A Fourth Owner for Los Angeles Magazine

Emmis Communications hands off quartet of publications to Hour Media Group LLC

The urban monthly magazines acquired by Hour Media Group LLC from Emmis Communications were all started the same decade: Los Angeles and Atlanta magazines kicked off in 1961, while Cincinnati debuted in 1967. And it was a decade and a half later that the West Coast publication and jewel in the crown of this deal, which also includes Orange Coast magazine, really hit its business stride.

By 1977, Los Angeles magazine had its second outside owner, ABC, and an April issue that would turn into much more. The cover shot of Farrah Fawcett was later tapped for a full-size poster of the actress, becoming her second all-time bestseller. From Los Angeles magazine co-founder Geoff Miller’s colorful look back:

In the early `70s, under [first owner] Seth Baker’s urging, we pioneered the use of celebrity covers—for better or worse. No one else was doing them on any regular basis, except for fan magazines. (People and the revived Vanity Fair were yet to launch.) I initially opposed the idea, fearing it would make the magazine look too “Hollywood,” but we found a technique to make it work by portraying the celebs humorously—and as fellow residents.

For one cover, we had shot a newly famous Fawcett in a variety of swimsuit poses, including one semi-salacious take of her down on all fours, looking provocatively at the viewer. With trepidation, I went over the shots with Farrah, sure that she would angrily veto that pose. To my amazement, she blurted out, “That’s the shot!” We went with it, and to no one’s surprise, it turned into a newsstand sensation.

During the first few years of ABC ownership, Los Angeles fended off a well-funded challenge from Clay Felker’s New West magazine and ballooned to issues that sometimes topped 600 pages. A far cry from the the modest beginnings of the publication, launched on Rodeo Drive by Miller with advertising executive David Brown before that street similarly ballooned.

Image courtesy: Los Angeles magazine