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Co-founders step back as Pollstar announces move to LA

Gary Bongiovanni is to retire, and Gary Smith to continue in an advisory role, following a move to southern California for the US trade title

By IQ on 01 Jun 2018

Azoff, Leiweke and Gary Smith at VenuesNow 2017

Azoff, Leiweke and Gary Smith at VenuesNow 2017

image © Venues Today/VenuesNow

Pollstar co-founders Gary Smith and Gary Bongiovanni are to scale back their involvement with the US concert business magazine, ahead of an impending relocation to Los Angeles after 37 years in Fresno, California.

Editor in chief Bongiovanni will retire this month, while former CEO Gary Smith will remain with the magazine in an advisory capacity, owner Oak View Group (OVG) has announced.

OVG – the venue development and investment vehicle founded by ex-AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and former Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff – bought Pollstar last July.

“When Gary and I founded this publication, we set out to revolutionise the quality of data available to those who make their living in the live entertainment industry, and we accomplished that goal,” says Smith. “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the next era in the history of Pollstar, building on that legacy with the team at OVG.”

Former Billboard reporter Ray Waddell, now president of the OVG Media & Conferences division, which includes Pollstar, adds: “Pollstar built a remarkable media brand in Fresno, synonymous with credible live entertainment business news and industry data, and perfectly positioned for growth in influence and relevance.

“Relocating Pollstar’s HQ to the epicentre of the live music business is the right move at the right time”

“I couldn’t be more excited about the team we have in place as we remain focused on becoming an even more powerful tool for those in the business of live entertainment and facilities.”

The relocation, which begins immediately, will “necessitate staffing transitions and reorganisation”, according to a statement from OVG. In a Celebrity Access articlePollstar’s former news editor, Joe Reinartz estimates that, of the 50 staff based in the Fresno office, “about 12 will remain on the OVG payroll”.

OVG says the “editorial, technology and box-office staff, the latter two led by CTO Dan Martin and box office manager Brad Rogers [sic], respectively, will remain largely unaffected”.

“Live is leading the way in the music business in terms of popularity, revenue and career development, and the majority of the most influential [US] agencies, promoters and managers are based in southern California,” comments OVG CEO Leiweke. “We are reacting to this robust market by investing significant resources in growing Pollstar across all metrics: editorial influence, superior data and global reach.

“Relocating Pollstar’s HQ to the epicentre of the live music business is the right move at the right time.”


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