ANALYSIS: HOW TO SELL TO ... Tim McCabe - BBJ’s clean living head of radio downs pints on his back, says Rachel Minter

At 30, Tim McCabe is a father, an associate director, BBJ’s head of radio and, arguably, the best beer trickster in town.

At 30, Tim McCabe is a father, an associate director, BBJ’s head of

radio and, arguably, the best beer trickster in town.

’It’s easy and always goes down well,’ beams McCabe, referring to his

beer trick. The act involves him lying on his back and necking a pint

without spilling a drop.

But there’s much more to McCabe than drinking. The son of a vicar, he

was imbued with a social conscience from an early age. So when he left

school, he enrolled on a social care course and worked with handicapped


He is another of those folk who ’fell’ into media when he was approached

and later recruited by Broadcast Media Services, the now defunct radio

sales house.

He was headhunted by BBJ to work on its radio accounts in 1991.

Two years later, McCabe became concerned he was being pigeonholed as a

radio person, so in 1993 he joined CIA as a TV buyer under Ian ’Mad Dog’


However, the inexperienced McCabe found the big media agency world

somewhat daunting. ’When you are young, it’s difficult to get anyone to

help you. I felt completely thrown in at the deep end,’ he confides.

Three years later, McCabe swam his way back to dry land at BBJ, where he

became head of radio. The company had recently expanded and McCabe was

made an associate director. ’I love this company, its clients and the

fact we are not treated like suppliers,’ he says.

McCabe’s sweep of accounts includes Bass, AOL, RAC, Cable & Wireless and

Lycos. His annual billings are around pounds 10 million.

Here’s something to bear in mind when pitching to him: ’I’m happy to see

most people as long as they have something to say and can say it

quickly.’ He dislikes irrelevant sales pitches that demonstrate no

understanding of radio.

This is not surprising considering McCabe has been tipped as a radio

expert: ’If you want to know something about radio, then ask McCabe,’

says one industry fan.

While he is no bible basher, McCabe leads a fairly clean lifestyle. He

recently gave up smoking and says his wife Abigail, a sister at Barts

hospital, acts as his social conscience. They often take their

14-month-old son Max to watch dad play rugby but it remains to be seen

whether McCabe Junior will grow up to become as adept a drinker as his







Irrelevant sales pitches

Smoking in pubs

Media inflation.