CIRCUS Magazine Is No More

According to Gawker.com, long-running rock publication Circus has closed its doors. Circus Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gerald Rothberg has sent the following magazine-closure e-mail to the publication's contributors:

"It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss that I must inform you that I've experienced great financial loss, which includes Circus magazine. Over the last year, I've tried my best to hold on to Circus mag, selling all my personal possessions, including my home, pumping the money into the mag. And I've lost all. I've held off contacting people because of the shame and humiliation I've experienced. I'm broke. I feel like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall.

"Circus magazine is in foreclosure. Will the magazine be resurrected? I don't know. If it will appear on the newsstands again, we'll find out. Let me say this now, I appreciate and I am grateful your contributions all these years and wish all my freelance contributors the best of health and success."

According to RockCritics.com, Rothberg started Circus in 1966 under the title Hullabaloo. In the almost 40 years since, Circus has been many different kinds of music publication. It started out as a general interest rock magazine, running stories on classic rockers such as the DOORS, GENESIS, and GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. Later, Rothberg realized that his target audience — teen boys — loved to read about their favorite rock stars over and over, month after month. So when a band like KISS hit, they were one of Circus's biggest cover stars. Circus covered all kinds of rock and pop music but always featured a large number of heavy metal and hard rock bands in its pages.

Following an unpopular move to a pop culture weekly in the mold of People in the late '70s, Rothberg went back to a monthly format and started to get back to the hard rock and heavy metal stars that made his magazine sales soar. Rothberg's lean toward those kind of acts paid off big time in the '80s when the hair metal explosion hit. Month in and month out, it was DEF LEPPARD, VAN HALEN, and BON JOVI on the covers. The hair metal years in the '80s were Rothberg's most profitable for Circus. When grunge hit in the '90s, Circus got confused and lost its focus (even putting rappers ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT on the cover one month — and getting tons of hate mail in the process).

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