"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a specialized group in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a specialized magazine." With apologies to Jane Austen, that "truth" appears to have been taken to heart by the magazine industry in the 1970s. The magazine market boomed. Regional magazines played an important part in this explosion, hoping to emulate on a smaller scale the success of the legendary New Yorker. One of the winners in this contest, well on its way to becoming a legend itself, is Texas Monthly.
Texas Monthly is either an unlikely success story or the epitome of the Hollywood musical. It was founded by a person with next to no magazine experience, planned by instinct rather than demographics, and destined to become a raging success. Michael Levy, a Wharton School graduate, sold advertising for Philadelphia magazine for nine months, then returned to his native Texas to attend the University of Texas Law School. While there, he developed the idea of Texas Monthly. Says Levy, "I came back with the idea of starting a magazine. . . . I figured out the magazine would not work in either Dallas or Houston, but it would work in the state as a whole. The state was ready for a statewide magazine."1
Levy admits his planning was less than scientific. "The concept of the regional magazine, at that time, wasn't a known commodity. We had no marketing studies. That would be like Alexander Graham Bell doing a marketing survey on the telephone. How could he do that if nobody had ever seen one?" 2
Armed only with his idea, Levy set out to find an editor. After interviewing three hundred individuals, Levy chose William Broyles, a twenty-seven-year- old assistant to the superintendent of the Houston School District who had freelanced for English and American magazines. Levy claims he again worked on