ARIAS 2017: Individual of the Year

Radio Academy Individual of the Year

Voting has now closed, but you can still check out the nominees here

Kellie While

Head of Creative, 7digital

Kellie’s had a fantastic year. A respected member of the 7digital management team, Kellie is also Head of 7digital Creative, helming a division that brings together all the company’s teams working on content and curation. She has led a successful rebrand to consolidate the independent production companies Smooth Operations, Unique and Above the Title under the 7digital Creative name, while continuing the mammoth task of producing the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – the station’s flagship live music event – for the 5th consecutive year.

Kellie manages a team of 30 talented creatives across London and Salford. Together, they produce over 25 hours of high quality content every week for BBC radio across pop music, specialist genres and speech programming, as well as podcasts and original content for Audible, Sky Arts and others. Also under her leadership is Entertainment News, a regular fixture on the red carpet and the largest syndicated showbiz news provider to radio in the UK, whose content is now also available as a flash briefing for Amazon’s Echo devices.

Throughout the past year, Kellie has demonstrated considerable value to the growing 7digital by retaining her department’s key contracts and winning new business with commercial clients. Her clients have recognized her contributions to their growing audiences and consistently strong output. Kellie is part of the wider radio community and is serving her second year on the board of RIG, which was instrumental in the development of the radio commissioning framework (previously ‘Compete and Compare’). She takes part in various judging panels, speaks at industry conferences and supports emerging talent such as with the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.


Maria Williams

Head of Development, Loftus Media

Maria Williams is an award-winning executive radio producer and podcast-maker. She was also the founder of the industry’s leading group for women in audio and radio, Sound Women. Under Maria’s leadership, this influential group went from strength to strength over five years, receiving widespread press and praise, and achieved real change in the industry. Campaigning for and achieving stronger representation of female voices in BBC Local Radio and elsewhere.

Maria is widely known in the industry for her passion, innate ability to lead creative teams, and her high production values. She is inspiring, courageous, inventive and generous. Her absolute commitment to the medium is undeniable. She has challenged and championed, created a legacy of change and empowered a generation of programme makers.

Maria spent much of her radio career at the BBC, where she specialised in speech and music. As an Executive Producer at BBC Radio 4, she created and launched the Sony Gold Award winning programme Saturday Live. As Deputy Editor of Woman’s Hour, Maria oversaw everything from the Tory leadership debate to an interview with Lauren Bacall, and at BBC Radio 1 she led the network’s social action content, such as the Sunday Surgery, and its Documentaries team.

Maria was Head of Programmes at Wise Buddah and is now Head of Development at Loftus Media, where she manages projects for the BBC and commercial clients, and creates podcasts including the 52 part series Radio 4 on Music and the monthly Barbican ScreenTalks.

Matt Deegan

Founder and Creative Director, Folder Media

A founder of Folder Media, Matt runs the national Fun Kids radio station, runs MuxCo, a digital radio multiplex operator, and consults for a variety of radio companies in Europe. This year he launched Upload Radio, a self-service digital radio station and a worldwide first. Innovation is at the core of his businesses, from the use of multi-platforms to office and staffing.

He also created Folder Media’s content production business that devises and makes new types of radio, TV and interactive ideas for UK broadcasters. It’s created programming for Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2 and Radio 4 and CBBC.

Previously, at GWR Group and GCap he successfully won radio station licences and looked after the group’s interests in local digital radio multiplexes.

Keen to have an impact on the wider radio and audio industry in the UK, he also operates the Next Radio conference, which he founded with James Cridland, and devised the British Podcast Awards, which was a collaboration with Matt Hill.

Generous with his time, Matt is keen to help new people into the radio business. He’s a trustee of a community radio station at Royal Holloway, and works with student radio broadcasters and Radiodays Europe. If you’ve entered a radio award, he’s probably judged it.

Matt Deegan is an asset to the UK radio industry, and proof that you don’t always need a large group behind you to achieve great things.

