Midas touch editor Bonnie Fuller worked miracles on newsstands by turning around the fortunes of such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Star and Us Weekly before launching successful celebrity news website HollywoodLife.com. Now she is taking on a very different challenge.
Fuller, 58, next aims to conquer the podcast market by putting herself front and center as host of the recently launched “HollywoodLife” podcast, and in the process further boost her thriving website’s audience. But she admits it will be tough.
“Most things don’t come easy. A lot of people think a magic wand creates success, but I don’t have one of those and working hard is the key, especially in the digital media age where the news cycle never switches off,” she said.
The podcast aims to capitalize on the young female audience of her site, which drew more than 260 million unique visitors last year, a 61 percent increase from the year before. Its YouTube channel has 600,000 subscribers and has recorded 328 million views since it launched 2½ years ago.
“When I came in five years ago I didn’t imagine we would grow to this size,” said Fuller, whose site has offices in Los Angeles and New York. “It’s very gratifying, especially as this was a startup brand, which was new territory for me. … Plus this was a step into new media.”
The weekly free podcast, which launched in January, has seen its audience grow to 350,000 after six episodes, good enough for a top 25 slot in its iTunes category.
It is being marketed around the authority, connections and personality of Fuller – who is billed as “BFF of the stars” – and sees the host not just reporting on celebrities but interviewing them, too. Guests so far have included pop singers Lance Bass, Victoria Justice and Christina Milian.
Her new project, which is also carried on L.A. advertiser-supported podcast company PodcastOne, is the talk of the local podcast and radio scene, where opinions vary on her performance.
“She still has some way to go to find her voice so that she can become as much of a genius at the microphone as she is in the newsroom,” said L.A. radio personality Langdon Bosarge, host of popular podcast “Langdon Nation,” who said he had listened to the podcast and found it had grown from its early episodes, when it “seemed like a more saccharine version of TMZ.”
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