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Genre Magazine Folds

genre_2_21DEVELOPING– Gay men’s glossy Genre Magazine has suspended publication, according to a statement by CEO David Unger, blaming the magazine’s failure on the recession.

Is it a case of economics or incompetence?

Unger said, according to sister publication, The Washington Blade:

“We thank all of our readers, advertisers and editorial staff for their support throughout our more than 16-year history and hope that we can re-establish our relationship when times are better

He noted that the decision to suspend Genre does not have any impact on other publications produced by HX Media, Window Media or Unite Media, which include the Washington Blade, Southern Voice, South Florida Blade, New York Blade and HX magazine.

“Those publications will continue to publish and support their local communities,” Unger said.”

We’ve been speculating about the collapse of the gay glossy since last month, when it was revealed that Window Media, the parent company of Genre and a half-dozen gay publications, including the Washington Blade, had gone into federal receivership last August. Strangely, Unger didn’t resign.

Then, came reports that subscribers had not received copies of the magazine in months, which editor Neil Boulton blamed as a “printer hiccup”, though ominously, attempts to email Boulton at his work addressed bounced.

On Feb. 26th, Boulton quit and shortly thereafter, other staffers left en masse as well.

To stem the bad news, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff was announced to be Genre‘s new editor, though in retrospect, the fact that he would be giving up none of his current duties at the Blade, should have been a hint.

Rumor has it Unger is off on vacation, while meanwhile, staffers have been laid off, writers still have not been paid and subscribers seem like they’re S.O.L. Stay with Queerty as the story develops.

If you have a story about Genre, please contact us.

SAD LOL MOMENT: Just before walking off the job, then-Genre editor Neal Boulton assured us in January, “Judging from our high sell through and success on the newsstand, Genre is very much in demand so I plan to keep supplying that demand.” And then he told Gawker (emphasis ours): “This is the problem with blog responses. They set aflame raging rumours. Genre is NOT only NOT closing, but it is experiencing record growth, the addition of a new bright team of staffers, as well as an increase in circulation, and advertisers across many key categories. What’s more, Genre, unlike it’s competitors, who seem to be staggering around the competitive set looking for help, is walking taller and stronger than ever before. Mark my words: Genre will be an irrepressible force in publishing, so stay tuned!

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Mar 20, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 44 Comments
    • Jezabel
      Jezabel

      What a shame. And why is it strange that Unger wouldnt resign? He needs to fund his lifestyle.

      Mar 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shaniqua Ubangi
      Shaniqua Ubangi

      Hmmm interesting that Japhy would use hte line “economics or incompetence” with Genre after its sister website Jossip earlier reported this year that over 400 magazines and newspapers across the country have folded in the past year. To be honest, we have so much more in our community to deal with and work towards (such as equal rights, marriage equality, etc) than to be petty backstabbing bitches promoting infighting.

      Mar 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TechTown
      TechTown

      Writers being paid? If we were paid, how could Unger afford vacations?

      Mar 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DAVE
      DAVE

      I was deeply disgusted about the divisive argument on why Genre owner David Unger was to blame for the entire media industry – when he has invested so much of his life into the media, Is this what we need in media is to chastise a leadership through his media back ground rather than his leadership capability, Which power are you talking about, when the power has never been in the hands of the owner, the leadership was and is a collective leadership, and the real power was and is in the hands of the gay population, as they were always part of these bodies.

      The scope of the gay commentary was not only to discredit David Unger but also to disunite the gay media people through power struggle that can lead to internal splintering and nastiness, as it happened in other gay pubs and else where. As every media leader knows that, the print media armed struggle started by the heros of Act Up and so on, and the initiators of the struggle were the late leaders of yesterday, these people have never claimed that the organisation they. started has to be under their leadership, nor they refused others to have a share in power, from the first beginning of armed struggle the power in the gay media was in the hands of the community who is ready to struggle for the independence of media.

      Mar 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey
      Qjersey

      I vote for incompetence! The “redesign” was a total disaster.

      AND

      I’m now fucked out of the remaining 8 years (yes 8 years) on my subscription…they kept calling for renewal..and I did for 5 years, then they called again and my BF renewed for 3 years (and they wouldn’t refund).

      ARRGH

      Mar 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StevenH
      StevenH

      I think Genre folded because it was never clear who it was for. It seemed to be pushing a high-end lifestyle for openly-gay 20-somethings. How many of them are there, really?

