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1  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: Sean Andros leaves Team MD on: November 28, 2012, 09:48:01 AM
Via email

To Whom It May Concern:

I am no longer employed nor affiliated with Advanced Research Media, Muscular Development Magazine, FitnessRx for Women Magazine, FitnessRx for Men Magazine, and any associated digital or print media.

For any business related matters, please contact Steve Blechman at

Sean B. Andros
2  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Sean Andros leaves Team MD on: November 28, 2012, 07:29:40 AM

News from New York this morning is that Sean Andros, editor of Muscular Development Magazine and Online Editor has resigned his position with Team MD, effectively immediately. A statement from MD should be coming soon.  He was not fired, as reports indicated, but chose to leave. It was only a little over a year ago that Sean joined MD with this announcement from Steve Blechman. 

October 24, 2011 -  Muscular Development is pleased to announce that Sean Andros will be joining Advanced Research Press as Senior Editor of Muscular Development Magazine as well as Online Editor of Muscular Development and FitnessRx. “It is with great excitement that I accept the position of senior editor for Muscular Development. I am looking forward to contributing my efforts to the talented team Steve & Elyse Blechman have assembled as we work to bring MD, Fitness Rx for Men, and Fitness Rx for Women to the pinnacle of all fitness media. Look out for tons of new content, new ideas, and the constant evolution you've come to expect from MD!” Sean Andros.  “We are thrilled to have someone with Sean’s wide experience and knowledge of the industry as part of the ARP family. I look forward to working closely with him. As part of the ARP team, Sean’s incredible vision, passion and drive will no doubt help us rise to the next level in 2012 .” Steve Blechman
3  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / 2012 Olympia - Jay Cutler out of the Olympia - official! on: June 12, 2012, 11:35:21 PM
Jay Cutler has called it quits.  No more Olympia with Jay on the stage.  Word has it that Jay has not trained hard in Vegas for a while, and is busy with his company Alpha Helix, promoting it.  Now comes word that Jay has decided not to compete at the Olympia and has not turned in his Olympia contract.  Nor will he guest pose anymore, as Jay has turned over a new leaf in his life.  

Official announcement will be coming soon, or when they is ready to make a statement.

4  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Robert Kennedy - a legend in bodybuilding on: April 07, 2012, 11:31:59 PM

To see a legend suffer is very tough. To see his loved ones hurting is even tougher.  No question Robert has had a hard life, with circumstances that no one should face.  And now, he is facing the toughest one of all - life.  Robert did not come to the Arnold Classic this year to get his Lifetime Achievement Award because he was so sick. The first Arnold Classic he has missed ever.

No comes word that it is worse that we all thought.

Here are the tweets from Tosca Reno this evening.

My heart is breaking.
Life is so short. Love deeply. Do it now and always.
Send messages of love for Bob.
Please pray for Bob. He is my love and my life.

We all have Bob in our hearts and prayers.   No question that Bob was a tremendous part of bodybuilding, from MuscleMag International Magazine to Reps to promoting and building up bodybuilding like very few did.

It was an honor.
5  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: Shawn Ray - why are you lying about the Comeback Award? on: December 19, 2011, 12:18:55 AM

The Vyotech connection. Does Shawn Ray owe money to Bill Wilmore?  Shawn Ray has some explaining to do as to why HE chose Wilmore as the 'Comeback' award.  Shawn Ray has some explaining to do as to why he was the lone 'judge' in this award and not the legends, as he told everyone.  Shawn Ray has some explaining to do as to how much money he got from the Masters Legends Promoter over his advice on this contest.  Some say he received over $40,000 as compensation.

6  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Shawn Ray - why are you lying about the Comeback Award? on: December 18, 2011, 11:39:36 PM

Aaron Singerman calling out Shawn Ray as a liar regarding the Comeback Award at the Masters Nationals on his facebook blog

On December 10th, Jarka Lorie put on the IFBB Pro World Master’s Championship in Miami, Florida. For the men’s bodybuilding portion of the event, an unprecedented $220,000 in prize money was given away, with $100,000 of that money going to first place winner, Dexter Jackson. Everyone who had viewed Jarka’s contest website ( saw the prize pool was large, but almost no one realized that there would also be a $5,000 Best Poser Award and a $20,000 Biggest Comeback Award. As far as I know, the $5,000 for the best poser was the most money given out for such an award in many years, and I have never even heard of a Biggest Comeback Award. Tricky Jackson beat out Darrem Charles for the Best Poser, and Bill Wilmore won the Biggest Comeback. This column will explore the circumstances that surrounded the decision to award Bill Wilmore with the $20,000 prize.

