Lunch at Circo in Manhattan with the dynamic duo of Molly Schaefer and Pamela Fiori. They run Hearst Corp.'s Town & Country, one of those "mature" magazines everyone discounts as tired and bereft of upside potential or snap. Except that Publisher Schaefer tells me since Pam came aboard four years ago as editor in chief (from American Express Co. magazines) ad pages have nearly doubled, from 626 pages to 1,205. For this year's first half, they're up 28% over '96. How did they do it? "I came to T&C with the assumption the rich in America had changed, largely from inherited wealth to earned wealth, but the magazine, editorially, had not," said Ms. Fiori. "It was more female than I thought (70%-30%), and I'd never run a woman's magazine (she'd edited Travel & Leisure and other mags) but wanted to. I felt there was a whole other way to look at affluence. It was now defined as: accomplishment, achievement, involvement with community and a sense of obligation. So we started making changes and except for frightening off a few hundred readers, most said, `Thank God you're changing it. We just never got around to canceling but should have.' We dropped from a median age of 49-50 to 45. Our median income is $114,000 (she thought only Architectural Digest might be higher), and circulation is 425,000." Of course, she said, folding in Connoisseur didn't hurt. Molly said fine jewelry (not the costume version) remains the No. 1 ad category followed by fashion & retail, art & antiques and home furnishings. Any automotive? They're working on it but are running Range Rover and Discovery.
Met and was interviewed by "Good Morning America's" Elizabeth Vargas. She's very pleasant, very competent.
N.Y. steakhouse Smith & Wollensky will open in October at South Beach, Miami at the east end of the same causeway as Joe's Stone Crab.
Cigar Aficionado claims its 93% increase in single copy sales over the last half of 1996, leads all other mags.
Alan Waxenberg reports Victoria started the second half with a bang, with August up 45% in ad pages. The November issue will feature the 10th anniversary of Washington's National Museum of Women in the Arts. Alan will donate a percentage of ad revenue to the museum.
Tracee Kiner is the new senior VP for Hachette Filipacchi Global Advertising, North America. She joined as a VP four years ago from YM where she brought in lots of beauty biz.
Former VP for PR at Cunard Priscilla Hoye and marketing man/author Joe Scott set up Scott Associates, a communications company at 322 W. 57th St. in Manhattan. First clients are in travel, magazine publishing, art.
A Fairchild Publications veteran floats this scenario: current management (and others) talking to Disney re: Women's Wear Daily and W. The idea, buy back both mags, then go public or link up with investors. John Fairchild not involved. No confirmation whatever.
The late Tony Lukas did the kind of writing most journalists aspire to and few achieve. May he find peace.