      Mar 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChristopherM
      ChristopherM

      You know what they say, when times are tough, the first thing to go from your budget are shitty magazines that haven’t been relevant for nearly a decade.

      Mar 20, 2009 at 7:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joel
      joel

      It’s a shame. The magazine industry is in a tailspin heading to a crash. Smaller healthy magazines are falling left and right. The Advocate is now a monthly magazine. If you look at the ad pages in Out and The Advocate a majority are from it’s owners Regent.

      Not that I’ll miss Genre. My subscription ended years ago. But one less voice for the community hurts us all. It’s a shame to see Genre bite the dust. Maybe they can just stay on as some sort of online news site. Along the likes of Queerty

      Mar 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellsKitchen
      HellsKitchen

      David Unger was the reason Genre went into the tail spin, Joel. He never celebrated the ads that his company did obtain and only focused on what they did not get. Just because an advertiser is in Esquire does not mean you can call up the advertiser and say that you want them in your magazine, Unger had NO publishing experience and contributed nothing but negative energy grounded in nothing on a foundation of inexperience of arrogance. Unger only cared about promoting himself and is using HX to extend his message of empty mean creepy lack of leadership. HX sucks and all he does is want to be Matthew Bank and insists that Matthew obey is every command. Matthew is so over him — yet feels obligated to listen to his empty direction.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 12:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Virginia Slim
      Virginia Slim

      This entire debacle started when David Unger was ass kissed into gay media in the first place by William Waybourn and Chris Crain. Within months, their visionary Window Media was failing to maintain health coverage for employees, failing to pay people on time, and closing gay newspapers, according to press reports at that time. They closed one community newspaper around the same time they bought Genre, so now what are we left with? Great company direction, douche bags.

      So, yes, the economy put a nail in the coffin, but Unger paid for the wood and Waybourn and Crain did the construction on the coffin, and their egos deserve to be buried once and for all.

      And if the community is lucky, we won’t see this debt-saddled bad idea for a stitched together chain injure the few good community newspapers like the Blade.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 1:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      @StevenH: Well, I’m an openly gay 20-something. I just never really got what Genre was about. I just hope we won’t see more LGBT publications bite the dust. I’d hate to see actual worthwhile papers like The Washington Blade go under.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 1:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      @Shaniqua Ubangi: well it is news and it does affect the community and its not like they aren’t covering other things as well – this is a short piece and quite frankly its a fair question to pose whether or not Genre was predisposed to collapse and while Japhy may have an opinion contrary to yours that doesn’t make the question not worth considering

      Mar 21, 2009 at 4:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • geoff
      geoff

      Give my boyfriend his money back!!!!!!!!!

      Mar 21, 2009 at 5:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake

      No money will be returned to the readers because Unger needs to pay for his multiple homes and trips and cars — and don’t forget his BF who has stuck by his side. These things cost money. I wonder if we will get a free subscription to another magazine in exchange? I’d take Instinct — fun, easy to read mag.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 8:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LAboy323
      LAboy323

      Jake – you are so right. Instinct is a cool magazine. I was just on their website: http://instinctmagazine.com/ and it was simply and easy read. Chat with you later.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 8:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NILLACHINO
      NILLACHINO

      Well, I remember when our illustrious editor here was editor at GENRE. The magazine was much stronger during Andy’s and even Chris Ciompi’s reign. I was partial and loyal to the magazine because GENRE was the first national publication to give press coverage to the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival when I was the marketing director. That meant a lot to me and I’ll mourn its demise as a bit of nostalgic memories. On the other hand, the pornofied versions of recent years caused some interesting and uncomfortable silences between my father and I when we were packing my car for my move.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 8:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • spindoc
      spindoc

      Genre really never had anything to offer. IT started out as a small lifestyle mag that mostly focused on the L.A. party scene, then since it was successful it was purchased by a large media company and they changed but I could never really figure out what the hell they had changed it into. IT really didn’t have much to offer.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 10:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Qjersey:

      I know the feeling well. I just renewed 2 XM Radio subscriptions last April, 2008. My subscriptions are good until April, 2011.

      Yesterday, I received a second email from XM Radio “giving me another opportunity until March 31st to extend my subscriptions” so that I can “lock-in” the current monthly subscription fee.

