Terry O’Reilly to leave Pirate in December

Pirate Radio co-founder to focus on radio, books and strategy consulting

Terry O’Reilly wears many hats – writer, radio host, ad guru and mentor – but in December that work load will get a little lighter when he steps away from day-to-day operations at Pirate Radio, the company he co-founded in 1990.

O’Reilly, known to many as the host of CBC Radio’s marketing-focused show Under the Influence and its predecessor, Age of Persuasion, is set to leave Pirate on Dec. 12 (or, for those prone to Mayan-style apocalyptical thinking, 12/12/12).

His Pirate duties will fall largely to fellow partner Tom Goudie. The company’s other remaining partners are director Tom Eymundson, and the director/composers Chris Tait and Vanya Drakul.

“We’ve been planning this for three years,” O’Reilly told Marketing. “It’s crazy that it’s here so fast. It’s remarkable how fast time flies.

“A company has to plan for a partner leaving. It’s a great time for me and what’s going on in my life. My radio show is wonderful, I’m about to start my eighth season, and it’s led to so many other wonderful things.”

CBC has been courting O’Reilly to do more radio work. He’s been a guest host on Jian Ghomeshi’s popular program Q (a trend that looks to continue), and CBC will likely expand its order for Under the Influence now that O’Reilly has quit his “day job.”

“I’ve always held [Under The Influence] to a six-month show, January to June, because [the show] is a full-time job and I’ve already got a full-time job. I’m sure they’ll want to talk to me about expanding that.”

He says he wants to write another book (he co-authored The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture with Mike Tennant in 2011) and, as a new venture, O’Reilly wants to professionally advise marketers on strategy… although he dislikes the name “consultant.”

“I really want to help advertisers with their strategy and inspire their marketing departments,” he said. “I love strategy more than I’ve ever loved strategy in my whole career. Because Pirate has a creative department, we always have direct clients and we’re always talking about strategy. I want to move into the marketing departments to help them, rather than having them coming to us with a task. That’s the most exciting thing for me.”

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