Daryl Ilbury is a highly experienced and authoritative thought leader on communicating science across print, digital and broadcast platforms. He is a former multi award-winning broadcaster and columnist, now a senior science writer, editor, and best-selling author. He holds a degree in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in science journalism from City, University of London.
Daryl in brief…
Daryl is a former multi award-winning broadcaster and founder of the online resource for radio talent, The Edge. He is now a senior science writer with Research Outreach and Research Features and editor for the broadcast technology publisher RedTech. As a journalist and columnist, he has had over 300 bylines in a number of leading titles, including Financial Times, Sunday Times, Saturday Star, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, bizcommunity.com, Sunday Tribune, and Leadership magazine, where a lot of his focus is on the interface of science, the media and human behaviour. You can find a selection of his work under ‘Articles‘. He is the author of three books: Tim Noakes Chews the Fat, published by Mampoer Shorts, and A Fox’s Tale and Tim Noakes: The Quiet Maverick, published by Penguin Random House.
…and in case you need to know more…
Daryl cut his teeth in radio when he joined the local campus radio station in Durban, South Africa whilst studying for a degree in clinical psychology and a postgraduate higher diploma in clinical assessment and counselling. He presented the breakfast show and Top 20, and later, as the Programme Manager, was influential in the repositioning and rebranding of the station, and in steering the station towards becoming a more successful commercial venture. By the time he left university, the station, Dome Music Radio, was the most profitable campus radio station in the country. He was also involved in the setting up of radio stations on neighbouring campuses and responsible for drawing up the presentation guidelines that were adopted by many stations around the country.
He started in commercial radio at Radio Port Natal in 1986 and within a year had scooped the coveted breakfast show. When the station was sold he was appointed Programme Manager to oversee the transition to the new format, but turned down an offer to extend his tenure, preferring to remain contracted to present the flagship breakfast show and to concentrate on building Scienceworks, a science communications company he had started with his wife, Chantell.
As the Creative Director of Scienceworks, Daryl oversaw the design of the two ranges of funky science kits – a total of 16 different product lines – that Scienceworks then manufactured and distributed through major national retail groups, and eventually exported. He also designed and helped present the popular science shows and teacher training workshops that were an integral part of the company’s educational foundation.
He left broadcasting in 2003 to focus on his other passion: writing; however, shortly thereafter he was offered a position to host the weekend breakfast show on South Africa’s top talk radio station Talk Radio 702. He couldn’t say no. By this time he was also a regular op-ed columnist for the country’s top weekend title – The Sunday Times. Shortly after joining 702 he was asked to also become a regular op-ed columnist for The Saturday Star.
He left Talk Radio 702 at the beginning of 2006 to study further, lecture journalism and to develop the country’s first on-line resource for radio professionals – The Edge. After consulting to various stations and after receiving a number of requests to rejoin East Coast Radio, he did so at the end of 2006 to host The BIG Breakfast. Under his tutorage the show starting experimenting across various media platforms and went on to win numerous awards for both its on-air as well as on-line content; and became the biggest English medium independent breakfast show in the country, commanding the bulk of the station’s 1.9 million listeners. Daryl followed his own advice to get out while on top, and in 2009 hung up his headphones to become a media analyst and consultant specialising in talent development, all the time continuing to write for a growing number of titles.
In 2011 he returned to focus on science when he was accepted to City, University of London to do a master’s degree in science journalism, which he completed the following year. Whilst at City he was appointed Deputy Editor of the Journalism Department’s online magazine Elements. By this time he was writing a regular column in the science lifestyle magazine Guru; and, later, was offered the opportunity to write for The Financial Times. He later became a lead writer for the Health supplement of Business Day.
In September 2013 he was appointed the Media Coordinator for the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) in Pretoria, but found negotiating the notorious government bureaucracy intolerable, and left after a year to concentrate on designing and implementing communication workshops for scientists and the media.
In October 2012 he was asked by Anton Harber to write a short (10 000 word) book about Professor Tim Noakes for Harber’s fledgeling publishing company Mampoer Shorts. Daryl titled it The Quiet Maverick but the editors decided on another title: Tim Noakes Chews the Fat. It sold well, very well in fact, for Mampoer – becoming its best-seller, but it was not sufficient to save the company, which closed in August 2014. Mampoer returned the publishing rights to Daryl, and it seemed the story would remain largely unknown to all but the handful who had read it.
Luckily, one of those was Marlene Fryer of Penguin Random House. When Daryl contacted her in March 2015 with the idea of publishing a selection from his varied newspaper and magazine columns, Marlene immediately arranged a meeting and asked him to write for her. The ink wasn’t even dry on Daryl’s first book with Penguin –A Fox’s Tale – when Marlene asked, ‘So what’s next?’ By then the HPCSA hearing against Tim Noakes was in full swing and Daryl was sitting on a trove of information about Noakes he was never able to use. ‘How about a book on Tim Noakes?’ Marlene agreed without hesitation; the result is Daryl’s third book, Tim Noakes – The Quiet Maverick.
The Quiet Maverick made it to the best-seller shelves in leading bookstores, but, importantly for Daryl, it vied with other titles under the popular category ‘Current Affairs’ – incredibly rare for a book about science.
In 2017 Daryl was part of the team that founded Growing Foxes – an education and business-training company specialising in developing strategic thinking in young people. He served as editor before relocating to the U.K.
Daryl is married to leading business author and scenario strategist Chantell and they have two adult children.