Phil Riley was Chief Executive of Chrysalis Radio from June 1999 to July 2007, having played a major role in establishing Chrysalis Radio as one of the leading new entrants in the UK radio industry. Phil resigned his post after leading the successful sale of Chrysalis Radio to private company Global Radio in July 2007, before going on to found Orion Media before selling it in May 2016. He is a Fellow of The Radio Academy [1].


Riley's radio career started in 1980, when he joined Birmingham's BRMB as a graduate trainee. In 1990, he was appointed Managing Director of 96.3 Radio Aire in Leeds where he was responsible for the launch and success of Magic 828, the original Magic station. He left in 1994 to join the newly formed Chrysalis Radio as Managing Director of its first station, Heart 100.7 in Birmingham - a role he reprised the following year for sister-station Heart 106.2 in London.

Phil was active in the development of digital radio, sitting on the board of the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), as well as chairing multiplex consortium MXR (in which Chrysalis was the lead shareholder). On a wider industry level, Phil held main board memberships of The Radio Centre (formerly the CRCA and RAB) for over ten years. He also sat on the Rajar Board. Phil has an MBA (specialising in Marketing) from Columbia Business School.

He advised media company boards on strategy matters, and at the end of 2007 was named Executive Chairman of a bid for EMAP Radio, backed by Private Equity group Vitruvian Partners.

In May 2009, Riley purchased BRMB, Mercia, Wyvern, Beacon in the West Midlands and Gem 106 in the East Midlands from Global Radio for a sale price worth £37.5 million.[2] In January 2012, Riley announced that all these stations apart from Gem 106 would be rebranded as 'Free Radio' in order to give Orion better marketing opportunities.[3] On Thursday 3 July 2014, Riley received a Special Award at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards. [4]

In May 2016, Riley sold Orion Media to Bauer Media for a reported £50m [5]

When Bauer acquired a number of radio groups in February 2019, they were placed into a hold separate whilst the Competition and Markets Authority investigated the deal. Phil was employed as an independent Director to support the management teams of the acquired companies.[6]

Outside of his work for Bauer, Phil established Podcast Live, a business that arranges live events for the podcast sector. [7]


  1. ^ The Radio Academy "Fellows" Archived 2014-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Midlands radio sale cleared Archived 2009-09-04 at the Wayback Machine Radio Today - Accessed 5 July 2009
  3. ^ Feature: Orion’s Phil Riley on Free Radio Radio Today - Accessed 5 July 2009
  4. ^ "List of Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards Winners". Radio Today. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Orion Media sold to Bauer for £50m". Radio Today. Retrieved 6 My 2016. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Phil Riley appointed as Senior Independent Advisor at Bauer".
  7. ^ "Radio directors launch new Podcast Live company".