Reed TV trades merge operations

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NEW YORK -- Reed Business Information is merging operations at two of its television-industry trade publications, dropping six employees, including Broadcasting and Cable editor in chief J. Max Robins.

The publishing company said Monday that B&C and sister brand Multichannel News would jointly refocus their efforts online. Both publications are expected to continue maintaining separate print and online identities, but a RBI spokeswoman declined comment on their long-term plans.

Multichannel editor in chief Tom Steinert-Threlkeld will be the editorial director of the combined editorial team. Robins, a former TV Guide columnist who topped the B&C masthead for the past 3 1⁄2 years, will hand over the reins to executive editor Mark Robichaux.

B&C managing editor Susan Qualtrough and Los Angeles bureau co-chief Jim Benson also are among the pink-slipped employees.

Insiders at RBI noted that layoffs were long expected at the publications given their overlapping editorial agendas and the dwindling number of advertising pages.

But RBI released a statement sticking by its brands.

"B&C and Multichannel News are vibrant, healthy and profitable brands that we are committed to growing," said Jeff DeBalko, president of Reed Television Group and chief Internet officer at Reed Business Interactive.

A five-person group was put in place to spearhead the publications' online focus. B&C deputy editor Joel Topcik will become online news editor for that magazine, and Multichannel deputy news editor David Cohen will switch to Web editor for B&C. An executive editor of online operations will be announced later.
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