CEO Palm plays to audience

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Until recently, the extent of Steve Palm's musical know-how was the piano lessons his mother made him take as a child.

But on a recent trip to San Bernadino, Calif., the new CEO of NewBay Media found himself with a bass strapped around his neck, getting a crash course in how to play from the editors of Bass Player magazine.

While Palm aspires to be more involved in pastimes like music, it was the opportunity to run an integrated media company as its chief executive officer that lured Palm away from his post as VP-group publisher of Scholastic Marketing Partners, a division of Scholastic Inc. Still, he left the Bass Player office knowing a little bit of musical lingo and, more important, with an understanding of the passion he believes will drive the growth of the brands now under his direction.

In addition to such consumer titles as Bass Player and Guitar Player in the music group, NewBay produces books, newsletters, magazines, online properties, events and custom products for the professional audio, video, education and installation industries. The 14 company-owned titles include Government Video, Pro Sound News, Systems Contractor News and Technology & Learning. NewBay, formerly named CMP Entertainment Media, was purchased late last year by Wicks Group of Cos.

Part of Palm's immediate task is to explain the new corporate umbrella but, in doing so, he has found a lot of equity in the titles, which are all profitable.

"It's a great set of assets," Palm said. "My role is chief integration officer—to pull it all together and bring it to market. If we can deliver a solution that has a higher ROI for our advertisers, content that is more credible and trusted than others, we'll get the readers in print, online and to an event. Making sure all those options are hinged upon each other is a big goal."

He plans to immediately add more content to the various Web sites and better link the magazines with the sites to drive people online. One such effort that recently went online,, is a sort of YouTube for musicians and linked to Guitar Player. He also would like to add customized microsites and offer more data to advertisers.

Palm plans to draw on his experiences at Scholastic, where he created an integrated solutions model for customers. Some of his projects included in-school marketing and curriculum programs with the Association of General Contractors, Fujifilm and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"It's about thinking like a customer, thinking how you want to be served and then applying that to every product, magazine and sales call," Palm said. "Traditionally, you went out and made a sales call and explained what your magazine was all about. Now with an integrated solution, you go in and say, 'What's keeping you up at night?'

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