Rolling Stone Magazine Will Be Put Up for Sale
After 50 years, Jann Wenner is ready to let someone else publish Rolling Stone.Music News Rolling Stone
After 50 years of serving as America’s first source for coverage of popular music, Rolling Stone Magazine will be put up for sale, according to a report in the New York Times.
The magazine was founded in 1967 by 21-year-old Jann Wenner and critic Ralph Gleason, and it quickly pulled off the neat trick of becoming as famous as the rock stars it put on its cover. Along the way it introduced the world to a new generation of cultural critics like Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and David Fricke. But it struggled in recent years to maintain a foothold in the digital marketplace, expanding its coverage into areas like movies and television, and attempting to strike a balance between focusing on younger pop acts and the aging legacy artists that first attracted its core audience of Baby Boomers. As print advertising revenue fell, so did newsstand sales.
Under Wenner, Rolling Stone has never been shy about its liberal political ideology, often excelling as much in glowing coverage of Democratic icons like Barack Obama as in its scorching criticism of Republicans like George W. Bush and Donald Trump. In 2010, the magazine’s expose on Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, in which he was recorded excoriating Obama, led to the end of his career. But in 2014, the magazine was dealt a severe blow when it botched and ultimately retracted a feature story about an alleged rape on the campus of the University of Virginia. After it was revealed that the primary source for the story had fabricated her account of the unproven assault, Wenner Media faced several damaging lawsuits and a serious dent in its credibility.
Wenner Media has been in sell mode for a while now. In addition to other recent financial maneuvers, in March it sold its two other magazines, Men’s Journal and US Weekly, to David Pecker’s American Media company. Pecker, the longtime publisher of supermarket tabloids like the National Enquirer and a vocal supporter of Trump, is now a candidate to purchase Rolling Stone as well.
According to the Times, Wenner will now put his company’s controlling stake in Rolling Stone on the market, and said he hopes to remain with the magazine in some capacity. The sale will be overseen by his son, 27-year-old Gus Wenner, who serves as head of Wenner Media’s digital operations.
“Rolling Stone has played such a role in the history of our times, socially and politically and culturally,” Jann Wenner told the Times. “We want to retain that position.”