      Adding insult to injury, then came the piecé de resistance.

      “Extending your subscription(s) will also prevent your loss of your ability to listen to XM Radio online, effective March 11, 2009, which is not only blackmail, but a double whammy.

      First they tell you that the rates are going up. Then they tell you that they are going to take away some of the services they included in their service if you do not ante up more OP money. Nice.

      After spending almost an hour arguing with these idiots on the phone, I went to Google and did a search on the recent merger of XM Radio and Sirius Radio to see what was going on.

      It looks like they are in deep financial do-co and a bankruptcy could be coming very soon. If so, I can kiss the remaining $384.00 I paid in advance onmy two subscriptions for the next two years bye-bye.

      Like AIG, the corporations interest is always protected, while the customer gets fucked with impunity. If they cannot make money using OP (other people’s) money, then how the hell can we expect them to run a business at a profit?

      If they had been using their own money, they might have acted with more responsibility and not allowed themselves to get into this mess in the first place.

      Just sayin…

      Mar 21, 2009 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AUSSIE
      AUSSIE

      David Unger is the most influential man in gay media and it is time we thank him. Although private-sector fund managers focus on picking lucrative investments, because that’s how they get paid, sometimes the fund trustees have different incentives. Sure, they want their funds and businesses they buy to perform well, even the gay stuff, but if they don’t, they don’t care if their public-employee and clients get hurt, because the defined roles of those workers are not guaranteed by the company, who must make up any shortfall if the company if the company is performing poorly because all employees are at will and only make money or collect money if they are kept on the payroll. So although Unger wanted to only see the value of his investment rise and will pass off any losses to others, he has made sacrifices that other people in gay media have not. Although the OUT 100 might not be willing to feature Unger, his fans believe he deserves to be in the top group. He has been working in the media business for many many years. We need to respect that and reach out to him with atleast a ‘good job Dave.”

      Mar 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CashisKing
      CashisKing

      @Aussie what are you talking about?

      None of Unger’s ungrateful staff would even have jobs if it was not for all of his personal wealth he invested. If the sales people in HX Media, Window Media and Unite Media did their jobs and sold ads, the company might have had a chance.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jock
      Jock

      Genre sucked anyways.

      No big loss.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • afrolito
      afrolito

      Instinct sucks donkey ass, and will hopefully fold as well. As far as Genre goes, it fell off the quality cliff years ago. The terrible redesign just quickened it’s demise.

      Peace out to crap.

      Mar 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jock
      Jock [Different person #1 using similar name]

      David Unger is a sad soul.

      Mar 22, 2009 at 10:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DEEPTHROAT
      DEEPTHROAT

      @CashisKing: BINGO!!!!! CashIsKing! You win the prize. The success of the organization begins and ends with the Sales Dept. In the end, the Sales Department IS the company. These products are strong enough to sell.
      But in the end, cash infusions can only go so far. At any media outlet, the publishers must drive ad sales, period.
      The cost centers need to be efficiently controlled (production and editorial), and the profit centers (sales) need to be enhanced & motivated.
      BTW– At this date, I’m still cashing my check and getting Med coverage. And I still love my job and my management.
      I’ve been around, and the grass is definately not always greener elsewhere… name the industry. I’ll live with a couple of weeds here and there.
      As for the rest of you bitter bitches, move on. Your tired asses are dragging me down.

      Mar 22, 2009 at 10:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Virginia Slimness
      Virginia Slimness

      Someone who tosses around cliché gay language from 10 years ago sounds like exactly the kind of culturally insular employee who brings a stank of death to gay media.

      Mar 22, 2009 at 10:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DEEPTHROAT
      DEEPTHROAT

      @Virginia Slimness: Excuse me. The cliche language was not gay. It is common cliche; not particularly gay at all. And my support is strictly from a corporate viewpoint.
      I hate you, Virginia. Hate you Hate you Hate you. I bet you stuff your bra.
      10 years?! Thanks for the compliment :) And I’ve only been in this business for a short while, and quite successful at it as well. It is your apparent tired longevity that needs to be severed; clinging to the old days. I’m the new blood!

      Mar 22, 2009 at 11:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Geoff
      Geoff

      Stop being so mean. There is never room for screaming or anger in a professional setting, even when only online, it is exactly what Unger’s teams have had to endure for over 7 years – ever since he took over for co-founders William Waybourn and Chris Crain’s. From the first day following the sale of the papers, Unger has systematically destroyed what has taken generations to build. In the words of one of our American heroes, Rodney King:

      “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice….Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.”

