Media: UPS and DOWNS: Mixed fortunes on the media roller-coaster.
Wednesday 04 August 1993
Rodale Press, a US publisher with a mission, which has acquired Running magazine and is relaunching it as the British version of its Runner's World. 'At Rodale Press we have a vision of the world as it could be,' says the company brochure - a vision embodied in such titles as The Healing Foods and How to Make an Amish Quilt.
MARMADUKE HUSSEY, chairman of the BBC, whose attempt at glasnost last week misfired. The BBC's annual review fell short of its advance billing as the start of a new open relationship between board of governors and the viewers/listeners: the short section attributed to the governors contained little but truisms. Hussey did not turn up for the launch, sending three low-profile apparatchiks instead. The 70- year-old chairman may have added little to the general sum of knowledge by his presence, but with his flair for self-parody he would at least have kept the media writers entertained.
ANDREW KNIGHT, of Rupert Murdoch's News International, the subject of a baffling message to the press from his corporate publicity office. 'To avoid confusion' we are asked to note that while Knight is the company's executive chairman, August 'Gus' Fischer is managing director and chief executive, as well as being chief operating officer of the News Corporation, NI's parent company. Noted, but where exactly does the buck stop?
COMPLAINTS to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, down marginally to 115 in the year ended last March, from 120 the previous year. Canon Peter Pilkington, the chairman, believes the commission too often acts as 'a poor man's libel court', but his annual report has entertaining moments: the man who complained that Esther Rantzen defamed his ultrasonic rat repeller (not upheld), the brewers of 'Old Thumper' real ale who resented a disrespectful joke about it (upheld) and, worst of all, a magistrate who complained that a Sky News report showed her seeming to applaud Arthur Scargill (upheld).
NEWS STAND, Radio 4's assessment of magazines and periodicals, which will end next month after 30 years. The Guardian, in its obituary this week, sought the views of three magazine editors, and only one said he would miss it. Its presenters are too smarty-boots by half, making obvious jokes against soft targets - such as this week's edition, traditional in the run-up to 12 August, making fun of shooting and field sports magazines.
ALAN YENTOB, controller of BBC 1, who must wonder what he has to do to win anything but sneers. Criticised for falling ratings, he is then mocked for snatching the old warhorse This is Your Life, with its 12 million-plus viewers, from ITV. Nobody said the job was going to be easy.
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