By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Peter Kadzis and the Phoenix

Peter Kadzis put my career back on track twice.

In 1991 he hired me as a copy editor at the Boston Phoenix, a job I had never done before at any level, never mind at a paper as large and prestigious as the Phoenix. Without that break, I’m sure I would have left the business: I was 34, with our first child on the way, and working as production manager at the Pilot, of all places, after a failed attempt at launching a magazine in Boston’s northern and northwestern suburbs. (Not that there’s anything wrong with working for the Pilot, but it was an odd place for a non-Christian to be.)

Then, in 1994, the Phoenix’s media critic, Mark Jurkowitz, left. Although I had worked as the paper’s managing editor and news editor, Peter knew I wanted to switch to a writing position. He took a chance, and I embarked on what would prove to be an 11-year run.

Now Kadzis is changing positions, as you may have heard, moving up from editor of the Phoenix to executive editor of the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, a post that will enable him to plan strategy for the three Phoenix papers, the magazine Stuff@Night, and the FNX radio stations. The new editor of the Boston Phoenix will be associate editor Bill Jensen, whom I do not know well (he joined the staff just as I was leaving), but who gets good reviews from my former colleagues.

Kadzis will continue to be a strong presence at the Phoenix, so this isn’t a farewell tribute. But people should understand that the Phoenix is as strong today as it is editorially because of his vision. More than anything, what stands out in my mind is his refusal to give up on a story. There was always another rewrite to be done, always another source to be called. He could drive us crazy sometimes, but it made all of us better journalists. I consider him a mentor and a friend.

Below is the complete text of a press release put out by the Phoenix earlier this week announcing not just Kadzis’ and Jensen’s promotions, but a number of other moves as well:

Brad Mindich, Executive Vice-President of the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, today announced an internal reorganization of top management within the group’s newspaper, radio, and online operations that will affect sales, editorial, and in-house operations.

In addition, Mindich also reorganized the overall management structure of some of the group’s technology-focused properties. “The idea,” said Mindich, “is to bring together all of the talented resources we have in the organization across the board so we can maximize our flexibility and creativity as we continue to grow.”

On January 1, 2007, Mindich will become President of the PM/CG, replacing long-time President and Chief Operating Officer H. Barry Morris, whose year-end retirement was announced in late March. Morris, 62, has been with the PM/CG since 1970. He began as an advertising sales representative at the Phoenix’s predecessor, Boston After Dark and rose through the ranks to become the newspaper’s Sales Director before being named president of the PM/CG in 1985.

Mindich, 38, is the son of Boston Phoenix founder and publisher Stephen Mindich, chairman of the PM/CG.

The Boston Phoenix, the oldest and perhaps best known of the PM/CG family of companies, is — like all of the PM/CG — family-owned and privately held.

“The Boston Phoenix is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary later this year. As we all know, the media world is moving very quickly, and the companies that can adapt early — and, in some cases, first — to the way users consume content are the ones who will continue to thrive. This reorganization is designed so we, at the PM/CG, can continue to do just that,” said Brad Mindich. “I’m inheriting an extraordinary legacy and am excited — and more than a bit daunted — at the idea of steering our newspapers, radio stations, Web sites, and our mobile and other operations into the future. But fortunately, we have many extraordinarily talented people across all areas of the PM/CG, so expect great things from us during the next 40 years.”

All told, Mindich announced 13 changes at six of the media group’s companies. Among the significant appointments:

— Andy Kingston, who goes from General Manager of the WFNX Radio Network to become Senior Vice-President of the Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Kingston will be responsible for the operations of all PM/CG radio (WFNX, WPHX, WFEX) and online outlets (,, and business operations of all newspapers (the Boston Phoenix, Providence Phoenix, Portland Phoenix) and magazines (Stuff@Night, the Bruins yearbook, the Celtics Yearbook, Boston Marathon Official Guide, Tweeter Center Guide, Bank of American Pavilion Guide).

Speaking of his new role Kingston said, “I am a very big fan of all our media companies. We are unique in that decades ago we found ways to reach out to a community of young, intelligent adults defined by their active lifestyles and desire to be ahead of the mainstream. Through the years, we have found ways to grow the PM/CG and interact with this large and vital community by using many different platforms while maintaining the integrity of our editorial content and programming. I see first hand that we have major opportunities in the years ahead and am thrilled that Brad Mindich has chosen me to help him position our media companies to take advantage of them.”

— Peter Kadzis, who goes from being Editor of the Boston Phoenix to become Executive Editor of the PM/CG. Kadzis will be responsible for the editorial content of the three newspapers, Stuff@Night magazine, and, as well as for coordinating feature and news operations with the FNX Radio Network.

