Alpha Media Throws Its First Party

At Which Kent Brownridge Switches the Editor Place Cards

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NEW YORK ( -- As you might expect for a company that's recently changed hands, things can be a bit uncomfortable these days at Alpha Media Group, as Dennis Publishing is now known since its sale last week. Days after Alpha's new owners shut down Stuff magazine and let its publisher go the company took the opportunity at an "It's Official!" staff party yesterday afternoon to announce a new editor for Maxim -- and, although it went unsaid, the departure of the popular old one.
Alpha Media Group CEO Kent Brownridge
Alpha Media Group CEO Kent Brownridge

"It's great to see the whole company in one place," said Kent Brownridge, Alpha's CEO, in a 5 p.m. toast at the Cellar Bar downstairs in the Bryant Park Hotel. "And a very impressive group, I might say."

'Tough months'
The sixteen months in which Mr. Brownridge and his equity backers, Quadrangle Capital Partners, made three runs at buying Dennis were difficult for staff, he acknowledged. "I toast all of you," he said, "for hanging in during some tough months."

Then he announced that one of his first moves was to raid Wenner Media (where he was Jann Wenner's longtime No. 2 until January 2006) to name James Kaminsky the editorial director of Alpha's Maxim, effective Sept. 17. Mr. Kaminsky is editor of Men's Journal, where he told his staff the news yesterday; at Maxim, he succeeds Jimmy Jellinek, who was told he would no longer be editing Maxim immediately before the party. (And so understandably, he did not attend the event.)

The crowd of Alpha staffers applauded the news, although their momentary hesitation suggested that some weren't happy to see Mr. Jellinek go.

At the bar later, a few gentlemen debated whether to get shots. "I thought we weren't allowed," someone said. "Just beer and wine." Maxim men might normally go for broke in that situation, but like we said, everything's a little weird for now while the new regime settles in. Best not to overstep too soon, they decided.
James Kaminsky
James Kaminsky

Former Stuff staffers on hand
In addition to Maxim Publisher Rob Gregory, who excused himself before Mr. Brownridge's announcement to be with his team when the news came, the crowd included Doug Turner, Kelly Rae and those other former Stuff employees that found new roles within Alpha. A Quadrangle representative was present as well, although most were elsewhere, perhaps doing what private-equity types do in late August -- something to do with boats, we imagine.

For his part, Mr. Kaminsky's departure from Men's Journal sets the magazine's revolving door spinning again. He had only been at the helm, under Editor in Chief Mr. Wenner, since February 2007, following brief stays by Tom Foster and before him Michael Caruso. A Wenner spokesman said today that no successor has been identified.

Before Men's Journal, Mr. Kaminsky had held posts including editorial director of Playboy, executive editor of Maxim and deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone, another Wenner property.
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