Bob Guccione Jr. has had a remarkable life, and he will be talking about his many adventures at the Dinner + Talk at the Hotel Fauchère on March 11.
Guccione is an internationally renowned publisher, editor, and writer. He has had many gigs in his life, first with the launch of Spin magazine, later with Gear magazine, then with Discover, a science magazine. His current venture is the online travel publication Wonderlust .
What is the connective tissue was among these seemingly disparate ventures?
“Storytelling," he said. "After all, that’s what all good journalism is.”
Guccione was born in Manhattan but grew up in London and later returned to Manhattan to work for his father, Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse magazine. Though Guccione Jr. ran the marketing and circulation department and was the heir apparent, he left to establish his own brand, which has become quite distinctive.
Spin was a mixture of politics, social issues, and music. Under Guccione's leadership, Spin developed a reputation for publishing award-winning investigative journalism. It also was the only mainstream pop culture magazine to include a monthly column on AIDS, which at the time was very controversial.
“Spin usurped Rolling Stone as the dominant pop culture publication for 18- to 24-year-olds," Guccione said. That's a generation younger than the readers of Rolling Stone.
Guccione understands controversy and is not afraid to speak his mind.
Spin covered the Atlanta child murders, published the first article on crack-cocaine, and "even embedded a reporter inside the IRA,” Guccione says, proudly.
He reflects on his days at Spin with some nostalgia. “There was a time when good journalism really mattered," he said.
He had actually received many death threats at that time. “But now," he said, "people have become anesthetized and complacent because we have so devalued the currency of information and intellectual thought.”
In 1997, Guccione sold Spin and in 1998 launched Gear, a critically acclaimed young men’s pop culture magazine, which he sold in 2003 after it reached a circulation of 500,000.
In 2005, Guccione’s interests turn to science. He bought Discover, a science magazine from Disney, which covered science, technology, medicine, and the future. The magazine had a paid circulation of over 700,000 monthly.
Guccione stepped into the digital world in 2017 with a new, exciting online travel publication, which he is currently producing.
It features fascinating articles about exotic places and ideas related to travel.
"It’s a travel publication with a sense of humor," Guccione said.
Check out "The Best Restaurant in Italy is a Drug Rehab Center" and "The Bird Singing Club of Singapore" at wonderlusttravel.com.
Bob Guccione Jr. is a very sophisticated man-of-the-world. He has lectured at various universities, was a frequent host of CNBC’s Talk Live, and a frequent Op Ed contributor to the LA Times, Billboard, and other publications. Audiences should be prepared for a charming raconteur, with a terrific sense of humor, and a twinkle in his eye.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the correct Wonderlust Travel web page, which was incorrect in the original. The Courier regrets the error.
“There was a time when good journalism really mattered. But now, people have become anesthetized and complacent because we have so devalued the currency of information and intellectual thought.” --Bob Guccione Jr.