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Robert Kennedy Publishing Out of Business


Robert Kennedy Publishing (RKP) is out of business and officially closed its doors today. We’ve confirmed with multiple sources that the one time leading publishing company in health and fitness has closed their office and filed bankruptcy.

oxygen-closes-doors

Since the passing of Robert Kennedy, just over a year ago, the bodybuilding, health & fitness publishing company has struggled. Bob Kennedy was great about building relationships and fostering new talent. His passion was unmatched in the world of health & fitness and even when times were tough people stuck by him. Once Bob passed things began to change and it’s no secret to those in the industry that there were rough waters ahead for the staff without Bob behind it.

The news is sad on many levels. We’re told the staff at RKP were not allowed in the building this afternoon and the company has filed bankruptcy. The news caught the staff by surprise and while they knew things were tough they didn’t expect to be out of a job today. We’ve also been informed that the printer has stopped printing the current issues of the magazines and are owed large sums of money by RKP.

There’s always rumors floating around and you hope that they are proven false in time. Sadly this is one rumor that proved true sooner than anyone thought. Since the news broke on twitter today (see tweet below), many contractors have come forward and reported not being paid. Photographers have shared they haven’t been paid for work completed months ago. Models shared with us that they too have been waiting for payment.


Bill Geiger was recently appointed editor-in-chief of Oxygen and was editor-in-chief of Muscle Mag International. He shared via his Facebook page, “Canusa/Robert Kennedy Pubs which produces MuscleMag and Oxygen has gone out of business. Closed its doors. It was great working all the great people on staff and athletes out there. Hope I land on my feet.” Bill was quietly named editor-in-chief after the position was vacated last month. There was no press release announcing his hiring and unfortunately there’s been nothing posted from RKP officially on their sites or social media outlets.

When it comes to what happens next it’s anyone’s guess. Oxygen is a very popular title and it’s likely another publisher will buy the assets and bring it back. Those who are subscribers to the magazines will likely be left out in the cold, at least for now. Subscriptions were where Oxygen excelled and those are valuable assets to a new buyer. Those owed money, will most likely never see a check. The staff has been left displaced and without jobs. Many of them have been at RKP for years. There’s no sense in blaming anyone person for today’s news and it’s an unfortunate situation for all in the fitness industry.

We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available on this story.

About RKP
In 1974, Robert Kennedy started his first magazine, MuscleMag International, at his kitchen table with his friend Johnny Fitness. Fast-forward 38 years and with the continued success of that magazine, joined with Robert’s perseverance, the dream has now evolved into a publishing house with a strong focus on health, fitness, nutrition and lifestyle titles.

Formerly the Canusa Publishing Group, Robert Kennedy Publishing (RKP) currently publishes six highly successful magazines with worldwide circulation. MuscleMag International is still going strong, alongside Oxygen, American Curves, Maximum Fitness, Reps! and most recently, Clean Eating.

Our book publishing department has grown and RKP has published over 53 books with titles emphasizing topics like fitness, health, lifestyle and nutrition.

A lot can be said about a man and his vision. RKP is led by a man who had a vision and grew it into a successful company that continues to grow, producing compelling, inspiring and engaging content that delights its readers.

UPDATE: 7:30PM Central Time from Oxygen Magazine Australia Facebook
RKP closes its doors…

Sadly Robert Kennedy Publishing has filed for bankruptcy in Canada and until new owners are found they have closed their doors. As you would be aware Fitmedia publish three licenced titles from RKP being; Musclemag, Oxygen and Clean Eating. All these titles are growing for us and we have more than enough content to continue delivering these popular magazines to you.

Our production is in NO way affected by the closure in Canada and we will bring more details to you all as soon as they come to hand. Having just had Tosca Reno in Australia for three weeks, we know that her Eat Clean brand is thriving and that there is plenty of goodwill internationally to re-establish the existing RKP titles as we know and love them.

