Beck exits Los Angeles mag for gig in Gotham

Exec helped increase ad revs, boosted sales

Spencer Beck, who gave Los Angeles magazine its most recent face lift and presided over a 30% hike in newsstand sales as editor-in-chief since 1997, has ankled the monthly.

Now in its 40th year, the magazine was owned by Fairchild when Beck came on board, but has since gone through two management changes.

Fairchild was divested of the magazine in 1999 when Conde Nast bought Fairchild but left the monthly under Disney’s control. It was then bought by Emmis Communications in January.

Since the early 1990s magazine recession sent ads and circulation spiraling downward, the magazine has struggled to achieve the right balance of Hollywood coverage, hard city stories and the service features that have long been its meat and potatoes.

“It’s a magazine that’s been trying to find itself and it hasn’t found a voice,” says Lou Harris, who edited the book from 1974-95.

But Beck, who was the third editor to follow Harris in two years, saw ad revenues increase 60% to $12 million in his three years at the helm.

“I inherited a magazine that was in a deep malaise and completely redesigned it and wanted to do something that had a bigger, more national look,” he told Daily Variety.

Beck, who has previously worked at W, at Connoisseur magazine, and at Interview under Andy Warhol, has found “an opportunity in New York that I can’t pass up.”

Beck wouldn’t elaborate, except to say the job’s with a print media outlet. There’s been speculation that Beck would become the editor of Details when it’s relaunched by Fairchild in fall 2000, but he told Daily Variety that his plans lie elsewhere.

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