A few years ago, mainstream opinion held that the vibrancy of the
men’s magazine market showed just how poor women’s magazines were.
Following a general ratings slump and the high profile departure of
James Brown from GQ, the fashionable opinion is that it’s all over for
the lads’ mags.
Just don’t mention it to Anthony Noguera, new editor of FHM.
’I hate it when people say we’re a lads’ mag,’ says the normally affable
editor, who describes FHM as a mass market men’s magazine. ’We are about
giving men real information to help them with their lives.’
Noguera admits to looking at a change of direction for the magazine,
which sells an average of 750,000 copies an issue, but argues that this
is mainly to distinguish FHM from a rash of similar titles which have
flooded the market. ’We may laugh when we see Front selling just 10,000
copies, but that’s 10,000 people who aren’t reading FHM,’ he says.
Noguera’s passion doesn’t surprise his old boss Ed Needham, now
editor-in-chief of FHM special projects. ’Anthony has this appetite for
finding out what people think and feel about FHM,’ he says. ’He is
always the first with all the market news and gossip and inside
Noguera was part of the Mike Soutar/Ed Needham/Grub Smith team that
relaunched FHM to become the best-selling monthly magazine in Europe of
all time when one of last year’s issues sold 936,000 copies. He has been
editing FHM since last November when Needham took over responsibility
for the potential launch of a US version of the magazine, although his
appointment was only announced in February.
It has been a long journey for Noguera, who began his career with his
own student fanzine called Blackout while at college in Birmingham in
the early 1990s. ’It was a two-man operation: my mate interviewed comic
book artists while I wrote about rock bands,’ he says. ’Of course, all
those comic book guys are directing Hollywood blockbusters while the
bands I interviewed have all split up.’
Following college, he freelanced for the music press, including the
short lived German-owned publication Indicator - ’I earned about pounds
15 for a band review and it cost me pounds 70 to get to and from the
gig,’ he moans - then worked for Sky until he decided he needed a proper
job and started at a PR agency for students which he is loath to name.
’I was there for one day, when Mark Ellen rang up from Emap and offered
me the FHM features editor job, so I left,’ he explains. ’The guy who
ran the agency is now a millionaire, so maybe I made the wrong
But his brief experience working on the other end of the phone does mean
he is pretty sympathetic to PR people. ’I’m not one of those journalists
who doesn’t deliver cover promises,’ he says. ’I’ve been in charge of
every FHM cover since I joined and there’s only one shoot that didn’t
make it on to the mag in all that time, and that’s only because the
photos came out so badly. I’m someone you can trust,’ he beams.
Reporter, Indicator magazine
Features editor, FHM
Deputy editor, FHM