The first thing I did was head straight to the top. I called Head Judge and Senior IFBB official, Steve Weinberger. Steve informed me that the IFBB had nothing to do with judging, deciding, or presenting the Biggest Comeback Award. The IFBB’s responsibility started and ended with the actual prize money that was handed out to the top 12 men, and top placing bikini girls.

During this investigation, I received an email from Rx Muscle photographer, Pierre Lamely, telling me how upset Roland Cziurlok was that he didn’t win the Best Comeback Award. Normally, a bodybuilder complaining about not placing as well as he thought he should is nothing to write home about. The thing that caught my interest was what Pierre’s email revealed: A very interesting email conversation between Cziurlok, Shawn Ray, and Vince Taylor.

The serial email began with Cziurlok complaining to Shawn that he believed he should have won the Best Comeback award.

Ray responded, “I thought you were a freak bro. Wow was I amazed at your conditioning! That said, it was a vote from ALL the legends that decided that Bill Wilmore should win the award. There was nothing that ONE person could do or say to change that outcome from: Coleman, Taylor, Haney, Ferrigno, Levrone, Yates, Zane, Robinson. The vote was final once everyone said who they thought should win the award. Sorry Bro.”

Cziurlok then forwarded what Shawn Ray wrote to his longtime friend, Vince Taylor. It’s my guess, at that point, Roland was hoping for some clarification on what Vince and the rest of the legends were looking for.

Vince wrote the following reply to Cziurlok: 

“Roland.... Please understand... I had NOTHING to do with any voting! I had nothing to do with the show! Please write or call Shawn Ray and tell him you and I are personal friends, and that I, Vince Taylor, said he is a LIAR! To say to you I voted for anyone... My wife and I came to the night show for 20 minutes, then went home. We never saw the show! Not during the morning pre-judging, and NOT AT ALL AT THE NIGHT SHOW!”

After talking to Weinberger and reading these email exchanges, I was hooked. You can probably see why, but this is just the beginning of this story.  Let’s first discuss discuss what exactly a “Best Comeback Award” is anyway.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a comeback as a return to a former position, status, etc. Bill Wilmore competed LAST YEAR, and took a controversial 3rd place at the Dallas Europa. It wasn’t controversial in the sense that people thought Bill should have done worse, but just the opposite. I was sitting next to Shawn Ray in the press pit, and both he and I had him in 2nd place, ahead of Mark Alvisi.

I decided to poll some of the people that are experts in our sport and industry:

Peter McGough (former Editor and Chief of FLEX Magazine): Roland Czurlok- “With all due respect to Bill it’s tough to consider a guy who competed in 2010 as meriting "Comeback" status. "Most improved" would have been more appropriate for Bill. If we take a strict interpretation of "Best Comeback" it would have to be Roland -- most conditioned in show after a 10 year lay-off.”

Lonnie Teper (writer for Ironman and World Famous MC): Roland- “Wilmore did look good, but it’s been years since Roland has competed.”

Isaac Hinds (founder of and photographer): Roland- “Easily, Roland.”

Dan Solomon (host and creator of Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Radio): Roland- “If you’re going to have a Comeback Award at a Legends Show, you should acknowledge one of the Legends... Someone like Roland would have been the logical choice.”

Lee Thompson (IFBB Judge and NPC Texas Chairman): Roland- “Bill looked great in Dallas. He’s always looked good. Impressive showing, but not a comeback.”

Ron Avidan (Creator and Owner of Roland- “He placed the highest of all the guys who were making a comeback.”

Dave Palumbo (Owner of RxMuscle and Species Nutrition): Roland- “He was easily the most impressive guy to be making a comeback. Wilmore, while impressive, competed last year.”

Seven of our industries most notable experts all would have voted for Roland. But, according to Shawn Ray, it was up to the Legends that attended the show... Or was it? I decided to call the “legends” in attendance. When I asked Ronnie Coleman about how he decided to vote for Bill Wilmore, he told me, “I didn’t vote for anyone; didn’t know anything about a Comeback Award.”