Thoughts are with the Canadian team right now!






Comments

  1. This is a very well written article with a good grasp of who Bob Kennedy was, and of his contribution of the world. I am very pleased to see such a beautiful tribute written, and as a long time friend of Bob’s and one of the many athletes he supported in not only the pages of his magazine but with his kind words and encouragement, it eases the sadness of the situation to see my thoughts echoed in this article

  2. Thanks for the comment Melissa, remember seeing you in the magazines Robert published.

  3. HI Isaac!

    Oh you are the author of the story above? You seem like you know Bob very well!

    Yes Bob was very generous in having me in his magazines and books over the course of the past 15 years. Always positive, always complimentary, just a great all -around guy. With some funny quirks of course! lol

    We had been discussing a sort of “comeback” through his mag about a year or so before he passed, I wasn’t so sure about it just for the sheer fact I had enjoyed a bit of a softer look the past several years, but in retrospect I wish i had jumped at the offer right away when he had first mentioned it. By the time I was convinced to go for it, his health was failing badly.

    I’m using a lot of this sadness to fuel my workouts and get back on my old fitness diet. I find it actually a comfort now, and a great stabilizing factor

    Article was beautiful, thank you for acknowleging Bob’s special qualities in such a concise and succint manner!!! Thats hard to do! lol

  4. Melissa,

    Thanks for taking the time to write. Yes, I wrote the story above and had the good fortune of knowing and working with Bob and his magazines over the years. Albeit a small part compared to others I still cherish the opportunities I had to work with the magazines and the people there.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    Shoot me an email editor @ hardbodynews.com.

  5. Terribly saddened by this news. Unfortunate that the world lost one of it’s great leaders in fitness and now we lose his legacy too. I’ve been a subscriber for over 15yrs and have always found motivation as well as inspirayion. Sadly, we are left to go it on our own. Hopefully a buyer willbe found soon.

  6. Chie Smith says:

    Saddened to hear this news. Especially how it effects the hard working folks (the staff) behind the scenes that make RKP a success as well as all the fitness writers, photographers and models that together create a successful magazine. I have a special collector’s edition January 2013 issue with Lori Harder on the cover that I often refer to. I hope a buyer will be found soon. Thank you for the well written article.

  7. bill trudell says:

    Did Tosca have any role/responsibility in the company? This seems very sudden to have happened in just 1 year.

  8. Brittany says:

    Sad day in fitness. Prayers to Tosca, her family and all the RKP employees left without a job. I’m sure a new buyer won’t be hard to find and hopefully the brand will come back better than ever.

  9. Sad day indeed… bad times for publishing in general.

    Lots of publishers have tried to go exclusively online, but that’s a lot harder to monetize. As a fitness photographer myself, it’s been a long uphill battle to establish myself with quality publications being so few and far between.

    Isaac, what are your thoughts for the future of the industry in general?

    -T-

  10. michele levesque says:

    in shock. never saw that one coming. god bless the Oxygen family

  11. I wouldn’t believe anything that doesn’t come straight from the source, and no one in this article is the source. It’s all just a bunch of noise until we hear something directly from Tosca Reno.

  12. KAlex – It’s very true. Bill Geiger was editor-in-chief of Muscle Mag and Oxygen. He said on ProbodybuildingWeekly last night everything that was mentioned here. It’s not noise and don’t count on hearing anything from Tosca any time soon.

    Ask the 50-60 people who are without a job right now if it’s true or not.

  13. I am really sad that Oxygen is no more. I appreciated they present the models. I have never been hesitant to have my daughters look at healthy, athletic women being motivated and positive. Oxygen is responsible for triggering some of the well-known fitness/bikini athletes to get into the industry. I’d have to say Isaac Hinds that it’s pretty low down to put their business regarding WHO and WHAT didn’t get paíd! They went bankrupt and they closed their doors- is there any explanation needed by you? It shows NO CLASS on your part nor on the part of this website’s administrator. Robert Kennedy Publishing, the late Robert Kennedy, Tosca Reno, their family and staff deserve more respect than this from you and Hardbody.com.

