland on Sunday, a Scottish newspaper.