If you fancy yourself in a pair of hipsters or wear belt-free
trousers, think twice before pitching to OMD UK’s radio chief Jonathan
’One of my mottos is ’never trust a man who doesn’t wear a belt,’’ he
If you are in radio sales, a belt might be a good investment. Gillespie
runs the UK’s second largest radio buying point with a budget of pounds
31 million and clients such as Vodafone, Boots and Camelot.
Gillespie left university in 1990 with an MA in English literature. He
then worked for Independent Radio Sales and Virgin Radio as client
account manager, before jumping into the agency world.
He joined OMD UK as director of radio in 1998 and sees his sales
experience as invaluable to his understanding of both sides of the
industry. ’I have a pretty good idea of what makes sales people tick
and, yes, it is always cash,’ he says. Gillespie, on the other hand, is
a little more complex in his approach.
He explains: ’My first boss told me that if you can’t convince people
with rational argument, then bore them to death. I have been operating
on that principle for the past two years - with excellent results. Never
use a short word when a long one will be more confusing.’
Indeed, if it’s straightforward information you’re after, you might try
looking elsewhere. Gillespie keeps his trade secrets close to his chest
and is fairly evasive about what makes him tick. ’What’s the size of
your team?’ I ask. ’No comment,’ comes the reply.
He does admit, however, that an over-riding paranoia and pride lurks
behind his work. ’I hate being beaten and find it hard to stand down
graciously,’ he admits.
Gillespie has remained consistent in his tastes since his student days,
when he wrote his dissertation on independent local radio and the 1990
’My anal interest in radio started when I couldn’t get Will Carling to
discuss the forthcoming professionalisation of rugby, so I had to find
another dissertation topic.’
A South Londoner with a mistrust of anything north of the river -
’bandit country’ - Gillespie is equally cagey about his life outside
work. He used to steam his way through the literary classics but doesn’t
get the time these days. He says he enjoys a single lifestyle but
However, he admits he likes listening to Radio 5 and enjoys a good
- South London
- People who dunk biscuits in tea
- North London.