Obviously, neither did Vince Taylor. Samir Bannout told me that Frank Zane wasn’t even at the pre-judging and was only at the night show for limited time. I know both Lee Haney and Lou Ferrigno were in the lobby at their booths for a majority of the night show, and were also not at the pre-judging.

Shawn Ray not only MC’d the show, but he also played a big role in organizing the event with Jarka Lorie. When Roland had questions about the show and, more specifically, the award, he went to Shawn for clarification. I decided to do the same. It was Saturday night and I was on the way to a Christmas party, so I sent Shawn a text message instead of calling. This is what I received:

“The award was presented on MY behalf. ‘The Shawn Ray Comeback Award’. End of story. When the media creates their own award then they can finance it and present it. It’s not open for debate. Sorry. I chose Bill Wilmore...”

I was shocked when I received this text, as it contradicted everything I had been told up until this point. I actually got the impression that Shawn wasn’t involved with the voting at all. I did speak to Shawn later that evening and he insisted that he’s standing by HIS decision.

As happy as I am to see Bill Wilmore win the $20,000, I can’t figure out the logic that would make Bill’s impressive showing a better comeback than Roland’s... Or even a comeback at all!  The fact that Shawn Ray would explain to Roland that the “legends” decided the outcome of the Best Comeback Award and then go on to contradict that sentiment days later in a text message to me lead me to the conclusion that “something’s rotten in state of Denmark”.
7  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Jay Cutler and Muscletech parting ways on: November 29, 2011, 12:36:13 AM

So I am being told that Jay Cutler and Muscletech have decided not to renew their mutual contract.  Is this true?  Where will Jay Cutler be heading too now that an agreement has not been made?  Looks like November 30th is the last day.  Any official word on this?

8  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / News re MD and Flex Magazine? Robbie Durand - Sean Andros on: October 23, 2011, 01:56:02 PM
So the saga continues, as the rumors unfold.

At the end of September, only a few weeks after the greatest contest that AMI puts out, the Mr. O, the AMI offices, or as they are known, the Weider offices, closed down in Woodland Hills, putting most of the employees in California out on the unemployment line.  Only a few have stayed on - Allan Donnelly, the editor-in-chief, and a few writers.  Everyone else is gone.  Muscle & Fitness and Flex Magazine have been moved to New York, where AMI maintains their headquarters.

Now comes word that a big fight in MD, aka Muscular Development, has led to Robbie Durand to give his two weeks notice and leave his beloved MD effective October 31st.  And where is he going?  Well, he is rumored to become none other to become Flex's editor-in-chief, MD's arch rival.

Seriously? Where is Allan Donnelly going to go? Can they replace him just like that?  Well, actually no - Allan has a contract but refused to head out and go back and live in New York.  Can't run a magazine from his house in California.  Rumor was that Sean Andros was going to be promoted, or Seth Kelly was to run it. That is, until Seth Kelly was axed by AMI. according to another rumor.

So is Steve Blechman fuming? Not really? Perhaps there is a non-compete clause that Robbie signed with MD? Is that going to prevent him from joining his girlfriend Mona at AMI?   Who knows?

MD will be fine without Robbie.  They preservered and continued to increase their presence online and in the magazines without Palumbo or Romano.
9  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: Palumbo being strong armed? Losing VPX? on: September 03, 2011, 11:57:01 AM
1) Who cares about RX Muscle? Between BSN and the 20 other sponsors there, Dave makes 100K a month on the site. If you actually believe that, go head. So what if he loses a tiny sponsor who gives him 20K.  Yeah right, VPX gives them 20K. Another Romano pathetic lie.

2) This is another vilified attack by Romano, who shits on the IFBB and shits on the NPC and shits on everyone, calling Manion and everyone associated with the organizations the most vile slurs he can think of.

3) This is the same Romano that shit on Muscular Development, calling Blechman every possible name. Who shit on Flex Magazine, calling Peter McGough pathetic names, so it turn that no one wants anything to do with Romano anymore.

4) Romano gets off on stirring the pot and trying to cause problems.  

5) Getbig, Flexonline and Muscular Development also won't promote a company whose prime objective is to use a guy who slurs everyone and then gets butt hurt when his slurs and lies affects the place he works at.

6) How soon will VPX realize that it's hurting their business keeping a crybaby like Romano.

