Towson attorney and entrepreneur Michael Hodes and a partner said yesterday that they have agreed to purchase Maryland Magazine, a publication founded by the state of Maryland but spun off to the private sector in 1992.
Mr. Hodes and Charles Nabit, who is president of several local health care businesses, bought the 30,000-circulation magazine for an undisclosed price. The seller was Magazine Works, the company that took over the bimonthly magazine from Maryland's Department of Economic and Employment Development.
"The magazine did not have a single ad in it in 1992," Mr. Hodes said. "These people have taken it from the point where it had no revenue to basically a break-even operation. Our goal is to make it profitable."
M. Hirsh Goldberg, a veteran Baltimore public relations executive who was press secretary to Gov. Harry Hughes, will edit Maryland Magazine. The September/October issue will be the first produced by the new regime. Middle- and lower-level staffers will be retained.
"We're going to keep the concept the way it is, but we're going to make it a lot more people-oriented," Mr. Hodes said. "It's a beautiful, picturesque magazine, but it lacks people."
That mission would put the revitalized journal more squarely in competition with Baltimore magazine, which itself was recently sold to Timonium comic book distributor Stephen Geppi.
Baltimore editor Ramsey Flynn said the bigger magazine is ready. "One of the things that's very tough for a state magazine in Maryland . . . is that unlike a state like Texas, it's difficult to make the case that Maryland has a coherent sense of itself," Mr. Flynn said.
He said people in counties closer to Washington identify with that city and are more likely to continue to get Washingtonian magazine than a statewide Maryland competitor. In Central Maryland, he said, Baltimore is confident that it can compete with an upgraded Maryland Magazine.
Mr. Hodes owns two radio stations and opened a public relations agency earlier this year. He said he will reach out to the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland to find business, and will use his radio station and public relations agency to lower the magazine's cost of finding subscribers and advertisers.
"It won't just be about the big shots," Mr. Hodes said, contending Baltimore focuses so heavily on well-known people that it leaves an opening for his magazine. "I think everyone is tired of the Top Ten of this, or the Best Whatevers."