Backpacker Announces New Publisher

Michael Byrne promoted in AIM Outdoor Group reorganization that also elevates Rob Wood (National Parks division) and Elizabeth Averbeck (Trade division).
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Boulder, CO: Active Interest Media’s Outdoor Group today announced the promotion of Michael Byrne to Publisher of Backpacker magazine. Byrne had been Backpacker’s National Advertising Director since 2010, and previously managed Western sales territories after starting at the brand as the Midwest Manager in 2007. Before that, he had successful management stops at companies such as Rodale & Gannett. Additionally, Byrne worked as a Media Manager at Starcom Worldwide, managing brands such as Canon and Miller Brewing Co. “AIM believes in cultivating and advancing great talent internally, and Mike is a terrific example of that,” said group vice president Jonathan Dorn. “He has led the day-to-day charge for Backpacker as it doubled its event and new-media revenue, and he brings a unique blend of nonendemic savvy, core outdoor credibility, and travel expertise. Above all, he is a passionate gatekeeper for the brand’s 3 million monthly readers, event attendees, and unique site visitors—he knows what our audience wants and articulates those needs to our advertising partners in creative ways.”

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Backpacker brand at this very exciting point in time,” said Byrne. “Not only do we continue to see strong growth in our traditional delivery formats like print, online, and events, but we are also developing some of the publishing industry’s most innovative and engaging digital editions and apps. Now more than ever, we have the ability to connect brands with our passionate audience in a variety of ways,” said Byrne, who will continue to be based in Chicago.

The Outdoor Group also announced the promotions of two other senior sales managers.

  • Rob Wood becomes Director of Sales and Marketing for the National Park Trips division, in charge of all revenue and marketing operations. Serving an annual audience of 2.8 million active travelers, National Park Trips is a suite of Western travel magazines and websites for tourists visiting Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. On average, 65% of its readers will visit a park within a year of reading our magazines or accessing information from our websites or tablet editions.
  • Elizabeth Averbeck becomes Director of Sales and Marketing for the Trade division of the Outdoor Group, in charge of all revenue, membership, and marketing programs. The Trade division includes SNEWS, a subscription website that is the leading B2B news source for the outdoor and fitness industries, and Outdoor Retailer Daily, the official publication of the outdoor industry’s biannual tradeshow.

“Rob and Elizabeth are real stars-in-the-making in their respective industries,” said Dorn. “Working side-by-side with Mike, they give the Outdoor Group a dynamic team of sales leaders representing the most engaged consumers in the outdoor and travel media business.”

About the AIM Outdoor Group

AIM’s Outdoor Group is a blend of consumer and trade publications that reaches 3 million active enthusiasts each month across the trail, climbing, fitness, and ski industries. In addition to Backpacker and Climbing, it publishes SNEWS, Outdoor Retailer Daily, Epic Life (formerly Peaks), Snow Show Daily, and National Park Trips (a group of four magazines and five websites dedicated to Western outdoor travel). Based in Boulder, CO, the Outdoor Group also operates two of the most successful events in the outdoor industry: Backpacker’s annual Adventures NYC festival in Central Park, and Get Out More, a beginner-oriented clinic series that travels to 70 retailers annually.

About Active Interest Media, Inc.

Based in El Segundo, California, Active Interest Media, Inc. (AIM) is a leading publisher of enthusiast magazines, consumer shows, books and Internet sites. AIM’s five publishing groups include Healthy Living, Marine, Home Buyer, Outdoor and the Equine Group. The company publishes 35 magazines, including Yoga Journal, Backpacker, Vegetarian Times, SNEWS, American Cowboy, Log Home Living, Arts & Crafts Homes, Peaks, Dressage, Black Belt, Yachts International, and others. AIM produces and markets conferences, DVDs and books, and produces log-and-timber home shows and seminars. The company also produces the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show®, the largest boat show in the world.

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