10  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / FLEX Magazine - moving to NY with Romano in charge? on: August 12, 2011, 10:23:08 PM

Welcome to New York, FLEX Magazine.  By October 1st, FLEX Magazine is giving up its home in California and moving to New York, where a new staff is taking over.   A new staff? So it seems.

Rumors are buzzing here in Dallas at the Europa Super Show when NONE of the Flex Magazine team showed up.  Yes, none.   Oh, there was this Andros guy from NY who does commentary videos for FLEX, using Bob Chicherillo and Isaac Hinds as his sidekick.  As for the pics, the same guy Isaac who is shooting for NPC News is shooting for them.

So where is the FLEX staff? Why is no one here from California? Last year, they had a staff of six come out.

Prejudging this evening, a friend of ours said that FLEX is interested in Romano. Yes, the John Romano that screwed MD, RX Muscle, and thinks the NPC/IFBB is bad,  to be the editor when they move to New York.   What are they thinking?  No one wants Romano to come back to NY. 

Get off Romano's nuts - he is caput.

Oh, everyone is being told that NO ONE from California is going to move to New York, and that ALL the staff that helped build up FLEX is going to be fired.  Nice move, but don't think the other magazines are rejoicing about it. No one is happy when a rival magazine is getting chopped, cut and hacked in staff and budgets.  So don't blame MD or Musclemag in any of this.  It isn't a happy time to see a fellow magazine go down like this.
11  Getbig Misc Too Board / Pro Bodybuilding Weekly - Radio Board / PBW adds Lee Thompson & Chad Nicholls to fill Bob's Spot on: January 17, 2011, 11:23:28 AM
From Lee Thompson (via Twitter)

I have the great honor of attempting to fill the shoes of Bob Chic as the new Co-Host of Pro Bodybuilding Weekly! The 7th season and my first show with Dan and Chad Nichols next Monday night! Check us out www.Probodybuildingweekl!

Edit from Ron from 240:

PBW adds Lee Thompson & Chad Nicholls to fill Bob's Spot
Just got word.  Sponsor conflicts finally caught up with Bob Chick.  Now a BSN spokesman (MuscleTech Rival) and long gone from Change was inevitable.  Best of Luck to Bob.  
Lee and Chad land the gig, will join Dan for new 3-Man Booth.  Good choices.  Chad knows the industry inside and out.  Been around the block. His seminars were pretty awesome a few years back.  The guy knows his shit.  Not as much of a company man as Bob.  So I guess thats a good thing.  And Thompson is a top dog insider.  Yep, change is good.  

12  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: RXMuscle CAUGHT Fudging the Numbers on: November 08, 2010, 01:06:49 PM

If Ron would ever get serious on Getbig, he can start making some money on it - get with it already, and update the site more, and get some help, everyone complains about it, yet the site is still up there.   Some of the sections are outdated, but I love this place.  None of the bullshit and made up numbers like others do.

13  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / AMI / Weider going bankrupt - Pecker's Package on: November 01, 2010, 09:16:30 AM
From the NY Post

Prepack bankruptcy is Halloween surprise at AMI

National Enquirer publisher American Media has some sensational news of its own: bankruptcy.

Faced with resistance from a single balky bondholder, the company, which also owns Shape and Star, is scrapping the debt-for-equity swap it has labored to patch together for months and will restructure its crushing debt through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing instead.

American Media chief David Pecker declined to comment on the specifics when reached yesterday, but said he expects a formal filing to take place within two weeks and for the company to emerge from bankruptcy within 60 days, shedding considerable debt in the process.

Our ultimate goal when we began working with our bondholders last spring was to fix our balance sheet, which this accomplishes. So while I am satisfied that the end does justify the means in this case, it's not the action the vast majority of the bondholders or I would have preferred," Pecker told The Post.

Even as it struggled to pull off the debt-for-equity swap up until the final deadline at 5 p.m. last Friday, the company quietly prepared a prepackaged plan behind the scenes, sources said.

AMI retained law firm Akin & Gump to handle the filing. Under terms of Chapter 11, a company continues to operate while it seeks to come to terms with its creditors.

Pecker added that under the prepackaged deal he expects all employees, vendors and other creditors will be paid 100 percent on the dollar.

Meanwhile, bondholders, who are collectively owed about $355 million, will still end up controlling 95 percent of the stock of the company.