  14. I meant to say I appreciated how the models were presented.

  15. Mia,
    Thanks for the comment however I never mentioned WHO didn’t get paid. If you were a model, photographer or writer for the publications you’d probably have a much different take on that. Yes, there is explanation needed and I never mentioned who the people were. You’d be SHOCKED how many people have emailed me since this story looking for information on how to get paid.

    If you were a writer being told for months that you were going to be paid soon and yet never were would you be happy? If you were a photographer who was owed THOUSANDS of dollars, would you be happy? Highly doubtful.

    The former editor-in-chief has publicly talked about money being owed, yet the owner hasn’t and likely never will. What about the 50-60 people who were left jobless with no mention of it on the day it happened? There’s very much more behind-the-scenes, Miss Mia and to cast stones towards me, well that’s just sad.

    You are right, the staff did deserve better and it’s a shame they weren’t treated with the same respect that Bob showed them when he was alive.

    Best,
    Isaac

  16. ex employee says:

    Mia, KAlex,

    It’s safe to say that you’re going to hear a lot more from ex-employees and freelancers/photographers on this story as it plays out over the coming weeks and months. And sadly, it’s not going to paint a rosy picture of the company figurehead. And, although you may find it hard to accept, the bulk of the criticism will be fair. A lot of people lost their jobs. A lot of people who have families/mortgages/obligations. And the hammer of blame is going to fall quite squarely, and fairly, on one particular person’s head.

  17. Denita Clara Clark says:

    So sad to hear this; Oxygen Magazine was the 1st magazine to motivate me to change my lifestyle and get fit. i enjoyed reading the articles because I could relate, felt comfortable doing the workout plans and I always thought the layout was beautifully-designed and reader friendly. What unfortunate news..

    Denita

  18. Carolyn A says:

    Isaac Hinds – take cover. Looks like some are out to shoot the messenger.

    Hopefully they’re finding now how right your reporting is.

    Best of luck to the ex-employees. As for the head this will fall on, karma is a beyotch.

  19. Isaac Hinds,

    Wow, aren’t you being a little sensitive? I mean, this is the United States, right? A journalist expects disagreement and welcomes it. You, on the other hand, are like one of my teenagers when they don’t get my unwaivering approval. I express my opinion as a person who unfortunately was screwed over by a financially irresponsible employer, who shall remain nameless. But a very wise man told me to keep my mouth shut, especially if I saw it coming and sat still waiting for the bomb to get dropped, because you never know, one day you may be in the same unfortunate position.

    This isn’t the United States of the IFBB, I’m not the people at Sioux Country and your condescension does nothing but put your narcissism on center stage! You’re a small fish in a decidedly small pond. If you can’t take criticism like a truly professional and reputable journalist, then stick to being a shooter, little Isaac!

    It’s Mrs. Mia Cole, BTW (So you get it right next time)

  20. Mrs. Mia Cole what exactly is your beef again?

  21. No beef, just my opinion.

  22. Very sorry to hear this news. I really loved Oxygen and all the special editions and learned how to “Eat Clean” from Tosca.

    Publishing is a very tough business. Robert Kennedy was the heart and sadly no one could replace him. Don’t rush to judge, sometimes people are in over their heads and in denial when a company is sinking.

    My prayers to his family and all the people out of a job or payment for work.

  23. Wow in just one year things could go this horribly wrong, because of the loss of one person? No disrespect meant to Robert Kennedy at all, I am probably just revealing my naivety, but I am shocked. Or is it possible things were starting to go wrong for some reason before his passing? Very saddened by this news, love Oxygen and have actually liked the changes I’ve noticed in the mag this last year, such as more focus on functional fitness. Very sad indeed.

