Stab Magazine | Surfer Mag's Parent Company Cuts It Staff In Half
987 Views

Surfer Mag’s Parent Company Cuts It Staff In Half

With sale looming, half of Surfer’s staff is cut, as The Enthusiast Network reels.

news // Mar 7, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tragic news in the world of surf media.

The Enthusiast Network, which comprises a multitude of action sports publications, including Surfer Magazine, Transworld Skate/Snow, and formerly Surfing Magazine, is in the process of being purchased by American Media.

American Media is a publishing group that owns titles such as Men’s Journal, Radar, US Weekly and more famously The National Enquirer.

According to sources within the Carlsbad complex, all TEN employees received an email on Tuesday calling for a mandatory meeting on Jan 31. Employees were given one of two time-slots, which were not in relation to the publication they worked for but rather whether or not they would be fired.

The email did not preemptively disclose which time slot was for the layoffs and which was for the to-be-retained employees, so rumors ran amok. Was 11:30 the good group to be in, or the bad one?

One TEN worker summed up the office atmosphere thusly:

“It was like you were either being sent to the gas chambers, or you’d get to live another day.”

All up, more than 50 percent of TEN’s staff was culled, which was reportedly part of the deal between TEN and AM. In other words, if TEN wanted to be bought by AM, they’d have to slash a significant number of employees first.

Included in the termination was the renowned South African photojournalist, and the magazine’s longtime Photo Editor, Grant Ellis, who spent nearly two decades under the Surfer Mag banner, and worked through its most successful years, often putting out 200+ page mags each month through the mid-’00s.

Writer Ben Waldron, sales manager Brent Reilly, and long-time publisher Tony Perez were also reportedly laid off from Surfer’s staff, along with dozens more employees from TEN’s other publications.

“It was shocking,” said a source from the Carlsbad office. “It was like the whole building got the air sucked out of it.”

This is not the first time TEN has issued massive layoffs to its publications. In February of 2016, TEN released a sizable portion of its staff, including the complete dissolution of the 50+ year publication Surfing Magazine.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UpgFYA55ktU

This all points to the same inherent issue: it’s incredibly difficult to monetize media in today’s digital marketplace. According to a source within TEN, they had only one publication in the black for 2018, and the company lost more than a million dollars overall.

TEN’s only other profitable entity is the Dew Tour, whose contract is set to run out soon with little chance of a re-up

So what might American Media see in TEN, from a financial standpoint? According to our source, AM has no interest in investing any money into the business. Apparently it’s a “slash and burn” acquisition, with AM buying TEN for cheap and making a quick buck by selling the action sports titles individually.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/l9Pb1t4t9TE

In the past people have tried to buy Surfer Mag and make it a privately-owned publication, but TEN reportedly wouldn’t budge—the magazine has often been referred to as the group’s Crown Jewel and, wanting to maintain as much company value as possible while looking for a buyer, the company was obviously hesitant to sell off their most prized and iconic title. 

With American Media poised to take over Surfer, and seeing as how they might be looking to sell off titles one by one, we wonder if some wealthy benefactor might swoop in and save “The Bible of Surfing” from the quicksand that is Corporate Media.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023

20:37

“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023

38:24

The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023

“I’m Not A Big Wave Guy”

How Kai Paula accidentally made his mark at Jaws three weeks after surfing it for…

Jan 24, 2023

Everyone Went.

A toes in the sand, phone in the lagoon account of the 10th Eddie Aikau…

Jan 24, 2023

Breaking: Another CT Rookie Injured Before First Event

Sophie McCulloch pulls out of Pipeline due to Snapper Rocks snafu.

Jan 23, 2023

23:26

Watch: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers

Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film. 

Jan 23, 2023
Advertisement