Most of AMI's bondholders were apparently willing to go along with a plan that would have swapped debt for new equity. The principal bondholders include Avenue Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and Capital Research.

Oppenheimer Funds, the fourth-largest bondholder with about 15 percent of the bonds, is said to have balked at that deal. Oppenheimer did not return calls for comment.

The deal now off the table would have reduced the total debt to $500 million from $855 million.

In the February 2009 restructuring, the company sliced its original debt load of $1.1 billion down to about $825 million while wiping out virtually all of the equity stake of original investors Evercore Partners and Thomas H. Lee & Partners.

Revenue for the year ended in March dipped 3.1 percent to $412 million, compared to $425 million in the year-earlier period.

Free cash flow actually inched up by $2 million to $114 million, but much of that was sucked out by bond and bank debt service of close to $100 million a year.

The credit rating firms took AMI to task this summer when it skipped interest payments to bondholders. Frantic negotiations ensued, with a deadline for a deal reset at least four times until the final miss on Friday set in motion the prepackaged bankruptcy

14  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Bye Bye Muscle & Fitness - leaving California - going to NY on: October 22, 2010, 04:24:41 PM
American Media Inc. is relocating Muscle & Fitness magazine from California to New York. In associated with the move, AMI has named Seth Kelly editor-in-chief of the magazine as well as editorial director of Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers. Previously, Kelly served as editor of UFC, a magazine AMI launched last year in partnership with Ultimate Fighting Championship. Allan Donnelley will continue to serve as editor-in-chief of Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers.

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- American Media, Inc. (AMI) Chairman, President and CEO, David J. Pecker, announced today that Seth Kelly has been named editorial director for Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers. Kelly will also assume the role of editor in chief of Muscle & Fitness, which will relocate its operations to New York from California. These AMI titles cover the full spectrum of fitness, from exercise to nutrition, and reach an audience of over 8 million men and woman, ranging from those just looking to get back into shape to competitive bodybuilders.

"Seth has been a valuable member of AMI's team since he launched the premiere issue of UFC, the official magazine of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and has served as the magazine's editor in chief," said Mr. Pecker. "We are now excited to have him take the leading role at our enthusiast titles. From his days as an editor at Maxim to editing UFC, Seth has proved he adds a fresh and exciting editorial perspective to any publication he becomes involved with."

Mr. Kelly said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to work on an established portfolio of brands. Muscle & Fitness on its own is a very strong title with a 70 year history. We are going to amp up the workouts, our coverage of nutrition and supplementation, and get our guys stoked about hitting the gym."

Additionally, Allan Donnelley will continue to serve as editor in chief of Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers. 

The transition will be completed by the beginning of 2011 including expansion of the staff.

15  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: PBW Reports the END of Jay Cutler / Weider Relationship! on: January 26, 2010, 09:35:35 AM

Come February 1st, Jay Cutler is going to be signing with MD Magazine. Neither Jay nor MD want to announce it yet, per contractual obligations.  However, lets no spoil MD's thunder with the big announcement on Monday that Jay is now an MD athlete.  This is a business decision.  MD offers more than AMI. There is no one else who is going to pay him more than AMI did. 
16  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / 2010 IFBB Ironman moved to one week before the Arnold on: November 28, 2009, 10:19:59 PM

Sources have indicated that the 2010 Ironman has moved to one week before the Arnold Classic.  Has the contest been saved after all?

17  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / AMI Restructuring Wipes Out David Pecker, no bankruptcy on: February 05, 2009, 10:01:35 PM

After weeks of feverish negotiations, American Media's bondholders yesterday reached a bailout agreement with the publisher of the National Enquirer, Star and Shape, The Post has learned.

The deal cuts $227 million off the company's debt and keeps it out of Chapter 11.

Under the agreement, bondholders who originally put in $600 million will now get only about half that - $342 million in newly issued debt that doesn't come due until 2013.

"It gives us the flexibility and freedom we need to move the company forward," said CEO and chairman David Pecker, who, under the deal, retains his positions but will be dealing with a new board of directors. "This is a new beginning for American Media."

The total debt load drops to $842 million from $1.07 billion. In exchange for rolling over the debt, bondholders will get 95 percent of newly issued stock and will control a new seven-member board that is expected to be named shortly.

