Commercial radio pioneer Stiby retires

By Kevin O’Donovan

Robert Stiby, a founder director of Capital Radio and one of the UK’s pioneers of commercial radio, has retired as chairman of local commercial radio company Tindle Radio.

Company founder Sir Ray Tindle praised Stiby’s contribution to UK media, which includes senior positions on newspapers, magazines, cable TV and commercial radio.

In 1972, Stiby helped set up Local News London, a company involved in funding applications for the new London commercial radio licences, which itself expanded with the success of local commercial radio and became Radio Investments (RIL).

Having established a reputation for improving small, underperforming radio stations, Stiby retired from the role of chairman of Local Radio Company (a subsidiary of RIL) in 2001.

He was tempted out of retirement and into a new position at Tindle Radio, which currently owns 10 local radio stations across the UK and has won four licences for new stations.

"I have a habit of retiring," he told Press Gazette, "but I won’t be going back to full-time work again — this is definitely the last time I’m doing it."

Of his pioneering work in the radio industry, Stiby said he enjoyed the buzz of doing something that no one else was doing.

"It did feel significant at the time, but it’s only when I look back do I realise how much. I have had a very interesting career," he said.

Stiby plans to spend more time with his nine grandchildren and at his second home in California. He also wants to visit the Antarctic and rediscover his interest in painting: "A neglected hobby."

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