100: Don Thomson - Commercial Director, Piccadilly, Chrysalis, COO Global
From a place behind a newsagents’ counter armed just with a single O’ level – emerging as a leading influence in getting the business of brand-based commercial radio into shape as Group Commercial Director at Chrysalis, then COO at Global Radio.
In this hour of ‘Radio Moments – Conversations’, Don Thomson tells of his days at the mighty Kelloggs, before alighting on a career in radio at a colourful Piccadilly in Manchester. He moved to LWT, before establishing a national radio airtime sales agency representing the UK’s newest stations – and then returning to Piccadilly as sales director.
As Chrysalis won the first of its major radio licences, Don was appointed as sales director, helping to establish Heart in the West Midlands where he designed refreshing and more accountable customer-focused ad policies as the medium became more competitive for both clients and audiences. His role broadened as Chrysalis won the London licence and his clear vision and operational focus helped to position the brand approach to radio we recognise today.
On the acquisition of Chrysalis by the new Global Radio in 2007, Don became Chief Operating Officer, helping to integrate the GCap stations as Global rose to its dominant position. Since leaving the Company, he has been involved in a variety of projects, including a period as Chief Exec of Celador Radio.
He reflects on the lessons he learned from Kelloggs; the tricks of client relationships; and the programmers and presenters who have helped or hinder commercial efforts.
In his own words – this is the Don Thomson story.