As Two-Year Contract Ends for Wenner Media Flagship

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Rolling Stone publisher Steve DeLuca is leaving his post, effective today, in the latest abrupt change to visit a Wenner Media masthead. Although the company described his exit as the result of a “mutual decision” not to renew his two-year contract, the goodwill implied by that assertion was undermined by the suddenness of his departure -- especially with no successor in sight.
Steve DeLuca

Ray Chelstowski, the magazine’s associate publisher, was named acting publisher today by founder Jann Wenner.

A Wenner spokesman declined to elaborate on the company’s statement.

"We had a long protracted contract negotiations starting in December," Mr. DeLuca said. "It’s been long and drawn out and we haven’t been able to see eye to eye on several terms. There were overall differences in terms of money and other issues. Jann felt if we couldn’t see eye to eye that it was best part ways."

Circulation up, advertising slipping
Mr. DeLuca joined Rolling Stone, the title nearest and dearest to company co-founder Jann Wenner, from Conde Nast Publications' Vanity Fair in early 2004. Its average paid circulation totaled 1.3 million during the second half of 2005, up 2.2% from 1.27 million during 2003, before Mr. DeLuca arrived.

But advertiser interest has waxed and waned, particularly as younger readers explore proliferating sources of music news (and downloads). The occasional Paul McCartney cover hasn't helped the magazine's hip quotient, either. Ad pages rose 7.3% during 2004 but slipped 2.8% during 2005, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. January 2006 pages fell 5.6% from January 2005.

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