Brady's Bunch

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Never heard of Sync magazine? Well, you will. It's just seven issues and a year old, already boosted its rate base to 250,000 and goes monthly in October. Ziff Davis Media owns it and the editor is a wonderful throwback named Tony Romando, who has a mad scientist hairdo (he cuts it himself, having taken up barbering during five years in the Navy), and a background at Rolling Stone, Jane, Men's Fitness and God knows where else. Tony and old pro Publisher Bob Lee (Gear) and marketing whiz Janet Oak lunched me at Michael's. Sync sold 325 ad pages in its first year and, says Lee, "is growing by leaps and bounds. We want it to become a household name." But what is the damned thing? "It's about gadgets and lifestyle," says Tony. "I'm not a tech guy. We have tech guys." And they're smart. They make Tony or the experts available to TV. "We go on `Today,' MSNBC, CNBC and tell the audience what's new, what's good. We have actual readers road-test the stuff for us. And we give away gadgets (using a professional sweepstakes firm to handle). We give away a computer, a $35,000 car. Next month we're giving away 250 things. It's kind of the poor man's `Oprah.' We don't ask advertisers for freebies; we have a slush fund to buy the gadgets and ad agencies know our worth and they give us a break. Our edit ratio is better than most magazines, 80 pages per issue." They're 80% subs and Aug. 9 they'll give Barnes & Noble a one-week early newsstand exclusive on that issue. But about the Navy? Tony enlisted at 17, later went to the U. of Illinois, but in uniform flew as the "tail gunner" in a four-man electronic spook plane. "We didn't really have guns, our pilots all hated it and wanted to be top guns, I read magazines in the back, and nothing worked very well except the elevating chairs. We had races to see whose chair rose fastest."

Cottage Living opens its summer "idea home" in Bridgehampton June 30. The press party is July 14 (which the French think is Bastille Day).

Susan Magrino's NY-based PR agency was named by the Blackstone Group to oversee public relations for their recently acquired Boca Hospitality Collection properties in N.Y. and Florida.

The first special issue of Elle Accessories, their latest spinoff, hits the newsstands Aug. 30. Kelly Killoren Bensimon is editor.

Also Hachette, Ellen Abramowitz was named publisher of their new lifestyle mag For Me. It targets women in their 20s and 30s. She was once publisher of Seventeen and of Teen.

Chris Meigher, one of the canniest circulation guys Time Inc. ever had (he helped launch People), lifts a page from the Fairchild model. His Quest mag this August will spin off Q, a sleek, oversized fashion edition, selling for five bucks and initially distributed with the August Quest to their circ of 75,000. About 35 years ago Fairchild spun off W from its WWD with both booming ever since.

Hollywood may remake Hemingway's Spanish Civil War novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls." In the Gary Cooper role as dynamiter "Robert Jordan," they're talking Leonardo DiCaprio. Angelina Jolie next as "Maria"?

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