A Rolling Stone That Gathers No Moss
Keith Blanchard has a mature magazine brand on his side, and in the struggle to stay afloat during the onslaught of digital content delivery, the Rolling Stone name is going to come in pretty handy in the weeks and months ahead.
It’s that prominent brand, the essence of what the famed magazine was, is and can be that will help separate RollingStone.com from every other Johnny-come-lately rock ‘n’ roll writer with a Web site, says Blanchard, Wenner Media’s new executive director, online.
“It’s the leading music brand—period,” he says of Rolling Stone.
Even though the Wenner Media publication has had a steady online presence for about a decade now, the recent push in the industry calling for everyone to provide exclusive digital content led publisher Jann Wenner to take action. Instead of continuing to take timid steps onto the Web as he had in the past, Wenner made a full-force leap of commitment last summer for his three titles.
The framed photographs of rocker Neil Young and actress Sharon Stone that hang from Blanchard’s office wall are an inheritance from the previous office dweller and are not truly indicative of his own celebrity preference, although he says he’s perfectly content with the two looking over his shoulder as he taps away on his keyboard each day. Blanchard, who’s gotten some flack in the past for his previous endeavors in lad-mag journalism, is directing the creation of the company’s online rock ‘n’ roll and celebrity news.
Blanchard, 41, became a leading force at Dennis Publishing back in the mid-’90s, when the Princeton grad had a hand in the early successes of Maxim magazine, the popular men’s lifestyle magazine that begat countless imitations. Blanchard started with the magazine during its launch a decade ago as its deputy editor, and later became the group creative director. He helped launch Maxim’s Web site and then served as the magazine’s editor in chief from 2000 until 2004, when he left that post for a very short stint developing multimedia programming for all of Dennis’ brands.