Media Bitch

LOOSE TALK

As GCap prepared to make perhaps the biggest strategy statement in its history, the company's top brass were able to find an hour or three in their schedules to say a fond farewell to Ralph Bernard.

Bernard, GCap's former chief executive (pictured), was sent happily into the sunset with a surprise lunch at the RadioCentre HQ on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Attendees included RadioCentre boss Andrew Harrison, GMG Radio's John Myers, the Radio Academy's Trevor Dann and Bernard's successor, Fru Hazlitt. Also there was Simon Cole, whose company UBC Media is a shareholder in Digital Two. If only Bitch could have been a fly on the wall ...

Meanwhile, another exit party was for Greg Grimmer, the outgoing managing director of Zed Media, who held court on the top floor of the Century Club, where, thanks to the rooftop location, the smoking ban did not apply. As one partygoer said wistfully: "It was just like before 1 July."

Well-wishers included Carlton Screen Advertising's Adam Mills, MEC head Tom George, The Telegraph's new head of trading John Judge and ZenithOptimedia's Lucy Banks, who made her first public outing following the birth of her daughter.

Those who had the stamina followed Grimmer to Soho House to continue the party - no doubt celebrations extended long into the small hours.

BBC WORLDWIDE TAKES THE PLUNGE IN TOOTING

Most people spend their weekends watching football in the pub, doing home improvements or simply recovering from hangovers.

Not so the employees of BBC Worldwide and their partners, who entered the Winter Swimming Championships last weekend, held in the UK for the first time at London's Tooting Bec Lido.

Event organiser Esther Brown reported that all eight BBC teams - who swam 30-metre relays in water of just 3 degsC - did well, although the most spartan swimmer of the lot was Peter Sissons, managing director of magazines (pictured).

Sissons did have one advantage over his team-mates, however: he spends all of his spare time competing in triathlons.

Sutherland predicts the future in style

Rory Sutherland, the larger-than-life vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, entertained media executives at ITV's Predicting the Future planning event in style.

Sutherland claimed the future for television is looking good, since there is "no other medium that appeals to a slack-jawed passive audience", and that TV has an advantage over the music industry thanks to its new ad-funded formats.

So, in the future, "anoraked youths from Manchester" will give way to "all-girl groups singing about leading brands". Or is that just his wishful thinking?

Two-metre cake wall is recipe for Heart attack

The lucky thing about radio, one could argue, is that you can get away with putting on a few pounds unnoticed.

Which may have been the thinking behind the two-metre cake wall that was the main attraction at the recent Heart Retox party.

Designed to reward all those sober January dieters, party organisers rewarded attendees with layer upon layer of the spongy goodness, although the cake was not released until well into the evening, testing partygoers' patience.

Even radio god Richard Park, director of Global Radio, and his boss, Global Radio's chief executive Ashley Tabor, had to wait in line like everybody else.

ITV plays dating game with online advice

And finally: if Valentine's Day proved a major disaster, you could always make amends by checking out ITV.com/dating, which includes a comprehensive list of how to make the perfect meal and pick the most romantic songs.

And if things go really well, the site even offers advice on how to propose. Although, girls, if your man needs anonymous online advice in this department, you might be better off saying no.

- Got any gossip? mwnewsdesk@haymarket.com

TIME BANDIT - Paul Eyers, Marketing solutions manager, Reader's Digest

45% - Calling at agencies and clients to talk about the bespoke creative advertising solutions that we can offer. Also, managing the creative solutions sales effort internally, to ensure we all use our imaginations and don't revert to type. It's easy to focus only on your next target and to miss out on the bigger picture in pursuit of a bigger pay packet.

20% - Seeking new revenue sources from non-advertising budgets, and approaching key clients and agencies with new ideas.

10% - Managing the studio and liaising with our head of creative design. Making sure our special sales promotions and features are executed to a high standard, in order to get the right response from our readers.

10% - Meetings, although I try to keep this part of the day to a minimum.

10% - Refreshment. Catalysing the creative process with some "light" lunchtime drinking, then drinking coffee to counteract said lunchtime drinking.

5% - Hospitality and more "refreshment". We love organising great nights out for our favourite people, whether it's a skiing trip to Italy or dinner at Nobu. I'm currently organising a trip to Sun City, South Africa, for the winners of the humour-themed agency quiz we held in September.

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