      Mar 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Virginia, aka Connie Cost Center
      Virginia, aka Connie Cost Center

      Oh wow a proven ability to toss around a lot of self-conscious business buzz words didn’t exactly equate to business success.

      But at least a few newbies got a chance to talk just like the big boys. So cute when they do that.

      Meanwhile, what exactly was Genre about? The readers (not a mission statement) will tell you, and it wasn’t much.

      Mar 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DEEPTHROAT
      DEEPTHROAT

      @Geoff: OK. I’ll be civil, but the Window Media rants have been nothing but mean-spirited from the get-go. It is what it is. And thankfully, it is still printing.

      Mar 22, 2009 at 8:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Virginny
      Virginny

      “the Window Media rants have been nothing but mean-spirited from the get-go”

      and what about outside the office?

      Mar 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adrian
      Adrian

      http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bleu/2009winter

      Thank goodness there are well run magazines moving forward to fill the void of those that have/will fail. Happy to say that Bleu Magazine is growing and prospering

      http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bleu/2009winter

      Mar 23, 2009 at 9:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adrian
      Adrian

      http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bleu/2009winter

      Thank goodness there are well run magazines moving forward to fill the void of those that have/will fail. Happy to say that Bleu Magazine is growing and prospering

      http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bleu/2009winterimghttp://thebleumag.com/images/current-issue.jpg/img

      Mar 23, 2009 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert
      Robert

      I think Instinct has been great all these years, it started sarcastic and adds “spice” only when needed..Genre was cardboard-cutout fake, only good for eye candy.

      Mar 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MassEdge35
      MassEdge35

      Genre was never a true magazine it was a joke. When I used to sell ad pages for another gay magazine, Genre would promise “editorial” to advertisers and out and out lie about their circulation. They ruined the advertising landscape. No professional magazine publisher promises edit for advertising. I’ll never forget when they said they had 90,000 in paid advertising, yet their statements and rental list information showed about 13,000. But this was the bullshit that they sold to advertisers. And proudly so. Instinct does the same thing as well. Edit for advertising. God damn if the sales reps I worked for at TIME magazine so many years ago promised that they would have been fired. When will gay media become a professional enterprise?

      Mar 26, 2009 at 7:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MassEdge35
      MassEdge35

      Sorry folks, I meant 90,000 in paid circulation. It’s early!

      Mar 26, 2009 at 7:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard Settles
      Richard Settles

      Wow. While it saddens me deeply to learn of the demise of the magazine I gave he birth to (and my dearly departed gay brother named), I’m not surprised. Between ever increasing free internet content and this horrible recession, I don’t have much hope for printed media in general. Magazines and newspapers are dropping like flies. Why buy the cow when you can milk it thru the internet-oooops i mean fence…
      Over the years genre had gone thru many incarnations, editors and battles with competitors- but genre was always relavent. I take great pride in the many acheivements genre made while under my direction. With heavy hitting, indepth stories on gay domestic violence, gays and religion, crystal meth addction, special recognition of everyday, openly-gay-heros,and much
      more– enre won numerous magazine publishing awards. Many now sucessful gay-media-professionals got their start at genre. Genre broke new ground many times including being the first national gay magazine to ever receive ad pages from the automotive industry.
      As for David Unger, I have nothing but repect and admiration for him. He was always charming, ethical and honorable with me. He lived up to his side of our purchase agreement –to the letter. Genre was never a cash cow. For many years I personally worked for nothing, but ultimatly made a living during the boom years of the late ’90s. So trust me, David Unger was certainly NOT paying his mortages and vacations, off the backs of genre writers. How dare you silly queens sling that crap around! Get a clue Mary! Do you have any idea how much money it takes to put out a glossy magazine every month? Let me tell you: When I sold the business to David it was costing me $120,000.00 A MONTH! Yea, that’s right, $120K,A MONTH!

      I will say, that I believe the one bad decision David made, when he bought my business, was not keeping my last editor Andy Towle. Andy is brilliant, amazing, talented, (and cute) and most of all– well conected in the industry. He was one of the best editors I ever hired. He brought more success and pinache and star-talent to the magazine then any other. I still can’t beleive David let him go….Who knows? With Andy’s abilities and internet savey (TowleRoad.com) genre just might have survied this current economic down turn.
      “Alas poor genre, I knew thee well”. R.I.P.

