James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Bushfire radio, a new Content Officer at KCRW, and the reality behind the hype

James Cridland, radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at james.crid.land.

  • In case you didn’t know, you can watch ABC News (Australia) over the internet: my little plaything livenow·news lets you find it as well as quite a few other news channels. Try to make time to watch it during Australian daytime – it’s a great channel, and puts many to shame. The ABC iView app is also available globally, with a lot of excellent output. They have a lot to teach other public service broadcasters.
  • David Lloyd listens to some Australian radio – mostly late night – to see how they cover the ongoing bushfires. Quite impressive to note commercial radio helping the ABC stay on the air, after the ABC’s Bateman’s Bay transmitter was burnt out by the fires. (And, of note, “radio keeps working in emergencies when the internet stops” is not always right – a dead transmitter is a dead transmitter, however you look at it).
  • Paul Bennun is the new Chief Content Officer of KCRW. This is awesome news: he’s a bright chap and a decent fellow, and I hope can manage to make some significant change at an already great station.
  • “I’m increasingly concerned that radio broadcasters are complacently using their current audience figures as an excuse not to change.” Ah, that’ll be me, then, in a predictions piece for RadioWorld.
  • Great to hear Katherine Feeney with a simple and clear rundown of how to listen to ABC Radio Brisbane just before the 7am news on 8th January, with frequencies and platforms. It should always be done, every hour, in my view. For all the emergency trails going out at the moment telling you to “remember your local ABC Radio frequency”, perhaps it would be an idea to tell people what that is once in a while. I haven’t heard any acknowledgement that ABC Radio Brisbane is on 612 kHz for over three years.
    • “On 612 AM, on digital radio, the ABC Listen app, and channel 25 on your TV, this is ABC Radio Brisbane”. If you’d like someone to voice it for you in a thin-voiced British accent… no?
  • The Reuters Institute have published their “Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2020”. As ever, a solid piece of work from Nic Newman.
  • Perry Michael Simon has views about where (US) radio is going. “Radio lacks innovation, the product has been damaged and it might need to be blown up”.
    • Keri Jones listens to the iHeartRadio Podcast Channel – “programmed without any sense of love, careful crafting or curation” – ouch. But he’s right: it’s a dog’s dinner technically. Much US radio is, and I don’t understand how iHeartRadio could produce something without any real thought as to how it works. Perhaps my hunch is corrrect – these “podcast channels” are literally the lowest-cost option of running a radio station (no music fees, no content fees).
  • Preservation is One of the Most Important Radio Trends of the Decade – RadioSurvivor telling us not to delete all our stuff. And they’re right.
  • Steven Goldstein comes back from CES with a healthy dose of reality behind the hype. We’re increasingly being sold vapour-ware, and things that may work at some point in the future but certainly aren’t a reality right now.
  • And there are new laws in the US against pirate radio. If you ever needed any proof that radio is a big thing still, then it’s the fact that in 2020, US lawmakers are passing laws for bigger fines and enforcement about people who really want to run a radio station but don’t have a licence.

James Cridland