How Adweek Survived Wars, Recessions and Advertising’s Ups and Downs

An interview with a founder of Adweek

Editor: Nick Gardner

Jack Thomas and Pen Tudor had an idea. It was 1979, and the advertising industry was emerging from the Mad Men era. Agency consolidation was on the horizon and so, too, was the trade media that covered the industry.

Thomas and Tudor, who worked in the magazine business most of their careers went to Ken Fadner. “They needed somebody to negotiate the deal,” Fadner recalled.

Thomas, Tudor and Fadner bought three regional advertising publications—ANNY (Advertising News of New York), SAM (Serving Advertising in the Midwest) and MAC (Media Agencies Clients, which served the Western U.S.)—and created Adweek.

“Our aim is to offer a unique blend of national and local news to suit the particular interests and special concerns of readers and advertisers in each section of the country,” Tudor said in a statement in the inaugural issue 40 years ago today on Nov. 19, 1979.

Thomas died in 2015 at age 87. Tudor passed away in March at age 89.

Fadner remained an owner into the 1990s and would then go on to create MediaPost. He paid a visit to Adweek’s headquarters in July—which is fittingly now on Madison Avenue—to talk about how the magazine came together, how it was almost lost following the advertising scarcity brought on by the first Gulf War and a recession, and what he thinks of the brand today.

Pen Tudor (r.) with Adweek co-founders Jack Thomas (l.) and Kenneth Fadner in 1990.
Credit: Courtesy of Mark G. Thomas

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