MEDIA HEADLINER: Radio Times rewards veteran salesman with publisher role. Ashley Munday has been with the BBC title man and boy, Eleanor Trickett finds

’Oh no - I killed Kenny!’ mugs Ashley Munday as he kicks over the giant cardboard cut-out of South Park’s hapless hero. Munday is hurtling over to the big colour television in the corner of his office to flick through what’s on at 10 o’clock on a Friday morning - keeping an eye on what drives his magazine.

’Oh no - I killed Kenny!’ mugs Ashley Munday as he kicks over the

giant cardboard cut-out of South Park’s hapless hero. Munday is hurtling

over to the big colour television in the corner of his office to flick

through what’s on at 10 o’clock on a Friday morning - keeping an eye on

what drives his magazine.



Radio Times was 75 years old this year and Munday has been there for 14

of those years - nearly one-fifth of its lifetime. Not bad for someone

who looks about 17, as he sits there grinning infectiously, surrounded

by South Park cards and goodies (’adult merchandise is great - it’s the

future!’ he explains, but he’s obviously a huge fan as well) and

enthusing about his job at every turn.



And it’s a job for which he has waited long enough. Having started at

Radio Times in 1982 as a sales executive, he has scaled the

organisation’s hierarchy (glossing over, for the moment, a two-year

stint at TV Times in the mid-80s) to become its publisher. He’s taken

over from Nicholas Brett who was last year made the director of Radio

Times, Music, Audio and Arts Group for BBC Worldwide.



Because of his lengthy tenure at the magazine, some wonder if Munday is

able to look at Radio Times with an objective commercial eye, and if he

is as heavyweight as his predecessor, Brett. A quick straw poll around a

handful of press buyers largely shows admiration and affection, although

more than one accuses him of being an anorak - and they admit that if

they had been on the same magazine for ten years on the trot, they too

may find it increasingly hard to see beyond their belly button.



Munday’s toughest task to date was seeing the magazine through the

deregulation of TV listings in 1990. Until that point, Radio Times had

its market sewn up, and when every publishing Tom, Dick and Harry

entered the fray, some tough decisions had to be made. ’We had to choose

which route to take,’ Munday explains, ’and that’s when we really moved

it upmarket, appealing to both men and women.’



Although IPC’s What’s on TV overtook Radio Times after just two years in

the marketplace - the BBC Worldwide title has held on to the number two

spot ever since - Munday argues that it is less relevant to sell against

other listings titles, and instead pitches the magazine against the

national press.



And the ABC1 advertisers stuck with Radio Times, due in no small part to

Munday’s diligent communication with them throughout the deregulation

process. On top of that, the magazine claims to score the highest ad

revenue of any magazine in the UK today, not to mention having the ABC1

market more or less to itself.



The next task facing Munday will be the gradual inclusion of digital

listings, although he says that while the service is being used by a

tiny minority, there are no plans to immediately rush out a redesigned,

digital Radio Times. ’The speed at which we take on the listings will

depend on our readers. We need to address it in a slightly different

way. All the marketing hype has been about having more channels - our

readers see digital as providing more choice. We’ll see which way it

goes, and find out which elements of digital interest our readers.’



With a straightforward advertising background, Munday comes to the

publisher’s job from a different angle than the editorial route

travelled by Brett.



But, as Brett explains, Munday has taken a more traditional path.

’Ashley was the natural choice for the publisher’s job. He is Radio

Times’s stick of rock - it runs right through him. His commercial

background is a strong advantage, and he works very well in partnership

with Sue (Robinson, the editor).’



Munday’s first job in publishing was working for Haymarket Publishing on

What Car? magazine. ’The motoring editorial teams couldn’t walk around

the building in a normal fashion,’ he recalls. ’They’d scream around the

place as if they were driving hot rods, changing gears to go round

corners.’ He denies adopting that particular mode of perambulation

himself, though his excited ’vrooming’ as he tells the tale blows his

cover somewhat.



The vrooming and the hurtling are all part of Munday’s boundless energy,

and you can’t help but like him for it. His enthusiasm is so infectious,

in fact, that half way through the interview I seize this week’s copy of

Radio Times from his desk - resplendent with the gorgeous Grant Mitchell

on the cover - and hold it up in front of him: ’Look - this is yours!’ I

say, burning with envy and inexplicable pride.



Munday smiles and shrugs. ’Yeah - great, isn’t it?’



THE MUNDAY FILE



1981: Haymarket Publishing, sales executive



1982: Radio Times, sales executive



1985: TV Times, senior sales executive



1988: Radio Times, group head



1994: Radio Times, advertisement director



1998: Radio Times, publisher.



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).