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|Former editors||Tony Gervino, Bill Werde, Ken Schlager|
|Total circulation||17,000 magazines per week
15.2 million unique visitors per month
|Founder||William Donaldson and James Hennegan|
|Year founded||November 1, 1894(as Billboard Advertising)|
Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events and style. It is also known for its music charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular singles and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows. Billboard was founded in 1894 by William Donaldson and James Hennegan as a trade publication for bill posters. Donaldson later acquired Hennegen's interest in 1900 for $500.
In the 1900s, it covered the entertainment industry, such as circuses, fairs and burlesque shows. It also created a mail service for travelling entertainers. Billboard began focusing more on the music industry as the jukebox, phonograph and radio became commonplace. Many topics it covered were spun-off into different magazines, including Amusement Business in 1961 to cover outdoor entertainment so that it could focus on music. After Donaldson died in 1925, Billboard was passed down to his children and Hennegan's children, until it was sold to private investors in 1985, and has since been owned by various parties.
The first issue of Billboard was published in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 1, 1894 by William Donaldson and James Hennegan. Initially, it covered the advertising and bill posting industry and was called Billboard Advertising. At the time, billboards, posters and paper advertisements placed in public spaces were the primary means of advertising. Donaldson handled editorial and advertising, while Hennegan, who owned Hennegan Printing Co., managed magazine production. The first issues were just eight pages long. The paper had columns like "The Bill Room Gossip" and "The Indefatigable and Tireless Industry of the Bill Poster." A department for agricultural fairs was established in 1896. The title was changed to The Billboard in 1897.
After a brief departure over editorial differences, Donaldson purchased Hennegan's interest in the business in 1900 for $500, to save it from bankruptcy. That May, Donaldson changed it from a monthly to a weekly paper with a greater emphasis on breaking news. He improved editorial quality and opened new offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London and Paris. He also re-focused the magazine on outdoor entertainment like fairs, carnivals, circuses, vaudeville and burlesque shows. A section devoted to circuses was introduced in 1900, followed by more prominent coverage of outdoor events in 1901.Billboard also covered topics including regulation, a lack of professionalism, economics and new shows. It had a "stage gossip" column covering the private lives of entertainers, a "tent show" section covering traveling shows and a sub-section called "Freaks to order." According to The Seattle Times, Donaldson also published news articles "attacking censorship, praising productions exhibiting 'good taste' and fighting yellow journalism."
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