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April 17, 2003

The first issue of Radar

Daniel Radosh

The first issue of Radar is out -- I'm a columnist and contributing editor, if you don't know. It's been getting mostly good notices (1, 2, 3, 4) and one less good one. As for the business side of things, your guess is as good as mine. My take editorially: It's a solid first issue of a magazine that will get really great by issue three or four. On a personal level, I'm bummed that my elegant 750-word column, "The Opening Shot," was whittled down to 500 words, making it more a collection of half-funny jokes than a wry essay. But I've been promised that there will be more room for it in the future.

The features and departments are the strongest sections, I think. Other than lending a small hand to the Monsters Inc. package, I didn't work on any of these. The sections in which I'll play the biggest role are the two at the front of the book: Static (short, funny items about news and newsmakers) and In Play (short, funny items about entertainers and entertainment). Both sections are well-conceived (though I hope to tweak In Play a bit) and there are some swell items in them -- Stephen Sherrill's Jackson Family Makeover, The Iron Chef's White Trash Challenge. By the way, I found and sort of wrote up the Gabe Kaplan item on the Fresh Intelligence page (I did NOT add that "Eeek"). He responded to my calls too late to get it onto the page, but the upshot is that he wrote the email in question as a joke, and I'm trying to get him to write something for a future issue. Seriously, how cool would that be?

But anyway -- and here's where you come in -- both these sections need to be sharper and funnier. I want stuff that makes people gasp. How-did-they-think-of-that stuff. As you'll see, our mandate is for fact-based humor. Items that are either 100% true, or that at least spin off from something real in the news. Flip through your old issues of Spy for inspiration. We sure did. Then send your pitches my way. If you have ideas for departments or features, that's great too. I have high hopes for this magazine.

In any case, I'd like to hear your honest opinions about the magazine. What works, what doesn't. I'm appointing myself ear-to-the-ground guy, since unlike the rest of the staff, I'm not holed up in the office there.

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