Media Bitch

LOOSE TALK

Bitch has noted with interest that Kelvin MacKenzie is stepping down from his post of non-executive chairman of marketing group Media Square "to devote more time to his increasing media commitments".

Speculating on what his "new ventures" might be, Bitch, mindful of MacKenzie's brief turn as guest editor of Media Week back in 2004, put two and two together to make five - namely that MacKenzie (pictured) might be downshifting to take on some kind of non-executive advisory role on this very publication.

In the event that this is in fact what he is planning, Bitch feels he could learn from radio station Passion for the Planet, whose directors took the company "into a new era" using the principles of Feng Shui. First to go were the tea and coffee-making facilities, which gave "a rather confused first impression of the business"; these were followed by the seating area for guests, thought to be "superfluous" as there was an excellent waiting area outside.

Another enterprising radio company is Chrysalis, which is turning agencies into radio stations for the afternoon in a bid to "freshen up radio's image". MediaCom FM, Vizeum FM and Starcom FM have already been huge hits; next up is MindShare FM. Heart FM presenter Toby Anstis, who hosts the shows, told Bitch: "It's been brilliant - we have raised awareness of radio and generated new business."

And the most requested song by agency types? Champagne Supernova. Obviously.

PM HONOURS CHARLTON WITH A NIGHT AT NO 10

Peter Charlton, national sales director at CBS Outdoor, appears to have moved on from nights out in Shampers with his media friends.

He was recently spotted rubbing shoulders with none other than the PM himself - not to mention his legal supremo spouse - at a drinks reception at Number 10 (as pictured, right, with Cherie).

Charlton, who attended the party on behalf of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, kept his colleagues guessing as to whether he was tapping Tony for a knighthood for services to the media industry, or throwing his hat into the ring for the top job itself.

Of course, the fact that Mr Blair was subsequently pictured in the national press sitting on one of CBS Outdoor's largest advertising sales channels, a London double-decker bus, is entirely unrelated.

NAOMI'S SET TO CAUSE A STIR ON SUGAR'S SHOW

They say you can't keep a good man down - and Alan Sugar also has a knack for re-emerging just when you thought he and his Brentwood-based electronics firm had finally sunk without trace.

Yes, due to - one assumes some level of - demand, BBC1 has commissioned a third series of The Apprentice, where one of this year's 16 aspiring tycoons is Naomi Lay, a sales executive at online ad sales specialist Advertising.com.

Naomi, 26, whose rivals include a quantum physicist and a former air traffic controller, will compete in "some of the toughest tests for the business brain ever seen on the show".

For those on the winning team, a weekly treat will be issued.

However, the losing team's project manager must choose the two worst-performing team members to join him in facing the music ... and potentially being fired.

So, a home from home for Naomi then.

MATT'S JAILBIRDS GO ON THE RUN FOR CHARITY

Bitch has heard of some bizarre world record-breaking attempts in her time, but this latest daredevil stunt, a bid to claim the record for "the most linked runners to complete a marathon", surely takes some beating.

On 22 April, Matt Skelding, client planning manager at ZenithOptimedia, will rise early, dressed as a convict (what else?), tie himself to 16 like-minded friends and complete the London Marathon in a time faster than any other group of striped-jumpsuit-wearing bondage enthusiasts. For charity, obviously.

Thanks to their rigorous training at the Silverstone half-marathon (pictured), Bitch is sure that the boys will go the distance; if you would like to back them, visit their fundraising page at www.worldrecordmarathon.co.uk.

TIME BANDIT - Will Ramage, Director of trading, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

30% - External calls and meetings - the majority on key trading issues with our main buying points. As our portfolio has grown, so have the opportunities across our products, all of which need managing to come together to produce the magical monthly number.

30% - Cash analysis. Excel and the usual book balancing tools are the curse of the trade. Accurately pricing and forecasting our business is an art form where the spreadsheets used are often so massive that even their original creators can't unravel them. I have learned to respect our accounts department more and more as the years go by.

20% - New business analysis. Working on, making or delivering new tenders with our operations, development and accounts department. This is the brilliant part of the job where you pretend that you are on Dragons' Den and you really pick business opportunities apart.

10% - Staff. Training, updates and recruitment, but also input into structure and future roles that is both empowering and fun.

10% - On the road. In our regions or London looking at what is there in the ground, not what I am told is there.It is amazing how many times Iam told our sites are bad or great by people who have never seen them. Great marketing by us and our competition, I guess.

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