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Times Mirror to Buy Broadcasting Magazine and CRC

November 29, 1986|THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL and DAVID CROOK | Times Staff Writers

Times Mirror Co. said Friday that it has agreed to buy Broadcasting magazine, the weekly television industry trade journal, for $75 million in cash. The company said it hopes the magazine will "form the nucleus of a trade publication cluster" that it hopes to build.

The Los Angeles company, publisher of The Times and seven other newspapers, also is considering a new trade journal, officials said, though they would not say in what area. Times Mirror currently owns one trade magazine, Sporting Goods Dealer, published in St. Louis, as well as the National Journal, a political magazine.

In a separate development, Times Mirror said it will acquire CRC Press, a family-owned publisher of scientific, medical and technical reference journals. Terms of the CRC sale were not disclosed, but Times Mirror officials said the deal was much smaller than the Broadcasting magazine purchase. Both deals are expected to close by the end of the year.

Trade Publication Group

CRC, located in Boca Raton, Fla., will become a division of Times Mirror's Year Book Medical Publishers, the world's largest health-science publisher.

Robert F. Erburu, Times Mirror chairman, president and chief executive, said developing a trade publication cluster is "an important strategic objective of the company." Most of Times Mirror's magazines are consumer publications, such as the Sporting News, Ski, Golf, Popular Science and Outdoor Life.

Broadcasting Publisher Lawrence Taishoff, whose father started the Washington-based magazine 55 years ago, will remain publisher, and Erburu said he hoped that Taishoff's experience would help in acquisition and development of Times Mirror's projected trade journal group.

According to Broadcasting's staff, the magazine's revenue for the last three years has ranged from $10 million to $12.5 million and will exceed that this year.

Pretax Profit Margin Over 20%

Pretax profit margins in trade journals often exceed 20% of revenue, and Broadcasting officials said the margins of the 34,260-circulation weekly magazine exceed that. One Times Mirror official privately said that the $75-million purchase price falls within the range of eight to 12 times the magazine's pretax 1986 earnings.

Broadcasting magazine is something of an institution in the radio and TV industry. Les Brown, the editor of a competing trade journal called Channels and author of the New York Times Encyclopedia of Television, said Broadcasting functioned as "a lobby and cheerleader for the broadcast industry."

Founded in 1931 by Sol Taishoff--only 10 years after the federal government began issuing licenses to radio stations--Broadcasting positioned itself as the journal of record for electronic media. The magazine covered in a dry, wire-service style the news from congressional hearings to New York executive shake-ups to Hollywood deals.

At the same time, the magazine's ardent, usually conservative editorials championed the commercial side of broadcasting, especially what it saw as the heavy hand of federal regulation.

Broadcasting switched from a semi-monthly to a weekly schedule in the early 1940s and prospered with the rise of television in the 1950s and '60s.

The elder Taishoff died in 1982, as the magazine was experiencing its first wave of serious competition, including Electronic Media, Multichannel News, Cablevision and Channels.

Broadcasting, which remains among the leaders in advertising lineage, has about 30 editorial employees in Washington, New York and Los Angeles.

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