Said Kadzis, “In my 18 years at the Phoenix, I’ve helped extend our style of journalism from Boston into Providence and Portland and onto the Web. Now my job is to synthesize the many into a new whole, to forge a stronger regional and national presence. The Web will allow the PM/CG to combine the immediacy and intimacy of broadcast with the depth and impact of print. It’s a new and challenging future.”

— Bill Jensen, who goes from being Associate Editor of the Boston Phoenix to become Editor of the Boston Phoenix. Jensen will be responsible for the day-to-day and week-to-week operations of the Boston Phoenix, the PM/CG flagship and one of the nation’s oldest and best-known alternative weeklies.

Jensen said: “As a newspaper, the Phoenix is incredibly strong. My charge is to maintain that level of excellence and introduce new features that will continue to keep the paper relevant, while at the same time creating a must-read Web presence. The Phoenix will continue to tell compelling stories — the story will always be king — but with the Web, we’re enhancing those stories in ways that new and younger readers now expect. These are exciting days in media. But we can’t just roll with changes, we have to lead with change.”

Of his son being poised to take over control of the companies he founded, Stephen Mindich, said:

“When I founded the Phoenix, rock and roll and the movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War were revolutionizing society. Today it is the media business that is in the middle of its own revolution. It’s reassuring to know that we have the right mix of talent — of seasoned experience and more youthful ambition — under our roof to carry all the Phoenix companies into the 21st century. To say that I’m proud that my son, Brad, is leading the charge is an understatement. And anyone who knows me, knows I’m not prone to understatement.”

Of continuity in terms of editorial mission and advertising strategy, Brad Mindich said:

“Phoenix core values are a constant: we believe in crusading journalism, progressive politics, and the intensive coverage of traditional and pop culture. Our aim is to deliver to print, radio, and online advertisers an audience of young, well-educated, and activist readers and listeners who — because they are single — have disposable income.”

The full text of Brad Mindich’s e-mail to the PM/CG detailing all of the changes follows.

“A couple of months ago, I announced Barry’s retirement from the PM/CG at the end of this year. As part of this ongoing transition process, I am pleased to announce several exciting — and well-deserved — promotions and changes within the PM/CG structure.

“Although all of these changes will happen now, the full impact of them will occur at the end of the year when reporting structures change.

“Andy Kingston: from GM, FNX Radio Network to Senior Vice-President, PM/CG

“Peter Kadzis: from Editor of the Boston Phoenix to Executive Editor, PM/CG

“Bill Jensen: from Associate Editor, Boston Phoenix to Editor, Boston Phoenix

“Bill Risteen: from Sales Director, Print Media to Vice-President of Print Media Sales, PM/CG

“Michael Bornhorst: from Associate Director of Sales, Print Division to Vice-President, Marketing and Business Development, PM/CG

“Everett Finkelstein: from National Sales Director, Print to Vice-President of National Print Sales, PM/CG

“Dick Gooding: from GM, Mass Web Printing to Vice-President, Mass Web Printing

“David Dinnage: from President, People2People Group to Vice-President of Operations, PM/CG

“Kathleen Parrish: from HR Manager, PM/CG to HR Director, PM/CG

“Travis Ritch: from Production Manager, Boston Phoenix to Corporate Production Manager, PM/CG

“Tory Williams: appointment as President, People2People Group

“Adam Segel: from GM, People2People Group to Vice-President, People2People Group

“In addition to the promotions within the company, we will also be recruiting some additions to the PM/CG family to allow us to pursue new opportunities and continue our growth as a converged media organization. I will let you know as we begin to finalize these details.

“Please join me in congratulating everyone and thanks to all of you for your continued commitment and dedication.”

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  1. tony schinella

    I’ve met Peter a couple of times. He is a good guy and the company will be in good hands upstairs with him at the helm. I continue to be impressed by the Phoenix and think that its in-depth front section is one of the better ones in the Northeast. Even though I don’t live in Boston any longer, I still give a damn what happens there and thankfully, the company continues to be a hard-hitting source of news and culture.

  2. Anonymous

    Dan, what do you make of Stephen Mindich putting his son Brad a “VP”?I know you have allegiance’s there….but this is nepotism at it’s best!I can’t imagine that his son is the “best qualified” for the job….Thoughts?

  3. Anonymous

    PMCG is a private business, so Stephen can do what he likes. He has always planned to pass the business to his son, best qualified or not.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Let me add to what Anon 10:40 just said. There is plenty of reason to believe that private ownership of news organizations can have many benefits — and such ownership is defined by nepotism.Nepotism can be good, as it has been at the Washington Post and — some reservations about Arthur Sulzberger Jr. aside — the New York Times. (To name two papers that are publicly owned yet privately run.) The loss of nepotism can be very bad, as it has been at the Los Angeles Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal.I would certainly rather the Phoenix stay in the family than see Stephen sell out to a bottom-feeder like New Times. And Brad is pretty sharp.

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