Bob Wallace of Defunct 'Talk' Returns to Wenner Media

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bob Wallace, the former vice president of defunct Talk magazine, has been named editor of Wenner Media's Men's Journal, according to a company spokesman. He replaces Sid Evans, who will leave Wenner.

Mr. Wallace, who will assume the new position on Sept. 4, was a former vice president and executive editor of Wenner's Rolling Stone from 1984 to 1993. At that time, he served as a sort of informal editorial director for the company and is credited with naming the publication that launched in 1992 as Men's Journal. This time around, Mr. Wallace will not have a vice president title or a broader editorial role, said the spokesman.

Neither Mr. Wallace nor Wenner Media Chairman Jann Wenner were available for comment.

Eye to competitors
Mr. Wallace's mission and challenge will be to beef up the general interest side of the outdoorsy Men's Journal so it can compete better against Conde Nast Publications' GQ and Hearst Magazines' Esquire for the higher-demographic, 30- and 40-something reader. Mr. Wenner previously flirted with this strategy for Men's Journal when Mark Bryant, Mr. Evan's predecessor, ran the publication, according to a high ranking editor at another magazine who is familiar with the situation.

With the hiring of Mr. Wallace, Mr. Wenner completes a trifecta at his company's titles, each of which this year got a new editor and a new direction. Bonnie Fuller, who most recently edited Glamour, came to Us Weekly at the end of February, and her highly confected take on a celebrity magazine has resulted in a spike in newsstand sales, according to even those at competing companies.

In June, Ed Needham, who had edited FHM, replaced Wenner veteran Robert Love as Rolling Stone's managing editor -- Mr. Wenner retains the title of editor in chief there -- and his first issue comes out later this month. Mr. Needham was brought on to boost newsstand sales and increase music coverage.

Both he and Mr. Wenner have taken some heat for suggesting articles in Rolling Stone needed to be "shorter and snappier," and at the time of Mr. Needham's hiring, Mr. Wenner took pains in an interview with AdAge.com to tout an upcoming fiction project from Tom Wolfe that would resemble Mr. Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, which had been serialized in the magazine.

Old-school journalism
Observers note that the hiring of Mr. Wallace runs contrary to the other editorial moves Mr. Wenner made this year. Both Mr. Needham and Ms. Fuller were brought on for their commercial instincts as editors. Mr. Wallace's sterling reputation is based on an almost old-school sense of editorial excellence, rather than being keenly attuned to the latest celebrity or pop-cultural buzz.

There have been changes up top at Men's Journal this year. Kevin Martinez replaced Dave Kupiec as its publisher this spring, marking the third publisher for the title in 13 months. And executive editor Jack Wright resigned to run a bar this summer.

Men's Journal ad pages in July were 73.5, up 35% from 2001's 54. GQ's ad pages for the same period were 61.9, down 9% from 2001 and Esquire was 42 pages, down 3% from 2001.

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