Roger Altman's Evercore, which had a 20 percent stake in the company, and Thomas H. Lee Partners, which owned 62 percent of the equity, will see their investments of $200 million and $300 million, respectively, essentially written off.

They and a few other stockholders, including Pecker, will now have to split the remaining 5 percent of the company. New owners now include Angelo Gordon, Avenue Capital Management II Ltd, American High Income Trust, Credit Suisse LLC, and Regiment Capital.

Pecker came to tentative terms with the bondholders last week, after weeks of tense negotiation. Twice last week the deadline to reach an agreement with bondholders had to be extended. Bondholders rejected the original proposal that would have left Evercore and THL Partners in control.

If a deal was not reached by today, it would have put the company in default on its $500 million bank loan covenants and triggered an automatic default and almost certain bankruptcy filing. Pecker had argued that a bankruptcy would have devalued the company even further and diminished the amount of money that could be recouped by any of the lenders.

Brad Pattelli, managing partner of Angelo Gordon & Co., said in a statement, "We are fortunate to be able to put David and the organization in a position to optimize the value of a truly unique collection of assets and brands."

One added wrinkle near the end of the negotiations was the effort by two wholesalers to extract higher fees from publishers to get titles to retailers. The effort threatened to interrupt delivery of some celebrity weeklies to major retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Safeway stores this week.

At press time, it appeared that Star and the National Enquirer would avoid getting snagged and would still find a way to reach wholesalers. Pecker, the one-time top executive at Hachette Filipacchi Media, purchased AMI for $850 million in 1999 and took it private with backing from Evercore.

Thomas H. Lee Partners came on board several years later as an investor when the company bought the old Weider Publications, owners of Shape, Muscle & Fitness and Men's Fitness.

The company hired Bonnie Fuller as a $2-million-a-year editorial director, primarily to convert Star from a supermarket tabloid into a glossy. The National Enquirer also went through a radical overhaul as Pecker tried to staffup with British Fleet Street reporters only to give them all the boot when circulation didn't increase.

National Enquirer and Star publisher American Media has, for all practical purposes, gone bust. Although they left enough wiggle room to declare a successful non-bankruptcy!

You may recall that AMI has been battling bankruptcy rumors for months, after taking on too much debt. Clearly, AMI couldn't afford to pay back what they owe. So now they've come to a resolution: handing 95% of the company over to creditors! Which means that David Pecker and the other investors who bought the company nine years ago have been left a stake that's worth next to nothing. This is, uh, "avoiding" bankruptcy:

The agreement, which reduces the company’s debt by $227.2 million, transfers ownership of 95 percent of AMI’s common stock to bondholders, the company said Sunday evening. CEO David Pecker... and Evercore Partners bought American Media in 1999 for $850 million.

Essentially, AMI's owners just recognized they couldn't pay back their debts and handed the entire company over to its lenders. Do not call this bankruptcy. No word on what the bondholders plan to do yet, but it would be a terrible time to try to sell off the company in pieces. Or as a whole, for that matter

18  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / AMI David Pecker Is Just Threatening Bankruptcy on: December 10, 2008, 01:16:28 PM
AMERICAN Media moved a half step closer to being the next major media company to file for bankruptcy.

On Dec. 1, the publisher of Star magazine and the National Enquirer missed the final deadline to make a $21.2 million interest payment, and is feverishly negotiating with bondholders of $1.1 billion of its debt.

Two industry sources told Media Ink that the company has retained bankruptcy lawyers, suggesting that it could soon be following the path taken earlier this week by Sam Zell's Tribune Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

However, a filing could be avoided if bankers - who have been pressuring the bondholders to give up more of their stake in the company - suddenly come to terms.

Moody's reported that on Dec. 1, American Media entered into a "forbearance agreement" with its lenders and bondholders under which if it fails to pay interest on its 10.25 percent debt, it "would not constitute an immediate event of default under the terms of the notes."

"It sounds like there is a standoff between the bondholders and the bankers," said one source.

If the restructuring deal is approved, it would effectively wipe out stakeholders Evercore Partners and Thomas H. Lee & Partners, and turn over 95 percent of the stock to those holding the debt. The old shareholders would retain just 5 percent of the company under the new transaction.

While the bondholders seemed willing to go along with such an arrangement, bankers wanted bondholders to give up more than the $250 million. They have until Dec. 15 to reach an agreement.

