The alarm goes off at the usual time of six, and after 15 minutes of denial, I’m up and heading downstairs for a coffee to kickstart my day. Today is a rather unorthodox start to the week as I’m heading to a board-level awayday at the home of managing director Peter Phippen in Stoke Poges.
I’ve just got time for a final run-through the presentation I’m due to give, as well as firing off some emails to compensate for not being in the office all day, before I bid the family goodbye and make the short walk to an A40 sliproad for collection by deputy managing director Nick Brett, who’s giving me a lift.
The whole board of BBC Magazines are there - including chief operating officer Kevin Langford and Radio Times publisher Kathy Day - and the day is spent hearing and discussing papers from the various team members. It is a good day, with much debated at length that time doesn’t always allow in the office. After dinner, I head upstairs to read some emails and do a quick bit of prep for a busy day tomorrow before heading to bed unusually early at 10pm.
Up at 6am and head out into the dark for a run around the local park at the end of my street. This is a morning ritual on most days; I find it’s the perfect time to chew stuff over and I always feel raring to go when I get back.
I then head to breakfast with Barry McIlheney, chief executive of the PPA, at the Charlotte Street Hotel. Barry has an infectious personality and my work as PPA marketing chair is only made better by working closely with him. We discuss the final touches to the PPA’s Future of Magazines filming day on Wednesday. With the help of his operations manager Hannah Reece, there’s also time for a quick update on the first Planning Forum dinner we’re running next week for the fashion and beauty sector. Barry and I then head to Vizeum to see Sam Hughes and Tony Giordi to update them on our marketing activity.
With an hour to kill until lunch, I head to Soho House to work on budget preparation for 2011 and to make a few calls, including running through the plans for Thursday’s Radio Times Quiz with David Downs, who runs our Manchester office. Lunch is at J Sheekey with Alan Brydon, head of trading at MPG. As always, we have a lively debate about industry topics and our conversation ends with a plan to meet up to discuss ideas for one of his clients around a forthcoming app we’re launching. Head back to the office for a quick blast of email followed by the final meeting of the day with Andrew Mercer, ad director of the Radio Times. Before I leave, I email out the squad for Sunday's fixture for Pitshanger FC, the under-nines football club I manage.
I then make my way back to Soho House to meet Craig Houston from the NRS, who has been working with my team. We are joined by Avril Murray from Mirror Group, although it’s not a late finish and I’m home shortly after 10.30pm.
A run and a coffee before I head into to town for a catch-up with Dom Williams, press director of Carat, at his makeshift Eat cafe office in Holborn. I then head around the corner to The Hospital Club to attend the PPA’s filming for the Future of Magazines, a series we’re launching in November. Barry Mac and his team are all in place for a busy day’s schedule capturing the thoughts of leading industry figures including Elle’s Rita Lewis, Wired’s David Rowan, Charlotte Stockting from Hello! and Conde Nast’s Albert Reed. My boss Peter Phippen is also in attendance, so we use the time between takes to have our weekly one-to-one.
Then it’s back to base in White City to attend the Leadership Group, a monthly forum for senior managers hosted by BBC Worldwide’s chief executive John Smith. This month, we’re joined by Lord Browne who shares his experiences as chief executive of BP. We’re then given the usual round-up from each of the divisions, which is always very useful in a company of our size.
My final meeting of the day is a conference call to discuss the final detail of an exciting Electronic Programme Guide partnership we are close to launching for Radio Times, which will boost the cross-platform capability of the brand. I’m home at a reasonable time to hear about my wife Ali’s day, as she has been doing two weeks’ consultancy for Haymarket Network’s X Magazine.
Head straight to Euston to catch the train to Milton Keynes to see Ken Humphrey, brand manager at Bosch, with Andrew Mercer. Andrew and I meet at the station to discuss his schedule over a coffee, as he is continuing up to Newcastle to attend a surprise birthday dinner for MediaCom’s Neil Ivey.
The meeting with Ken goes well: it is a good opportunity to review the year’s activity and bring him up-to-speed with the digital plans across the magazines he uses. Andrew heads up north, leaving Ken and I to enjoy a quick fish-and-chip lunch at the local gastropub before I travel back to London to meet Dave Mulrenan, head of press at ZenithOptimedia, at his office in Percy Street.
I then make my way to the PPA’s office to attend the Live at the PPA event. I make it just in time to hear some colourful tales from Loaded magazine founder James Brown before setting off for The Solus Club dinner. I’ve been a member for a few years now and have become quite attached to these Masonic-like events. This month, the 40 guests are treated to an entertaining talk from rugby commentator Ian Robertson. A quick beer with John Judge, trading director at Telegraph Media Group, and I head home in need of my bed.
A much welcome full day in the office and a chance to catch up on the week’s trading at my Friday managers’ meeting. The rest of the morning is spent with Claude London, digital director at BBC Worldwide, talking through incentives for the sales team and next year’s strategy.
The rest of the day is spent on email before the 4.30pm meeting I host for the sales department each week. This is a great opportunity to review the revenue and highlights with everyone present, and an important end to the working week. I choose not to hang around tonight and make a sharp exit home.
Saturday is mostly taken up with football training as both my boys play for the local Ealing teams. On Saturday night we’re guests at the fortieth birthday dinner organised by the BBC’s director of global brands Marcus Arthur for his wife. It is a lateish night, but any tiredness on Sunday is lifted as Pitshanger FC secures a 5-1 victory against Totteridge FC to secure our first points of the season. Unfortunately, my other son’s team, the under-sevens, only manages a draw, but both matches make for a lively discussion over dinner.