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Exclusive Interview

Elizabeth Chan Cracks the WLTW-FM Christmas Rotation

Every holiday season, New York radio station WLTW (a.k.a. 106.7 Lite FM) tinkers ever so slightly with its rotation of 24/7 Christmas music. If at all.

This season, a new voice is getting airplay alongside the three other artists added for 2014. Joining Band Aid 30, Seth MacFarlane and Idina Menzel is none other than Mediabistro success story Elizabeth Chan, the former Conde Nast employee who we wrote about this time last year.

“Just even learning that WLTW was going to add one of my songs, three years into writing Christmas music but really only two years into starting my company and songwriting business in earnest,” Chan tells FishbowlNY via telephone. “I was floored.”

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Racked Promotes Leslie Price, Izzy Grinspan

Leslie Price [Photo by Jessica Loren]

Leslie Price [Photo by Jessica Loren]

There’s a whole lot going on at Vox Media fashion vertical Racked.

A few months ago, Racked national staff moved into Vox’s Midtown offices. The site now has 16 full-time staffers, triple the number in place at the time Vox acquired the property in 2013. And this week, Leslie Price was promoted to editor-in-chief while Izzy Grinspan was named executive editor.

The editors of Racked’s local city editions work out of their respective territories, while the back end for all Racked functionality is run out of Vox’s Washington D.C. offices.

“Our traffic has gone up seven-fold in the past year,” explains Price via telephone to FishbowlNY. The latest Google Analytics monthly uniques total for Racked is a little over five million.

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Indiewire Adds Deputy Editor, Prepares for Another Sundance

EricKohnPicThe Sundance Film Festival today is announcing its 2015 main slate. And in a couple more weeks, Indiewire will have some Sundance news of its own: the names of the lucky aspiring writers chosen to participate in the site’s laudable Critics Workshop initiative in Park City.

“We started doing the workshop at Sundance last year,” explains Indiewire chief film critic and deputy editor Eric Kohn (pictured), who added the latter title just last week, via telephone to FishbowlNY. “It was sort of a pilot program and will really kick into full gear this festival.”

“It’s supported by the Roger Ebert Memorial Scholarship, which Chaz created last year with Sundance,” he continues. “The idea is to bring aspiring writers with a lot of potential into the festival environment and create work that has currency in the marketplace.”

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Jonathan Cheban Builds Out The Dishh

Entrepreneur, reality TV show star and man-about-town Jonathan Cheban has known entertainment journalist David Caplan for a long time, dating back to his days as a publicist and Caplan’s work for People, Star magazine and other outlets. So when Cheban was looking to add a managing editor to his nascent entertainment and lifestyle website The Dishh, he knew Caplan was a perfect fit.

“Right now, David has got six or seven writers that he’s dealing with,” Cheban tells FishbowlNY via telephone from Miami. “Because I travel so much, I needed someone who really knows what he’s doing and can help me expand the platform, move into a TV show with it as well and do video. I’ve known David for a long time and I just love his personality.”

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The Dishh, for which Cheban is partnered with technology and media company Black Ocean, is divided into four playfully titled verticals: Drooling (food), Need This (products/gadgets), Star Struck (entertainment) and Don’t Judge (lifestyle/opinion). Caplan, who started Monday, says he’s open to freelance pitches.

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Natalie Wood Author Completes Follow-Up Book

CloserCoverLanaWoodFor those of us who pay close attention to the re-opened investigation into the death of Natalie Wood (she died 33 years ago this holiday weekend), the latest media flurry started with a cover story in the September 4 issue of Closer magazine. That interview with Natalie’s sister Lana was followed, earlier this month, by an emphatic open letter from Lana in the National Enquirer.

In the Closer piece, there was also some subtle framing offered up by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Lieutenant John Corina.

No matter what develops on the law enforcement front, there is guaranteed to be more attention on this matter generated next year, thanks to Marti Rulli. The New Jersey-based author, whose 2009 book and subsequent 2011 efforts sparked the re-opening of the investigation, tells FishbowlNY she has just completed the first draft of her Natalie Wood “continuation” book.

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Dave Karger Adds Fandango to the Access Hollywood Mix

After joining Fandango in the fall of 2012, chief correspondent Dave Karger quickly began entertaining the ticket-buying masses with The Frontrunners, a look at actors and artists in the thick of film awards season. The distinguishing feature of the show, one of several Fandango series hosted by Karger, is a handicapping of the trophy hunt through the prism of a single, chosen scene from each guest’s contending film.

