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O Magazine Staff Excited About Oprah Winfrey's Future

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O Magazine remembers and honors Oprah Winfrey's first show on September 8, 1986. i

O Magazine remembers and honors Oprah Winfrey's first show on September 8, 1986. Hearst Magazines hide caption

toggle caption Hearst Magazines
O Magazine remembers and honors Oprah Winfrey's first show on September 8, 1986.

O Magazine remembers and honors Oprah Winfrey's first show on September 8, 1986.

Hearst Magazines

Oprah Winfrey signs off today as the host of network TV's top-rated daytime talk show. Winfrey has also launched other successful media ventures, including O Magazine. Host Michel Martin speaks with O Magazine Editor-in-Chief Susan Casey about the mood among magazine staff, how the magazine has succeeded and why it stands out among other publications.

MICHEL MARTIN, host: And now to a story we've been following all week. Today is the day. After 25 years, Oprah Winfrey signs off as host of TV's top rated daytime talk show. Oprah - and we're not being familiar, the world knows her as Oprah - is leaving behind an unmatched record of achievement across media platforms. Her show has been seen by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the U.S. It's been broadcast in 145 countries and won 35 Emmy's.

This week we've been exploring Oprah's legacy with some of her most recognized contributors, including Dr. Phil, personal finance adviser Suze Orman. In a moment we'll hear from author Iyanla Vanzant, who's had one of the more complex relationships with Oprah. She says she actually learned a very great deal from the tough times in that relationship. We'll find out more later.

But, first, as we said, one of Oprah Winfrey's distinctions has been success across platforms. So now we turn to one of her other creations, O Magazine. Our guest is O's editor-in-chief Susan Casey. Susan Casey, welcome back. Thanks for joining us.

SUSAN CASEY (EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, O MAGAZINE): Thank you.

MARTIN: So, what's the mood at the magazine, which continues - it has to be said - but what's the mood there? Any sadness?

CASEY: Well, I think everybody's excited about what Oprah's next chapter will look like. Obviously for us it's a culmination of a lot of relationships that we have had over the years with different show producers and obviously the magazine has at times been featured on the show. But Oprah's turning to other things and we're very excited about them as well.

MARTIN: Now, the June issue is on the stands now, but I think it's worth pointing out to people that the magazine just celebrated its 11th anniversary - the first edition published April 19th, 2000. Now, I know you weren't there at the beginning. In fact, you are kind of relatively new to the chair. But this was one of the most successful magazine launches in history. And I wonder why you think that was, even though I know you weren't there at the beginning.

CASEY: Oh, but in the magazine business everybody was aware of it and right out of the gate it really just seemed to find this ready, waiting audience that also has turned out to be huge. Right now the magazine's readership is between 15 and 16 million women. And one of the statistics that I absolutely loved when I came to be editor-in-chief was that it's read by one-in-eight women in America. So it's a really wonderful, vast representative audience and really cuts across different lines of all kinds of different women read the magazine.

MARTIN: What do you think makes this magazine stand out? I mean, obviously the close association with Oprah Winfrey has its own powerful impact. But just as a reading experience, like one of the things I noticed, for example, is you don't have to wade through a whole bunch of ads to get to the table of contents, unlike a number of other magazines.

Are there other ways in which the magazine is put together in a manner that's distinct?

CASEY: Oprah's mandate has always been, it's about the audience. It's about our viewers. It's about the readers. We create a magazine for readers. What do they care about? How can we serve them? So the contents page is one example. But we also think very hard about what would they like? What are the things that really resonate with them? And our tagline, live your best life ,is really that. It's an actual mission to help people get the most out of their life, however they define that.

MARTIN: We need to take a short break. But when we come back, we are going to continue this conversation with Susan Casey, editor-in-chief of O Magazine. It's part of our coverage of Oprah Winfrey's final shows on network television. Please stay with us on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

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