Simon Cole - Chief Executive, UBC Media Group plc

After reading Drama at Manchester University, Simon joined the BBC for his initial training in the radio medium. He moved rapidly to commercial radio, joining Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio in 1983. After only 3 years as presenter and producer, winning the industry’s coveted ‘Sony’ award twice for “Best Classical” and “Best Pop Music” programmes, he became the station’s Head of Programmes.

In 1987, after he had predicted the emergence of an independent production sector, the board of Piccadilly Radio plc asked him to establish just such an operation on their behalf. PPM Radiowaves was the result, and the company went on to establish the market for sponsored networked programmes.

In 1989, Simon left to establish The Unique Broadcasting Company, which became market leader in both the production of network radio programmes for commercial radio throughout the UK and BBC Radio.

In July 2000, Unique floated on the London Stock Exchange AIM as part of UBC Media Group with Simon as the Group Chief Executive. £5m was raised through the float to fund an aggressive expansion into digital radio and the company’s market capitalisation has risen since float to around £45m.

Whilst continuing its involvement in radio production, UBC has become a leading company in the rapidly emerging digital sector, UBC owns 49% of the national digital radio station, Oneword, and 80% of Classic Gold Digital which operates analogue AM and digital licences throughout the UK. In addition, the company has developed software products, which are powering the new interactive and data services sector of digital radio both here in the UK and in the USA.

In December 2001 Simon was made a Fellow of the Radio Academy.