Fresh off his acquisition of Radar Online, controversial editor-turned-CEO Dylan Howard is gambling that he can introduce a dozen titles to the US market using a formula that embraces high-priced quarterly print editions and consumer-friendly digital titles.

Howard on Thursday announced his newly formed Empire Media has acquired 12 digital and print brands, including some celebrity-focused titles that will compete with his old employer A360 Media, formerly known as American Media.

In addition to Radar Online, which he purchased from A360 Media, Empire Media also owns Okmagazine.com — a digital version of A360’s OK! magazine.

A spokesman for the American version of OK! at A360 Media declined to comment on the competition from its one-time editorial director. But a “note to our readers” in the masthead of the March 28 print edition says OK! “is no longer affiliated with Okmagazine.com.”

Howard also plans to print quarterly magazines for a half dozen other titles under Empire, including Yoga, How It Works, All About Space, History of War, All About History and The Royal Observer.

Although he won’t disclose his financing sources, the Australian-born journalist said he’s already hired 40 people to get the new media company up and running.

“We are privately owned, and we have zero investors,” Howard said when pressed on the funding.

Empire Media is separate from his other media venture: Grazia USA, a US version of the high-end Italian fashion title. Howard has already launched the digital version of the mag and plans to introduce a print edition in the fall.

Howard, who played a key role in the National Enquirer’s “catch and kill” scandal before exiting American Media last year, is launching his media empire at a tough time. Ad dollars are down and yet he still faces a lot of competition, especially in the celebrity space. The Royal Observer, for example, Empire’s new bookazine quarterly focused on the royals, faces off against the newly launched People Royals quarterly from the much-larger Meredith.

Still, it’s a distressed market for journalists, and Howard is apparently having no trouble finding talent to helm what might ordinarily be seen as high-risk startup.

Jaclyn Roth, a former deputy editor of OK! magazine, has been tapped as editor-in-chief of The Royal Observer and Morning Honey. Contributing editors to The Royal Observer include Phil Dampier, formerly of the British tabloid the Sun, and Dickie Arbiter, who was the press spokesman for Queen Elizabeth II from 1988 to 2000.

Michael Gioia, formerly a senior editor at Star until July 2019, is now executive editor of OKmagazine.com. Alex Lang, formerly of McClatchy newspapers in southern Florida, is editor-in-chief of Front Page Detectives, which is rebranding a defunct brand as a digital title.

And he plans to add to the 40 journalists and editors hired so far, he said.

“With the portfolio we have established, we will meet demand with the supply of high-quality, expert journalism delivered through traditional point of sale and proprietary technology solutions that we are building to find those niche — yet sizeable — audiences,” Howard said.

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