CLEVELAND MAGAZINE made its debut in Apr. 1972, as part of a nationwide city magazine movement. It was the brainchild of Oliver Emerson, president of the Emerson Press, and Lute Harmon, a marketing researcher for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. Harmon became publisher, while Emerson sought local backing and served as chairman of Cleveland Magazine, Inc. "The whole idea was to do stories nobody else was doing," said Michael Roberts, who joined the staff early in 1973 and soon succeeded John Mearns as editor. For the first 2 years, it was edited and printed at the Emerson Press on Chester Ave. Editorial offices were later moved to the Keith Bldg. and then the Hanna Bldg., while production was eventually taken over by the Akron-based Press of Ohio. Among the special areas that Cleveland Magazine staked out for itself were media, politics, organized crime, and courts. A critical cover story on the Kucinich administration (Apr. 1978), became the magazine's all-time bestseller. On the lighter side, the magazine also set or followed local trends with its lifestyle coverage, notably in its restaurant reviews and listings. In 1978 Cleveland Magazine, Inc., changed its name to City Magazines, Inc., when it founded Monthly Detroit; Tampa Magazine was begun in 1980, followed by the purchase of Milwaukee Magazine in 1981. By 1983, however, it had sold off these properties in order to concentrate on the parent Cleveland Magazine. Lute Harmon returned as publisher after an 8 year absence in 1991. He remained in that position in 1995. Circulation in 1995 was approx. 43,000.

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