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Group buys Baltimore Magazine Obrecht promises change at pioneer of city magazines.


An article in Friday's Sun about the sale of Baltimore Magazine said that David Whitmore would be the magazine's new art director. Mr. Whitmore is be art director of the magazine's parent company.

* The Sun regrets the error.

A group led by Susan Souders Obrecht, the publisher of Mid-Atlantic Country magazine, has purchased Baltimore Magazine, a 50,000-circulation monthly, from Capital-Gazette Communications Inc. of Annapolis.

Jonathan Witty, former editor of the Towson Times, previously owned by Ms. Obrecht, has been named the magazine's editor and associate publisher.

Mr. Witty replaces Stanley Heuisler, who was editor of the magazine for 16 years. Mr. Heuisler says he will remain with Capital-Gazette as its director of corporate development, investigating publishing opportunities.

Avery Stirratt, formerly an advertising manager at Cosmopolitan magazine, has been appointed advertising director and associate publisher of Baltimore Magazine. He replaces Cecilia George, who also will remain with Capital-Gazette.

David Whitmore, formerly art director for Dossier magazine in Washington, will take over as Baltimore Magazine's art director.

Ms. Obrecht, chairman and chief executive of ESS Ventures Inc., previously owned the Times Publishing Group, which published four weeklies, the Towson Times, the Owings Mills Times, the Baltimore Messenger and the Jeffersonian.

She sold the chain to Patuxent Publishing in 1988.

Ms. Obrecht says she plans to revamp Baltimore Magazine by August or September, including a change of paper, a different use of color and, possibly, changing column widths and typefaces. "I think it needs a redesign and uplift," she says.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

One of Ms. Obrecht's backers is Southeast Publishing Ventures Inc. of Charlotte, N.C. Robert Garrett, the chairman of the investment group, is a former board member of the A.S. Abell Co., the owner of the Baltimore Sun before it was sold to Times Mirror in 1986. Reg Murphy, a former publisher of the Baltimore Sun Co., is also a director of Southeast Publishing.

Baltimore Magazine, founded in 1907, is the oldest city magazine in the country.

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