CHANGES POSSIBLE IN HEARST TOP RANKS

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As speculation heats up that Hearst Magazines will appoint a new publisher at Good Housekeeping, the names of two Meredith Corp. executives are surfacing: Jerry Kaplan, group publisher at Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal; and Bob Mate, VP-publishing director of a group that includes Country Homes, Golf for Women and Midwest Living.

FRICTION IN HIGH PLACES

Executives close to Ellen Levine, Good Housekeeping's high-profile editor in chief, said there is friction between her and the magazine's publisher for the past eight years, Alan Waxenberg. Mr. Waxenberg, highly respected among Hearst's top ranks, is said to be headed to a corporate job.

One industry executive said that problems have been exacerbated because under Mr. Levine's tenure, circulation is rising steadily but ad pages are declining sharply.

Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black last week denied there's friction between the magazine's top executives: "They have had a wonderful ride together. Ellen is crazy about Alan, and Alan is crazy about Ellen."

Of Messrs. Kaplan and Mate she said, "I don't know them. I haven't talked to anyone...I continue to be very supportive of Alan Waxenberg."

Mr. Mate, former publisher of Woman's Day, denied he's talking to Hearst.

"I've already done the Seven Sisters," he said, referring to the leading women's service titles.

Mr. Kaplan declined comment.

`IT'S NEWS TO ME'

"If I'm heading to a corporate job, it's news to me," Mr. Waxenberg said.

On another front, Ms. Black confirmed Roper Starch Worldwide has been commissioned to study Esquire, but said she has no idea what conclusions the study will reach.

Ms. Black expressed support for Ed Kosner, editor in chief of the troubled men's monthly, which just named Valerie Salembier its new publisher (see Player of the Week, Page 27).

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