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When Karger kicks off Season Three of The Frontrunners next month, he will have another stellar guest and a synergistic new broadcast partner. The conversation with Emma Stone (Birdman) will be prominently featured on Fandango, per usual, starting November 12 and highlighted on an edition of NBCUniversal sister franchise Access Hollywood. The plan is to have Karger drop by weekly on the show to frame and share excerpts from The Frontrunners.

Access Hollywood is a show that I have been very involved with for over a decade,” Karger tells FishbowlNY via telephone, following our attendance of an intimate Tuesday night soiree hosted by Fandango in the Penthouse Bar of LA’s Soho House. ”I’ve appeared as an analyst, a guest and as the Oscars lunch correspondent for the past four years.”

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Grantland’s Emily Yoshida is Headed to The Verge

EmilyYoshidaPicGrantland culture editor Emily Yoshida recently indicated she was leaving the acclaimed Bill Simmons operation. Today, FishbowlNY can exclusively reveal her new professional home.

Yoshida has accepted the challenge of building out The Verge’s coverage of film, TV, music and related matters as entertainment editor. To do so, she will be relocating from Los Angeles to New York. Her last day at Grantland is Friday; she starts at The Verge November 17.

“This will be my first New York job, ever,” Yoshida tells us via telephone, on the call together with The Verge’s recently promoted editor-in-chief Nilay Patel. “I’m completely excited about it.”

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CNN Vet Alan Duke Jumps to Radar Online

AlanDukePhotoFor the past five and a half years, for all but one month, Alan Duke‘s byline has been the number one desktop-views attraction at CNN Digital. During that one month in question, Duke went on vacation for three weeks.

More specifically, for the first nine months of 2014, Duke’s byline attracted a staggering 300 million desktop page views. His most notable recent CNN item was a September 18 report, with Susan Candiotti, that Yorkville Endoscopy clinic workers told investigators they saw and heard Joan Rivers‘ personal doctor take a selfie with the unconscious entertainer.

Although Duke was spared in the latest round of CNN layoffs, the journalist – who had been with CNN since 1989 – decided it was time to leave. As of this week, he is the Los Angeles-based national correspondent for revamping AMI website Radar Online.

“Last month, there was an event that really told me this was the time to leave,” Duke tells FishbowlNY via telephone. “We had an internal “huddle” [meeting] for CNN Digital, which was both a pep talk and an update on business affairs. In the executives’ statements and voices, I just picked up panic and chaos.”

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EW Editor Matt Bean Previews the ‘Fall TV Preview’ Issue

Chelsea Handler has not done many print interviews since ending her E! show. But one of them can be found in the “Streaming” section of Entertainment Weekly‘s 2014 “Fall TV Preview” double issue, on newsstands today.

Handler shares at least one scoop about her upcoming 2016 Netflix talk show as she answers “Five Questions” about her October 10 one-hour stand-up special for the website, Uganda Be Kidding Me. The “Streaming” section also highlights Jeffrey Tambor‘s Amazon show Transparent, Season Two of Amazon’s political drama Alpha House and the AOL series Making a Scene with James Franco.

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“Streaming is more important than it’s ever been,” EW editor Matt Bean tells FishbowlNY via telephone. “The quality and caliber of the programs on streaming outlets cannot be not ignored. Our readers, even more so than with TV, need a guide to that kind of content because it comes at you so quickly. And in many cases, at such a phenomenal volume.”

“I think James Franco is one of the most fascinating actors in the business right now,” he continues. “He just tries things. We’ll have to see how he does with this [AOL] project, but it’s certainly like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

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AFAR Media’s Trajectory: Self-Funded, Bi-Coastal, Profitable

In 2009, AFAR Media was launched with a focus on travel and a combined $20 million investment from Joe Diaz, Greg Sullivan and Ernie Garcia. This summer, at the five-year anniversary mark and with the August/September issue having just hit newsstands, AFAR has arrived at profitability.

Branded content currently accounts for a third of AFAR’s revenues. In the latest print issue, starting on page 19, there is for example “Artisans Inspired.” Part of a year-long partnership with The Ritz-Carlton, the three-page feature is anchored around quotes from surfer Lon Klein, New York Botanical Gardens curator Karen Daubmann and international travel excursions leader Sean Nelson.

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“This is a multi-dimensional, multi-platform branded content program that lives in print, mobile and on desktop,” says Diaz during a recent telephone conversation with FishbowlNY. “How we try to approach branded content is – it’s really all about what is the core idea. What are the hooks, what are the elements that are going to get people excited.”

“We don’t care if it’s paid [content] or if it’s editorial,” he adds. “Our philosophy is that the content always has to be good. And we’re not shy about making sure everybody knows that this is paid for. The whole idea of the campaign is that artisans inspire and let’s help bring those rich values and characters to life, through the eyes of the people on the ground.”

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