The banks want them to take more than a 40 percent "haircut" under the current restructuring proposal.

The bond-interest payment was actually due on Nov. 1, but the company had a 30-day grace period, which expired Dec. 1.

American Media has always been cash-flow positive, but has had trouble servicing the debt it took on as CEO David Pecker cobbled together the company.

Though the company on Nov. 1 had $34.6 million in cash on hand, which could have satisfied the $21.2 million payment, the company missed the payment with a strategy in mind.

"[Pecker] knew the bondholders were ei ther going to own it, or he's going into bankruptcy, so why make the payment," said one source.

It's not that news of American Media Inc. may be filing for bankruptcy is so shocking. (David Pecker is, after all, carrying $1.1. billion in debt on a company that makes money from magazines, so his ability to pay back his creditors is sort of in … doubt.) But that it's taken AMI so long to publicly acknowledge — at least through leaking to the Post's Keith Kelly — the option for bankruptcy, well, that's the unbelievable part.

Not a month goes by where Kelly isn't talking about Pecker — known to some as the American auto industry's biggest ally — trying to restructure his debt load and make his interest payments. But here's the rub: Now that Sam Zell authorized the floundering Tribune Co. to declare itself bankrupt under Chapter 11, that option is on the table for all media companies, and the shame factor is nil.

Which means Pecker, although he doesn't want to go the Chapter 11 route, can use its possibility as a bargaining tool with the creditors he owes all that cash to. Meaning: Either they can agree to renegotiate payback terms, or he'll ask for a court's protection as he takes his time in digging his way out of this hole.
19  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Weider AMI - Radar Online joint venture on: October 24, 2008, 05:52:58 PM
American Media Inc. and Integrity Multimedia Company Form Joint Venture to Launch a New and Enhanced RadarOnline Web Site

NEW YORK, Oct 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- American Media Inc. (AMI) today announced they are partnering with Integrity Multimedia Company in creating a new company, Radar Online LLC. Integrity Multimedia will make a multi-million dollar investment in to launch it as the ultimate destination for breaking celebrity news and cutting edge pop culture. will be supported by the AMI news organization and its network of hundreds of newsgatherers and thousands of sources. In addition, the Radar Online site will also have its own staff of editors, reporters, photographers and videographers.

In the first of many announcements to be forthcoming, American Media Inc. Chairman and CEO David Pecker said that David Perel, Executive Vice President of AMI News, will leave that position to become managing editor of RadarOnline. At AMI, Mr. Perel was responsible for breaking many of the biggest celebrity stories of the past two decades.

Mr. Pecker commented, "The AMI newsgathering team that David Perel has at his disposal for the new site is unmatched in the celebrity market, as is the access we have to past, present and future pop culture milestones. Our message is simple -- if it's on your radar, it's on Radar Online, and if it's not on your radar, we'll put it there."

Integrity Multimedia Company Chairman Yusef Jackson added, "By teaming with AMI, we will build on what we have already established with Radar while at the same time accelerating the potential for our return on investment. It is a win/win for both partners."

Plans call for to launch a redesigned site in the early part of 2009.

Radarmagazine shut down unceremoniously today?again?but the web site will live on, according to the New York Observer. The site has been acquired by AMI and will be redesigned and rebuilt as a competitor to, with theNational Enquirer's David Pecker as managing editor. The URL will change from "" Founder Maer Roshan says he has been asked to be involved but doesn't think he will; some of the staff may be retained to work on the site. The magazine first launched in 2003.

Roshan told the Observer: "What is so frustrating is that we seemed to have reached a turning point. You're dealing with independent investors and they saw the market and they were fearful about the future." First, he was told Radar would need more investors, then he was he'd have to find them himself. Then, as NYO reports, this morning, they told him it was over. Roshan: "Up until today I thought we could still talk about options for the magazine?in fact, there were no options." Yusef Jackson, the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, was among the backers of this incarnation, the magazine's third. In 2006, he told the NYT there was enough backing to fund the magazine for five years.

Radar magazine will shutter its print edition, while its website has been acquired by AMI and will be re-launched as a competitor to celebrity news site, The New York Observer reported. David Pecker, formerly editor-in-chief at The National Enquirer, will become managing editor of the new site.  Radar editor Maer Roshan told the Observer that some staff may be retained to work on the new website.  Radar first launched in 2003, but did stay in business long before folding; it was re-launched in 2005, but shuttered again by December of that year.  The magazine was launched a third time in 2006 and won several awards before its third demise this week.

