CLT’s new sales chief isn’t bothered about his faults, Anne-Marie
For a man who some have likened - looks-wise at least - to an Arab
terrorist, Stan Park has done pretty well for himself.
Having left his previous job as the managing director of Independent
Radio Sales, when the company went belly-up in February (he declines to
go into detail but the industry continues to rumble with rumours), Park
has turned up as the new commercial director of CLT UK Radio (Campaign,
last week). His brief is to oversee sales for CLT’s two main brands,
Talk Radio UK and Atlantic 252.
Rather touchingly for one of his years and experience, Park is visibly
chuffed to have landed such a high-profile job. Don’t forget, this was
an entirely unsolicited number, as the terms of his departure from IRS
decreed it was not good to talk and he spent six weeks waiting for the
phone to ring.
Happily, he did not wait in vain. Indeed, he hints that the line was
veritably humming with offers, but then that’s only to be expected of a
man who has applied for just one job in his life (his first).
Ask Park why he thinks CLT targeted him and at first he professes not to
have a clue. This is nonsense and Park knows it. Maybe he is attempting,
rather late in the day, to come across all self-effacing. Or maybe he
has been chastened by the IRS experience.
This aside, there’s no denying the fact that Park’s reputation goes
before him. After 18 years in the business, there ain’t many people who
haven’t come across Stan Park and they’re more than happy to tell you
what they know.
Park, the scourge of advertising agencies, the man who would ring them
up regularly and give them an ear-bashing about how crap they were at
radio. Park, the man who insists people do things his way and has no
time for those who don’t pull their weight. Park, the man who lacks
patience and concentration, who keeps a bell on his desk which he rings
when bored. Park, the journalist’s dream, in whose lexicon ‘off-the-
record’ does not figure largely, to wit: ‘Radio needs high-profile
people. Who is the sales director of Media Sales and Marketing?’ And
later, apropos characters in the industry: ‘I have a thing against short
He cheerfully admits to a string of faults and more besides. Yes, he
does have a reputation as being difficult and aggressive (‘where it
suits’) and he’s lost count of the number of people he’s had stand-up
rows with over the years. He claims to be unbothered by what others
think of him - when I tell him the one about the Arab terrorist he roars
with laughter and takes the joke a stage further. ‘When I had a
moustache, I was always getting stopped at customs - I even got stopped
on my way to the Guernsey Media Circle last year. I got fed up with it,
so I decided to shave it off,’ he chortles.
Ah yes, Guernsey. It was there, reliable sources suggest, that Park was
overheard pontificating on Talk Radio in no uncertain terms. When I put
this to Park, he sighs, but doesn’t duck the issue. ‘It’s easy to say
now that radio is successful, but Talk had a difficult launch. Together
with other speech formats on independent local radio, Talk is up against
50 years of BBC domination.’
Others recall his opposition to Atlantic 252 and then toss in the fact
that Park has never actually sold a national radio station in his life.
‘He’s got a sales house mentality and his war cry is ‘muscle is king’,’
a peer says dismissively.
Park couldn’t care less. He’s been in radio for donkey’s years and sees
himself as ‘a bit of a pioneer’. He was there at the start when it had
no profile or credibility and he has stuck with it. Now, at 43, he’s
landed a fresh challenge: to establish CLT UK Radio sales and increase
revenue for its two biggest national stations.
Despite the sniping, many - mainly agency - people think he’s the right
man for the job. ‘I’m glad he’s not been lost to the radio industry,’
David Pattison, a partner at Pattison Horswell Durden, says. ‘He’s very
professional and the ultimate radio enthusiast.’
To John Ayling, the managing director of John Ayling and Associates,
Park is a ‘personality...and personalities matter in radio’.
True, but so do results. So how do Park’s stack up? Recently, on the
face of it, not very well, but it would be unfair to judge him by the
IRS experience alone. As he points out, ‘IRS never lost a contract
through poor sales’.
After 18 years in radio, Park’s name is possibly his most bankable
asset. There are other factors too, such as real commitment and
enthusiasm, but as a common-or-garden, all-weather, in-your-face
industry champion, Park takes some beating.
The Park file
1975 Thomson Newspapers, graduate trainee
1977 LBC, local sales executive
1979 Radio Sales and Marketing, sales executive
1980 Broadcast Marketing Services, sales controller
1987 Independent Radio Sales, group sales director
1993 IRS, managing director
1996 CLT UK Radio, commercial director