Media Mentor - Mel Alcock

Mel Alcock, senior vice-president of commercial affairs, Jetix Europe, likes to hit his life-size Power Ranger first thing in the morning and is seen as a “superior being” by his kids

Describe yourself in three words.

Driven, fair, entrepreneur.

Why did you choose to work in media?

Advertising beckoned after law lost its attraction for me. The letters went out to agencies and via a college friend, Miya Dukun, I got a job in sales at Capital Radio. But within four weeks, Paul Hickford responded to one of my letters and took me on at Foote, Cone & Belding as a graduate trainee.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

Hit the life-size Power Ranger I have standing in the corner of my office. Its impact-activated voice recorder will then bark out various messages, including: "If you wanna be part of the team, you've got to have the gear."

What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?

I stick to one basic business discipline – don't bring problems, bring solutions as well. Text books aside, one thing that always rings true is don't forget others on the way up, because the higher you climb, the quicker you fall. Media is a small world.

What has been the proudest moment in your career?

The development of the animated programme property know as ATOM (Alpha Teens On Machines), a children's action series due to launch this autumn.

It has formed a significant part of my life over the past few months.

And what was the most embarrassing moment?

Given that Sky's head office at Osterley was some way from my home near Brighton, I used to drive in each day. Every morning I would travel predecked in gym kit and make my way to the gym.

One morning, having finished my session, showered, and dried, I reached for my suit, as that morning I was presenting to Sky's senior management. The suit was somewhat light – its trousers were at home 60 miles away! Following the necessary panic attack, I found myself at the local Tesco purchasing a fine pair of light blue nylon slacks for the fair price of £9.99. I arrived early for the presentation. For once, I remained seated throughout and at the close of the meeting continued to remain seated withmy legs firmly under the boardroom table. Upon the room emptying, I waited, collected my gear and proceeded out of the boardroom to a corridor full of my colleagues. My snug, light blue slacks did not cut it with my black Armani jacket, nor did they go unnoticed by my superiors.

What has been your biggest regret?

When I left university and did the typical graduate letter for employment to the top 100 agencies, some replied back inviting me in for a "chat".

Naively, I only took up the concrete interview invites. One of those offers for a chat was with a certain Winston Fletcher.

What is the most exciting aspect of your job?

At Jetix Europe, I can take what I experienced when launching Sky's digital TV platform and apply that knowledge to the now many different TV platforms across Europe. Apart from this, working on a kids channel has allowed me to achieve "superior being" status in the eyes of my own seven and eight-year-old kids.

And what do you least enjoy doing?

I've never been good on bureaucracy and always challenge why actions can't take place immediately.

What's the best lunch date you have ever had?

It has to be the infamous "Smoked Salmon and Chablis" lunch at Chateaux Whistler with Colin Jelfs and Malcolm Grant.

But one should never forget to appreciate the annual Mark Chippendale "mates' lunch" at Langan's, always the last Friday before Christmas for the past 14 years. Many a story can be told, but won't. Thanks Chips.

You are trapped on a desert island. You can take only one newspaper, magazine and TV show. Name them.

I'd pass on the newspaper. If anything, I'd take the How To Spend It Supplement from the weekend FT – at least I could drool on the desert island knowing my wallet was safe. For the magazine, it's T3 – mandatory consumption for any tech head, not that I am one! For TV, it's the CBS drama Without A Trace .

Forget Jack Bauer, Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) is the new bedrock of US TV justice.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?

Ultimately, I'd like to be somewhere else in the globe confirming Jetix's position as the world's No.1 kids pay TV channel.

Though the need to maintain superior being status withmy kids could be the curve ball – what will they watch next?

Career path
Mel Alcock
2005 Senior vice-president commercial affairs Jetix Europe (formerly known as Fox Kids)
2003 Executive director comnercial sales and development Jetix Europe/(part) Commercial director Digital Interactive Television Group
2000 Head of commerce Interactive programming BSkyB
1998 Head of online retail media BSkyB
1997 Public relations manager ScreenShop UK Flextech Television
1995 Head of sponsorship Flextech Television
1987 Media account director Austin West Media
1986 Media planner and buyer Foote, Cone & Belding
1986 Sales executive Capital Radio

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