Inside the judging room: How to win an ARIA

9 Jan 2024 12:30 pm

Tips for winning big at the 2024 ARIAS, from those who judge it.

Date: Tuesday 9th January 2024

Time: 12:30-13:15 

Location: Zoom 

Moderator:  Phil Riley, Chair of Judges, ARIAS and CEO, Boom Radio UK 


  • Kiran Nandra, Radio Academy Trustee and Producer at BBC Radio 1Xtra
  • Nick Pitts, Content Director, Scala Radio
  • Camilla Byk, Co-Founder,

As we approach the time of year where the UK’s radio and audio industry and top content creators begin to reflect on their previous year’s work and prepare submissions for the upcoming ARIAS, we have assembled an esteemed panel of judges who will take you through their experiences of judging, the most significant trends that influence the decision-making process, and essential tips for brands thinking about entering this year.

Judges share their insights and advice on how to put together winning audio and text entries. 

During this lively discussion, we’ll unpack the following:

  • How does the judging process and scoring criteria work?
  • What excites the judges when they review entries?
  • What will get you a high score?
  • What else you need to consider when editing your 15 min audio entry
  • Top tips: The dos and don’ts!

This webinar will be LIVE, with an option for you to send in your questions via the chat. 

A video and podcast recording will also be available on the website after the event.

The expert panel:

Kiran Nandra is a Radio Academy Trustee and Producer at BBC Radio 1Xtra. Starting locally at BBC Radio Berkshire, Kiran worked with commercial and restricted service license stations in Slough, London and Southampton as well as in television with Newsroom South East, BBC Two’s First Sight and The Holiday Programme on BBC One before moving to the Midlands to spearhead the BBC Asian Network’s first national digital broadcast with Adil Ray in 2002.

During her time at the network, Kiran launched a versatile range of multi-genre specialist music and daytime shows with both brand new and established presenters, including a 3-part production for Radio 3’s World Routes programme. She moved to television as a Researcher for BBC Two’s lifestyle show, Desi DNA with Anita Rani and Nihal Arthanayake in 2006 and returned to Asian Network working across a range of daytime output, re-launching Drivetime and undertaking a stint as Editor in 2019.

Completing a CMI-Certified Leadership Apprenticeship with the BBC Academy in 2020, Kiran saw a move to BBC Radio 1Xtra, launching the UK’s first Official Afrobeats Chart with Eddie Kadi and producing stalwarts Trevor Nelson and Yasmin Evans alongside new music champions, Sian Anderson, Tazer Black, Reece Parkinson, Jeremiah Asiamah and Nick Bright. Kiran actively promotes culture change as a UK-wide BBC Inclusion Champion and reverse-mentor to senior leaders. Outside of radio, Kiran has spent more than a decade as a school governor in two educational settings and is currently a link governor with the media department for GCSE and A-Level students at her former secondary school.  


Nick Pitts has been part of the radio and audio landscape for 30 years, ranging from BBC National to launching small scale and DAB, via award winning big London breakfast shows and national commercial radio, in producing, creating imaging and leading for some of the UKs largest groups of the day.

Today, he is an innovative and creative leader in the specialist music radio world where he for Bauer Audio UK he is currently Content Director of Jazz FM and Scala Radio.  He has been part of the furniture of Jazz FM since it’s digital relaunch in 2008, with a journey from producer to board member when the brand was sold to Bauer Media, where he was part of the sale process and oversaw the integration in to the new owner.  He also has responsibility for leading the globally respected Jazz FM Awards and created and led its 30th Anniversary “Established 1990” initiative.  He added the Scala Radio to his portfolio in late 2022.

Nick strives to find creative opportunities in everything – on air, off air and in sales.  For the Radio Academy, Nick has been Creative Director for the Radio Festival in 2018 and 2019, plus the ARIAS 2020, and the Chair of the virtual Radio Festival for 2020.


Camilla Byk MBE co-founded, a non-profit podcast production and training organisation in 2012. Her mission is to hear young people represented and respected in the media. The audio platform known as ‘Podium’ equips young people aged 16 – 25 with the skills and opportunities to create podcasts and dramas inspired by their own lives and experiences. They have won awards for innovation and their grassroots approach.  Fellow and former trustee of The Radio Academy.


Phil Riley is currently CEO of Boom Radio, a business he co-founded with partner David Lloyd in October 2020 and which has been one of the most high profile, successful media launches of recent times.

Phil’s early career was spent at BRMB Radio in Birmingham, then moving to Leeds as Managing Director of Radio Aire. 

Phil joined the Chrysalis Group in 1994, and as Managing Director, he masterminded the launch and start-up operational phase of both 100.7 Heart FM in the West Midlands and Heart 106.2 FM in London. Phil played a major role in establishing Chrysalis Radio as one of the leading new entrants in the UK radio industry and was promoted to the role of Radio Division Chief Executive in June 1999, joining the plc Board. He led the sale of the radio business to Global in 2007, generating a near £100m profit for the group.

In July 2009 Phil spearheaded the acquisition of eight AM/FM Midlands licences from Global Radio, backed by the UKs leading Mid-Market Private Equity Company, LDC. He ran the businesses from their Birmingham base before the sale of the business to Bauer Media in 2016, again generating a substantial profit for shareholders.

Phil is a fellow of the Radio Academy, is Chair of judges for the Industry ARIA awards, and was named one of the 40 most influential figures in commercial radio’s first 40 years. In 2014 he was awarded the Arqiva “Special Award” for his “outstanding and continuing leadership within the radio industry”. 

Phil has an MBA (specialising in Marketing) from Columbia Business School.


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