Last August, Jamie Kelly, editor of the Missoulian’s weekly A&E magazine Entertainer, announced that beginning with the Aug. 25 edition, readers would see changes. Most notably, theater reviews and previews, art features and First Friday art walk listings would no longer appear in the Entertainer. Those features would henceforth be found in a new Friday “Weekend” section in the Missoulian proper. In their stead, the Entertainer began running a new relationship column called “Third Opinion” and a do-it-yourself column called “Budget Living,” among other lifestyle-type features. The following week, the Entertainer announced a contest to rename the publication. The winner was promised an Apple iPod Mini.

Three weeks later, Kelly once again implored readers to send in those renaming submissions for their chance to win the iPod. The contest was set to end Sept. 21.

So the following week we eagerly anticipated the unveiling of the revamped Entertainer, complete with a new name, a fresh design, and word on who to mug for that iPod. But the weeks turned to months and we never heard a peep.

By November, Tonya Seledee, author of Budget Living and one third of Third Opinion’s advice-giving cabal, moved to Oregon and those columns disappeared along with her. Third Opinion was replaced on the back page with a weekly (now monthly) column by Angie Moretti, another third of Third Opinion.

By the end of March, however, the Entertainer seemed to have come full circle. The “Weekend” section was yanked from Friday’s edition of the Missoulian, and most of the arts and entertainment coverage migrated back to the Entertainer…which is still called the Entertainer.

So where’s the iPod?

Editor Sherry Devlin sidestepped that question in a column last month, noting only that the Missoulian had experimented with splitting its arts coverage between several sections of the newspaper, and affirming that the Entertainer would once again be home to all things A&E.

She also sidestepped our query, declining to return our call for clarification. Entertainer editor Jamie Kelly declined to comment on the record as well.

So we went over their heads and got ahold of publisher John VanStrydonck, who told us renaming the rag (which term we use, rag to rag, with all due affection) would “take some higher-level involvement” than the Entertainer’s editor. In a phone interview on Wednesday, VanStrydonk indicated that the renaming contest had been announced when Mike McInally was still editing the Missoulian, but that successor Devlin had different plans.

“Sherry put the kibosh on that,” VanStrydonk said.

And so, the iPod?

“I think what Jamie is going to do is pick the winner that would have won, and award the iPod, but we’re not going to rename it.”

We look forward to an announcement any day now. And congratulations to the lucky winner!

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