  24. Isaac, thanks for the article. This is a sad situation all around. My two cents on this are in regards to the comments about “How does this happen in just one year?” and also about the comments about blame and karma, etc. I completely agree- this was not handled well, it wasn’t handled right and everyone hurt by the bankruptcy deserved better. Period.

    Now, with that said, the empire was built by Robert. I have worked with many business owners over the years, and it’s a rather common issue for them to not plan for or groom someone to take over for them some day. Part of that great entrepreneurial spirit is a lot of stubbornness and believing in their vision very passionately. It’s my humble observation that this same mentality tends to leave a blind spot in their vision when it comes to think pragmatically about what would happen to their business if (when) they aren’t there anymore to run it. Further, you don’t have to be a business owner to have trouble with thinking about and planning for your own demise. People fail to buy life insurance or handle their own arrangements all the time. It sure isn’t because they don’t realize that we all will pass some day.

    So, Rena didn’t happen to be a natural born business leader? That’s not a surprise, most people aren’t. Just because she was married to Bob Kennedy doesn’t mean she magically absorbed whatever business knowledge or talent or skill he used to build and run the business. And, lets say she did. Or let’s say she should have, as implausible as those statements are. Would she- or anyone- do their best in that enormous job while struggling with a spouse’s life threatening illness, demise and ultimately their death?

    I’m not saying that leaving people high and dry is right, it isn’t. I’m saying that its more of a wonder to me that everyone is so surprised how this went down than I am surprised by the fact it did.

    My parting thought is that I’ve never had to run a business of any size, let alone one the size of RKP, and I’ve never dealt with a spouse’s health crisis and death. Doing both at the same time? I guess I’ll judge when I’ve walked a mile in her running shoes.

  25. Mary Jo says:

    I’m so upset, disappointed that this magazine went bankrupt. Who was in charge of the financial management? shame on you!

    It says it only went bankrupt in Canada how about the US, if it didn’t go bankrupt there then maybe they need to send us the rest of the magazines due to our subscription. What a rip off!!!!!!

  26. They took 2 two year subscription orders from me on 5/22. They took$75 from me. I understand that things happen but knowing you were introuble why would you take my money? They had to know 2 weeks before they closed their doors yet they took my money. I trusted Tosca Reno as a person. She represented her self as a humble, caring, down to earth person. I was so sad for her when she lost her husband. I feel like she coukd have instructed the company to stop taking subscription orders pending the decision to go bankrupt. I am by no means rich and spending this money was a treat to myself ! I coukd have used that money for something else! I called my credit card but probably cant get th money back! I am very disappointed in Tosca and her publications. She continues to post pictures and Videos of her making pizza and stuff in her huge kitchen. I am pissed!

  27. I too placed an order on May 30th for both Clean Eating and Oxygen. At that point they knew that they were going bankrupt. So I am now without the money because it has been over 60 days and my cc company can’t do anything. It is fraud and makes me sad.

  28. Sorry for the lost! Just have a question. If people subscribed for a year or 2 years and paid what’s going to happen? People that I talk to was wondering the same thing. For example I still have a year of my subscription left and the last magazine I got was July 2013.

    Thanks
    Nichole Frits

  29. cory everett says:

    i just want to say, im so sorry to here about what had happened. i loved the magazine. it was one magazine i would look so forward to getting it. it was always like christmas when i got the magazine, cause there was always exciting information in it, and the training rutines are awsome and the way my body has changed so much over the years. i want to thank you so much for all the info you have put in your magazines. you all rock thanks again. i wish there was something i could do for you. oh yes!!! ther is i will put u all in my preys. ;-) your friend cory

Trackbacks

  1. [...] (so bummed that the publishing company went bankrupt!! I will miss the Clean Eating Magazine, [...]

  2. [...] June, we shared the unfortunate news of popular female fitness magazine, Oxygen shutting down its Canadian and U.S. operations. A week later, Tosca Reno broke her silence and confirmed the [...]

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