Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, who's done some of the best current reporting on the late Jimmy Hoffa (while Hoffa's son was running for the Teamsters Union presidency), tells me he first met the elder Hoffa in 1974 when he was just out of prison and giving speeches. Alter interviewed him for his high-school paper, earning "priceless `who-the-bleep-is-this-kid?' expressions."
Bicycling (Rodale) named a new Eastern sales rep, Jeff Pierce. In addition to being a dandy salesman, Jeff is one of only five Yanks ever to have led a stage in the Tour de France, having won the final day in Paris in 1987. He'll work out of the mag's Manhattan office at 733 Third Ave.
Fascinating move by Lanny Jones of People, luring away from YM editor Christina Ferrari to "develop a magazine for teens." Christina, who's married to the son of Glamour Editor Ruth Whitney, is considered a hot ticket.
Ave atque vale to Tom Losee, retiring from Architectural Digest to be succeeded by Peter King Hunsinger. Earlier this century Tom replaced me as publisher when I was sacked by Harper's Bazaar (others succeeded me as editor and in my other roles about which I'm too modest to go on).
Mark Feb. 12 on your dance cards for that evening's black-tie gala benefit at the Waldorf in NYC for The Lighthouse. RSVPs to date include Cathie Black, Graydon Carter, Carl Portale, Leonard Lauder, Janice Grossman, Nancy Novogrod, David Pecker, Ann Jackson and other toppers. Chairs are Saks' CEO Philip Miller, Babs Walters and Bill Blass. To be honored, Oscar de la Renta. For info and tix, (212)614-0400.
House & Garden switched art directors. Robert Priest resigned and Diane LaGuardia took over. They don't waste any time over there, do they?
SRDS named Peter A. Spina VP-group publisher.
Lynn Goldberg's New York-based PR company changed its name to Goldberg-McDuffie Communications to reflect contributions made by Camille McDuffie. And rightly so.
Give me a break! Tree-hugging busybodies are after IBM and its agency Ogilvy & Mather over that commercial of a young girl and her dad rescuing an injured owl, getting it back in shape and releasing it again into the wild. The girl is now suspected of illegally keeping a great horned owl in captivity and breaking the law and endangering herself and others. I guess they want everyone arrested and the owl put down.
American Heritage (a Forbes mag) turned in an all-American performance with ad pages up 23% in '96 over '95 and ad bucks up 37%.
Josh Fenton joined Leonard/Monahan, the Providence ad agency, as VP-marketing. He's a former city councilman and aide to U.S. Sen. John Chafee.
They've filled Valerie Salembier's shoes at Meigher Communications. New VP-business development and prez of their Quest mag is Brette Popper. She'd been with USA Weekend.