Talk Radio finds new sales chief

Talk Radio UK moved quickly to quash any fears about its sales performance this week after the sudden resignation of sales director Alec Kenny.

An external replacement for Kenny has already been found and will be confirmed in the next seven days, managing director John Aumonier says.

Aumonier dismisses suggestions that the station’s initial sales performance has been below expectations. “It’s still terribly early days,” he said after Kenny’s departure from the national commercial speech station last Thursday.

“There will always be a hiatus period between launch and the first formal research data. The brands we have had on air have been pretty blue chip, and there’s more to come.”

Neither Aumonier nor Kenny would comment on the exact circumstances of the split. However, a number of agency sources suggest there was growing dissatisfaction within the station about agencies’ response to Kenny, a former Saatchi & Saatchi media director with no previous radio sales experience.

“They’ve made no real sales pitches,” adds one agency head. “Although they’ve seen me six times since November, on no occasion have they actively targeted any of my brands.”

Kenny joined Talk Radio UK last autumn. “I now wish to go back into an agency, having successfully launched the station,” he told Marketing Week on Monday.

But he counters speculation that the station’s launch last month was unsuccessful. “Talk Radio UK is a real opportunity,” he says. “What it needs, like any other launch, is a steady nerve.”

Aumonier says Talk Radio UK is sticking to its launch guarantee to advertisers of 20 million listening hours per week.

According to BT data, the station is receiving more than 350,000 calls a week from listeners phoning into its programmes. In London alone the figure is 109,000, which compares favourably with London Radio predecessor LBC’s weekly average of 12,000, the station claims.