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Rolling Stone is Going Country

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Rolling Stone is planning to go country in a big way.

With a new standalone site aimed to cover the country music scene in the same way Rolling Stone does rock and pop music, according to Gus Wenner, director of Rolling Stone.com. To that end, the magazine is opening an office in Nashville with 10 to 15 editorial staffers, said Mr. Wenner, whose father Jann is the co-founder of Rolling Stone and parent company Wenner Media. To coincide with the site’s introduction, the magazine is planning a country-themed print issue, a first for Rolling Stone.

The initiative is among the younger Wenner’s first major moves since he was named to run RollingStone.com in May.

“There’s a really big void in the digital coverage of country music as far as giving it the serious attention it deserves,” he said, comparing the genre’s popularity to that of Nascar. “I saw some similarities and thought it could be an opportunity for Rolling Stone.”

“There’s a huge opportunity for us to expand the Rolling Stone consumer base by extending into country music,” said Chris McLoughlin, Rolling Stone’s publisher, who said the brand will spend more than $1 million on the new site in 2014.

There are no plans for a regular print version of Rolling Stone Country. A special interest publication with a price tag around $12 or $13 is planned for newsstands in the second half of 2014

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