20  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Weider AMI - Laya Clark and Chris Scardino in charge! on: October 24, 2008, 05:50:47 PM
American Media Inc. Names Laya Clark and Chris Scardino Executive Vice Presidents & Co-Publishing Directors of AMI's Enthusiast Group of Fitness Titles

NEW YORK, Oct 23, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- David J. Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media Inc. (AMI), today announced that Laya Clark and Chris Scardino, currently Group Publishers of Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazines, have been named Executive Vice Presidents & Co-Publishing Directors of the AMI Enthusiast Group. The Group includes the three publications, their web sites, Mr. Olympia, and all other related events and brand extensions.

Mr. Pecker commented "Laya and Chris have exhibited outstanding leadership qualities since AMI acquired the Weider titles in 2003. In their new role as 'brand champions," they will continue to be responsible for the advertising of the magazines and web sites, as well as overseeing the marketing, public relations and editorial direction the brands will take in the future."

Collectively, Muscle & Fitness, Flex and M&F Hers reach over 8 million readers a month. They are the leading titles for serious fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.

About American Media, Inc.

American Media, Inc. is the leading publisher of celebrity journalism and health and fitness magazines in the U.S. These include Star, Shape, Men's Fitness, Fit Pregnancy, Natural Health, and The National Enquirer. In addition to print properties, AMI manages 14 different web sites. The company also owns Distribution Services, Inc., the country's #1 in-store magazine merchandising company.

21  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Shakeup at Weider Publications - Peter McGough on: October 24, 2008, 10:05:58 AM

Peter McGough, editor of the magazines of Muscle & Fitness and Flex Magazine, in no longer with the company.  He will be missed.

22  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Re: HAHA Romano makes Kamali meltdown and threaten to ruin him on: September 16, 2008, 04:38:08 PM
Why was the scoresheets not available right away? Why did they call King Kamali out out in the first callout and everyone in the audience said that King should be in the top five, and he isnt.  How did Joel Stubbs beat King Kamali?  

Did they change the scoresheets to bring Darrem Charles into the Mr. Olympia?  

Toney Freeman should of been 3rd!
Darrem Charles should of been 4th!
King Kamali should of been 5th!

King was NEVER compared to Toney Freeman? How can that be? Is this fair?

Ask King about what happened?
Ask Toney about what happened?

They know the truth!

But what can you do?

23  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / Let the Weider boys keep their Press Passes! on: September 11, 2008, 01:53:07 PM

You know what, let Weider keep their precious press passes, they will all be on the unemployment line next year anyway and this will be a moot point.

Jeez. Chic is getting his info 3rd hand. He doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. He's just acting like the good old company boy he is trying to make his keepers look good.

Since when is anybody above criticism? The venue does suck. As usual the Weider boys have a problem with the truth. Overall though, we gave their show better coverage before, during and after than they did. That's a fact. I've also done nothing but praise Robin Chang for the job he does.

The bottom line is, apart from the production personnel we need to cover their show, passes of some kind should also be given to our contemporaries of Peter McGough, Alan Donnally, Joe and Ben Weider, David Pecker, etc. Oh, wait, that's right, they are not our contemporaries, our parent company isn't filing bankruptcy. Silly me.

by John Romano
24  Getbig Main Boards / Gossip & Opinions / 2008 Houston Pro Bodybuilding? Are you serious? on: June 02, 2008, 06:14:00 PM

9 competitors for a high profile IFBB contest? Tell me that this is not the list? Where is the real list?

Fouad Abiad - Canada
Ray Arde - USA
Eric Castagnet - France
Aiman Faour - Lebanon
Leo Ingram - USA
Ken Jones - USA
Evgeny Mishin - Russia
Daniele Seccarecci - Italy
Heinz Senior - Venezuela
25  Getbig Misc Too Board / 2009 IFBB Contests Info & Threads / NY Pro: Kai Greene out of the New York Pro, or just not in shape? on: May 08, 2008, 02:24:46 PM
Seems to me that the reports say that Kai Greene is not in shape for the New York Pro and will disappoint the fans.  I hope that is not true, as I expect to see Kai in the same great physique he was at the Arnold Classic. 

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