      Richard Settles
      Founding Publisher Genre Magazine

      Mar 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      Richard,

      Could you possibly give yourself a bigger pat on the back? Who cares what you did 15, 20 years ago! You pompous egomaniac! Genre crapped out because the re-design (fall 2007) was a disaster! Hiring a gay-for-pay straight guy from a men’s fitness magazine as the new editor-in-chief was a fatal mistake. He tried to turn Genre in just another fitness-oriented magazine. This was what put a huge nail in Genre’s coffin. It alienated what few readers were left. Economic downturn is a big factor, for sure, but it not solely responsible for the demise of Genre.

      Mar 26, 2009 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard Settles
      Richard Settles

      LOL! Aaron, are you f#king kidding me?! I’ll tell you “who cares” what I did 15-20 years ago: The hundreds talented and grateful writers, photographers, editors and salespeople who got paychecks and careers because of me…and all suicidal gay teens who sent letters about how they changed their minds because they found genre. THAT’S who cares. So yea, i’ll pat myself on the back alright–and everyone else who contributed to the magazine over nearly 2 decades….Hiring some straight phys ed guy probably WAS the final nail in the coffin, but please people, have some respect for the dead. (-;

      Richard Settles

      Mar 27, 2009 at 2:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      Agreed, Richard. Sorry. Didn’t mean to be disrespectful. I’ve been a Genre reader since day one. I still have all the issues in my possession. I’ve seen how the magazine has evolved over the years. When Boulton came on board, I remember saying to myself, “This is NOT going to work. I give it a year and the mag will go belly up”. And it has, in just over a year. It’s sad, really. I work in the library field and I have seen countless mags disappear only in the last couple of years. Old media is not dead but it IS dying. I liked Genre in its earlier days, when it actually meant something, when it actually served a useful purpose. But Boulton killed it off. Plain and simple. Sad.

      Mar 27, 2009 at 9:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlos
      Carlos

      @MassEdge35: Publishers have been engaged in “edit for advertising” in the form of “advertorial” for a very long time. That includes TIME magazine. Just one example: http://www.ymca.net/activateamerica/activate_america_milestones.html – there are many others. There’s nothing unprofessional about this common practice.

      Mar 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheUsualSuspects
      TheUsualSuspects

      I hoped Genre would have a chance after Kapfer left, but the damage he caused was too deep. His and Unger’s leadership led to some of the most disastrous hiring decisions at their other publications, which frankly, along with a bad economy could led to their failure as well.

      Mar 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MassEdge35
      MassEdge35

      @Carlos: That’s right Carlos. I used to work at TIME. But the publisher has to label the section “Advertorial” Genre, Instinct and the vast majority of the gay press don’t. It’s unprofessional when a publisher doesn’t label it. Genre is getting exactly what it deserves.

      Apr 4, 2009 at 9:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      @MassEdge35:
      Agreed. IF Genre, Instinct and the vast majority of the gay press do as you say, it is not just unprofessional but basically it’s misleading the readers and as you said before lying to them.

      Passing of advertising edit as regular edit is plain wrong. At The Journal, where I work, we always label advertorials as an “advertising section”.

      Apr 4, 2009 at 10:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SMH
      SMH

      I worked under the editorial direction of Andy Towle at Genre when Richard was still involved with the magazine.

      I agree that the magazine took a downward spiral as soon as Andy was let go. Its course changed on a daily basis, and with each new editor on board (three in two years), I knew that Genre’s demise was imminent.

      The move to NY and the hiring of the egocentric Boulton was a disaster as soon as he tried to make the publication “hip” with horrendous photos of 20-something “models” and editorial as shallow as a toddler’s wading pool.

      When Boulton entered as the new editor, I welcomed him with a brief email of congratulations and offered my services in any way that would serve Genre. Not only did Boulton ignore my services, he ignored me altogether. Is that any way to begin a relationship with past and present contributors?

      Well, I don’t take pleasure in saying “I told you so,” but MAYBE, if someone listened to its former staff in LA, when Genre was still generating interest, the magazine might still be alive and well today, even in this economy.

      Steven Housman
      Los Angeles & Miami

      Jan 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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