Magazine creator Don Welsh, who still resembles a post-graduate scholar at one of our better universities, would turn 61 the day after we lunched, and was telling me about his first-ever parachute jump and how he can't wait to do it again. But for a change, Don isn't about to announce yet another new magazine. "I'm sticking with this one for a while," he said, meaning Budget Living, now selling half a million copies (10% on newsstands at $3.99), and fat with ads. "We're moving from bimonthly to 10 times in the spring." They've also spun off two books ("Home Cheap Home" and "Party Central"), which retail for about 20 bucks through Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton Books. Overstaffed? Don't be absurd. Welsh has 28 employees. "I brag that we have 30!" and is moving all of them downtown next week to smashing new digs overlooking a park near NYU, a sublet from HBO. "It's 10,000 square feet with spectacular fixtures, fittings and furniture. You ought to see it." But no new launches? "My shareholders want me to focus on what we have now." Then, slyly, "Maybe I'll have something to talk about in another year." The guy's hooked. I give him nine months, tops.
Terry McDonell of Sports Illustrated tells me they're having "a terrific year" with ad pages up 10% and dollars 16% ahead. Their Web site's been moved to N.Y. from Atlanta, "making the site more identified and compatible with the mag." And their 2-year-old SI on Campus is now available at 70 colleges nationwide, and through the Web site. "Sorry for the shameless self-promotion," says the courtly managing ed.
Health (Time Inc.) hired Faith Silverman as Eastern ad manager. She was at Fitness.
Ron Wood is a new account manager based in New York for National Geographic Traveler. He was associate publisher/ad director of Inside Triathlon mag in Colorado.
And at Travel & Leisure, James Ashton joins as senior account manager-fashion and cameras.
Kathy Kayse writes a gracious note to say she'll be back at Time Inc. "in a brand new capacity" after her leave of absence. She was publisher of People and a class act.
The New York Daily News added two Sunday mags this month, its own called 25 Hours (Uma's the first covergirl) and the reconstituted Life (with Sarah Jessica Parker).
Joe Gibbs gone back to Nascar yet?