James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Happy World Radio Day! Plus, the UK’s RAJAR results, and Aussie talent getting away with all kinds of things

James Cridland is Managing Director of media.info, and an Australia-based radio futurologist. He is a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. Find out more or subscribe at http://james.cridland.net

James sends his weekly newsletter with this note and video: It’s been fun being interviewed on a number of stations about World Radio Day. From the Australian ABC, to the Russian Radio Sputnik and BFM in Malaysia, it’s nice to talk about radio’s enduring future.

James Cridland’s articles:

United States

United Kingdom

  • John Myers rather mischievously posted this excerpt of some relatively draconian presenter guidelines to Twitter. Here’s another way of looking at it from Nails Mahoney (“use it as an opportunity”), while James Masterton says there’s actually little wrong with it at all.
    I think my main concern with this is that it just focuses on music. I’ve not much interest in music. I mean, I like it, but I don’t just turn the radio on just to listen to music. I listen to the radio to be connected to other human beings, to catch up, to hear stories, to be entertained.When Chris Evans moved from BBC Radio 1 to Virgin Radio, he brought millions of listeners with him, even though the music he was playing was totally different. When he started on BBC Radio 2, he did an interview in which he let slip that he doesn’t actually have a record collection at home. He makes great radio; and the music choice he’s given is inspired, but to reduce an entire radio service to enthusing about music appears rather a shame to me.After all: music is the one bit of content that radio broadcasts which we in radio don’t own. Twenty years ago, people might have tuned in because you had the new songs first, and you were in touch with all the big stars. Now, YouTube has all the new songs first, and Twitter lets me get in touch with the big stars. Music is no longer radio’s unique selling proposition. Literally everything else we do is.Also, and much more childishly, “All the biggest hits” sounds identical to something rather rude.
  • The UK’s RAJAR figures are out – the quarterly radio figures that cover all radio listening on all platforms. Here’s how they’re worked out.
    • One headline is that digital radio grows again: up to 45.2% share of listening. Hitting 50% in 2017 could kick off FM switchoff – though the UK would do well to wait until Norway’s finished turning off FM to understand the impact of audiences; that probably pushes it to 2018 for a decision, and 2020 for switchoff; and 2020 is a General Election year, which adds much uncertainty. Also worth mentioning that the FM switchoff planned for the UK is much less ‘clean’ than that in Norway – many more stations would stay on FM post switchover.
    • media.info contains RAJAR figures in a historical graph form. I like pointing people towards Wave 105’s audience figures to show how consistency and a good-sounding station can succeed. They’re a Bauer station, I might add.
    • Oxfordshire’s JACK remains the #1 brand in Oxfordshire – small and hard-working team. Congratulations.
    • BBC 6 music’s figures are also worth a look – an audience which is comfortable with Spotify and the web, yet unaccountably still listens to the radio. Who knew?
    • One of BBC local radio’s basket-cases a decade ago was BBC Radio Manchester, then known as GMR. They’re now posting record figures, which is good.
    • The BBC’s Big RAJAR Release focuses on Radio 4’s Today Programme, though BBC local radio as a whole is also up.
    • BBC Radio 1’s not having much of a good time. Here’s some analysis from the NME.
    • If it’s analysis you want, then you’ll want Adam Bowie and Matt Deegan, as well as John Rosborough for Northern Ireland.
  • Here’s what a major car manufacturer thinks is an adequate and clear guide on ‘how to play music’ in their vehicles – yikes.
  • From Next Radio last year – making friends with radio engineers – Ann Charles tells us that engineers are actually quite nice people and it’s worth getting to know them. Woah, steady on.
  • Want to see a new studio being built at BBC Radio Oxford? In a timelapse that’s nearly as long as the actual studio building process itself? Here.
  • “You never know who’s listening” says Stafford DJ who found love after listener tuned in by accident
  • Interesting tech plans for Sky this year – including voice control
  • I wrote a few weeks ago about how sad it was that live overnight radio has disappeared from BBC Radio 2. Here’s the voicetracked overnight replacement, if you’d like to take a listen.
  • How can ‘The Guardian’ survive? – interesting, detailed piece highlighting the uniqueness (and the not) of the paper. There are plenty of parallels for radio in here.
  • Nice background to how radio people view RAJAR from Mick Ord
  • BBC Radio 1/1Xtra head of music Chris Price outlines hopes for BBC streaming service


James Cridland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *