MEDIA: The Time is right, magazine builds brand with radio - A new technology series and the signing of an industry-savvy entertainment correspondent have made Time's transition to radio an impressive one Claire Atkinson reports.

News that AOL has received 500,000 subscription requests for Time magazine is evidence that the news weekly is benefiting from Time Warner's new ownership structure. But perhaps not as well-known is the fact that Time has also been extending its brand on the airwaves, through an alliance with CBS Radio.

News that AOL has received 500,000 subscription requests for Time magazine is evidence that the news weekly is benefiting from Time Warner's new ownership structure. But perhaps not as well-known is the fact that Time has also been extending its brand on the airwaves, through an alliance with CBS Radio.

News that AOL has received 500,000 subscription requests for Time magazine is evidence that the news weekly is benefiting from Time Warner's new ownership structure. But perhaps not as well-known is the fact that Time has also been extending its brand on the airwaves, through an alliance with CBS Radio.

In July the publication announced it would work with CBS Radio to produce a series of consumer-oriented technology briefs to be hosted by Time Digital managing editor Josh Quittner.

The 60-second spots are being distributed to 400 owned and operated affiliates and focus on such topics as product reviews, the on-line bargain of the day and how to navigate the Web.

Quittner, who also contributes to Time magazine, signs off as a Time Digital correspondent for CBS News.

But technology is not the only area the news weekly is spinning-off into standalone reports. In October, the title signed its first senior broadcast correspondent, Lisa Karlin, to produce Time-branded entertainment reports.

Her daily entertainment output is intended to keep Time front-of-mind for listeners across the country. Karlin's silky voiced reports are sent to 758 radio stations nationwide.

Karlin arrived at Time by way of sister publication Entertainment Weekly (EW). She had spent 10 years there developing relationships with local news directors and producing her own industry-oriented entertainment show.

When EW decided to refocus its budget on the print magazine, Karlin looked for a new partner, and Time was more than willing to take on the show under its own name.

'Generally I file around 10 reports a week,' says Karlin, who works from a soundproof studio in the same building as Time magazine. 'The entertainment reports cover theater, books and music.' She's moved the focus away from behind-the-scenes and box-office reporting towards more consumer-style material.

Although not everything she does has been covered by the magazine, she has to keep the Time edit-orial ethos in mind when choosing subject matter.

She won't do TV ratings pieces that might have worked for EW, and she doesn't spend as much time searching out the next big thing. 'I'm doing a lot more books,' says Karlin. She just completed an interview with New York Times writer Frank Rich, who has a new book out on Broadway star Gwen Verdon.

The major stations carrying the Time magazine entertainment segments include: New York's WCBS; Los Angeles' KNX; WBBM in Chicago; KCBS in San Francisco; WWJ in Detroit; Boston's WBZ; Seattle's KIRO; KMOX in St Louis; WGST in Atlanta; and WTOP in Washington, DC. Most of the major stations broadcast the reports during prime time, and Karlin varies the length and content according to each market. She is something of a one- woman show, but also takes reports from a correspondent in Los Angeles, Shelli Sonstein. Karlin says she's often overwhelmed with pitches and asks that PR executives contact her assistant Shareen Miller first. However, Karlin can be reached directly via e-mail, at lisa_karlin@timemagazine.com.

The speed at which she is recording new shows means Karlin tends not to plan too far in advance, although there are five regular points on the annual entertainment industry calendar that she sticks to. They include the upcoming year in entertainment, which airs in December; the Grammies in mid-February; Oscar previews in mid-March; a summer movie premiere; and a fall entertainment special, which airs around Labor Day.

Though Karlin has been doing the same job for more than 10 years, she is still as enthusiastic as the day she started. 'One of the things with this job is, I think, 'I'd like to talk to someone,' and I can.'

She's interviewed A-list celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, but says her favorite interviewee of all time was JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter children's books. Karlin has read them all.

For someone who has such regular contact with Hollywood publicists, Karlin says she has surprisingly few negotiations over interview subject matter.

She attributes this to the fact that her reports are totally focused on celebrities' work.

Karlin's coverage sometimes includes reviews, though she admits it is hard to do interviews when she really hasn't liked a movie or book. She says publicists understand that no one is going to like everything their clients do. When she sees a movie, TV show or book she doesn't like, then she tries to avoid giving it a review, rather than slamming it on air.

Keeping up with the cultural output of the entertainment industry can be difficult for this mother of two. But Karlin says she'll always have made sure she's read a good part of a book, if she's interviewing an author.

While Karlin has a solid Rolodex of entertainment industry contacts, she is keen on finding some guest experts, such as psychologists, to expand her roster. And if there is one area of the media she'd like to be more familiar with, it is music.

The sociology graduate started her career in radio broadcasting, did a spot of TV reporting, and then came back to radio. It is easy to see why Karlin prefers the medium. She undoubtedly gets more from her interviewees in her small, quiet space than any TV reporter could extract in a chaotic studio.

While Karlin is on the Time magazine payroll, she also represents CBS Radio at major industry events, such as the Oscars and the Grammies. Indeed, the link between Time and CBS does not stop here. Time also has partnered with CBS News on a radio version of the TV series 100 People of the Century, fronted by Time managing editor Walter Isaacson.

Time's interest in broadcasting goes beyond the traditional radio stations.

The magazine is also starting to offer audiocasts of its radio output via the Web. Time Digital editor Nathaniel Wice says users will be able to listen to them from the Time site in the next few weeks. Signposts for Quittner's radio reports already appear on the site.



CONTACT LIST

Time Radio Reports

Time Magazine

1271 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10020

Tel: (212) 522 7257

Fax: (212) 522 0003

Email: lisa_karlin@timemagazine.com

Senior broadcast correspondent:

Lisa Karlin

LA reporter: Shelli Sonstein

Production assistant: Shareen Miller

Time Digital managing editor: Josh Quittner.



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