Phil Critchlow

CEO & Founding Director of TBI Media, and Chair of the Radio Independents Group (RIG)

This year has seen TBI named ‘Indie of the Year’ for the fifth year running at the New York Festivals Awards. TBI’s World Cup ’66 for Radio 2, 5 live and cinema, staged at Wembley Arena, was described as ‘the largest radio programme ever made’ and won seven New Yorks, including the Grand Award.

TBI produces an extremely broad portfolio of radio including Pause for Thought (Radio 2), Something Understood (Radio 4), Craig Charles Funk & Soul (6 Music), and B.Traits, Diplo&Friends, and BenjiB (Radio 1). Powerful short series included the multi-award winning The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away (Radio 4) and U2@40 (Absolute Radio). Large-scale events for commercial radio include Magic At The Musicals (Albert Hall) and Magic Of Christmas (London Palladium) in close partnership with Bauer.

In his voluntary role as Chair of RIG, Phil has worked with the RIG board and the BBC this year to deliver the new ‘Radio Commissioning Framework’ where significant sections of BBC Radio are being opened to competition. RIG is also working to ensure the Government’s proposed £60m Public Service Broadcasting Fund applies to audio as well as visual content. RIG runs the RIGtrain craft skills training programme, the Audio Production Awards, and this year is celebrating 25 years of independent production.

It’s been a great year for RIG and TBI, with Phil continuing to combine a real passion and ambition for radio with a measured and balanced approach to his industry work.

Siobhan Kenny

CEO, Radiocentre

It’s all come together for the radio industry in 2017, with record advertising revenues and listening figures. Here’s why that’s not a coincidence.

It’s just three years since Siobhan Kenny rocked up at Radiocentre at a time when the industry faced digital challenges as well as opportunities. Ushering in Sound Commercial Sense, a new purpose for Radiocentre, she set about delivering exactly that.

She began by turning three companies into one under a vibrant new brand. Improving the culture and reputation of the organisation was phase one of persuading all partners to See Radio Differently. Her fabulous campaign of the same name targeted advertisers not using radio. That campaign took bronze at The Cannes Lions international advertising festival.

Siobhan went on to relaunch the annual conference. Tuning In, is now a must-attend event for over 200 radio delegates, advertising agencies and government stakeholders. Recognising the important media world beyond the M25, Tuning In has headlined in Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

Her collaborative spirit and immense political experience, has propelled her to take on the Government to deregulate commercial radio and dispense with garbled on-air Ts&Cs. She is currently spearheading the Advertising Association’s work on the Government’s Industrial Strategy. As chair of Radioplayer since 2016, she champions new ways of listening and collaboration beyond radio.

Diversity is a huge passion and Siobhan has led industry thinking on transparency and employment practices. She introduced Creative Access internships across the industry as well as hosting joint BBC and Commercial Radio masterclasses.

Tony Moorey

Group Content Director, Magic and Absolute Radio

Creative and collaborative with an exquisite lightness of touch, Tony Moorey has rejuvenated and future-proofed a much-loved heritage radio brand, delivering a new and exciting vision. Since taking over Magic, he has methodically built upon strong foundations and started by commissioning industry-leading research which has shifted perceptions about the audience of luminaries. From the bottom-up he has modified the music policy, changed the imaging, delivered a new marketing proposition and created compelling, boundary-breaking branded content. He has empowered his team and delivered a self-assurance and confidence to a presenter line-up which now boasts national treasures, Mel Giedroyc and Ronan Keating among its stars.

He has launched three new stations – Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled and Magic Soul in the space of 18 months, embracing the DAB+ platform and delivering the strongest performance among D2’s new station launches. This sub-brand strategy is modelled on his previous success in running the Absolute Radio brand. Here, he was one of the pioneers behind the station’s inception and development, trebling the audience and ensuring the network is the most celebrated in commercial radio. Tony is one of the stand-out stars of commercial radio, a leader with an innate sense of what makes stunning radio and how to create it. Beyond that he also knows the power of a cohesive multi-platform strategy which amplifies, engages and excites.

Beyond his own stations, Tony's passion for the radio industry shines through. He's just stepped down following three years as a Radio Academy trustee, helping to re-shape and re-imagine the organisation.