BOB GARFIELD: This is On the Media. I'm Bob Garfield. At Esquire, The Village Voice, the short-lived New West, the short-lived Manhattan Inc. and the even shorter lived East Side Express, Clay Felker was one of the most successful – and unsuccessful – editors of the 20th century. Known best for creating New York Magazine in 1968, he not only struck a template that would inform scores of both monthly city magazines and alt weeklies, he also cultivated a galaxy of journalism stars, Nicholas Pileggi, Dick Schaap, Mimi Sheraton and Tom Wolfe among them.
He also discovered – me, sort of - hidden in plain sight at USA Today. Late in his career, Felker hired me to do humor columns for Adweek Magazine. Those pieces were, mm, let's say, ordinary. But when I was offered a job to write a feature column for rival Ad Age, Felker spent a whole night trying to talk me out of it.
I listened carefully and then took the job, a gig that led to parallel careers as advertising critic and – never mind the details – radio journalist. So, I suppose, Felker was wrong. But, as so often in his storied career, he was wrong with a passion. Clay Felker died Tuesday. He was 82.