James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Podcast-first radio

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.

I present a weekly podcast, Podland, with Sam Sethi – all about podcasting. It’s out every week, normally with some interesting interviews: tomorrow’s will have Arica McKinnon and Bruce Supovitz from Nielsen, talking about their recent Podcasting Today report, for example.

But Sam also runs River Radio, an online-only radio station. According to Whooshkaa, it’s a podcast first radio station, which a bunch of clever technology turning the on-air service into on-demand. Worth a read and a think; I’m not totally sure that this means it’s “podcast-first”, but as a different way to program a station, I think it’s worth looking into.


  • I looked at the early history of podcasting in the UK. You’ll find some clips here too, including the first Pete and Geoff Breakfast Show podcast from Virgin, and the first archived Nick Ferrari podcast that I could discover, from October 2005 – strangely, Ferrari suggesting that there will never be a global pandemic.
  • In Australia, an interesting figure: 15% of Nine Radio’s audience are ‘using streaming or podcasts once a month’. Weekly streaming reach is 25% in UK. I wonder why it’s so much lower in Aus: perhaps it’s related to the age of the audience?
  • Compare that with telly – assuming no overlap, 17% watched The Block online (either live or on-demand). Channel 9 is on free-to-air TV. The Block is a home improvement reality show, and includes long, lingering shots of Kinsman Kitchens And Wardrobes, Beaumont Tiles, Velux windows, and McDonalds coffee.
  • Two of Nine Radio’s services in Brisbane are switching frequencies early next month. 4BH, an unloved, automated oldies station with sparse ads for funeral directors, vitamin supplements and pest control gadgets, is moving to 1116 AM; and newstalk format 4BC is switching to 882 AM. 882, it seems from the release, has the better signal. Not mentioned at all (either in the release or on-air) – both stations’ presence on DAB+, which is much better quality still. As an aside, the stations both use an enhanced error correction rate for added resilience on DAB+; both are remarkably high bitrate; and the time-signal pips are deliberately not played out on the digital signal, lest people set their watches a few seconds out.
  • Matt Deegan writes about the RAJARs, and what the CRA in Australia is doing.
  • Obviously, far-right hate radio stations in North America originally came from… the catholic church.
  • Wondered what the script for ‘The Shipping Forecast’ looks like? Astonishingly it’s all in capitals, which must make it much harder to read. Anyone who writes in all-capitals in 2021 is a masochist.
  • The NAB Show is cancelled with less than a month to go. I really feel for the team that had to make this call.
  • I’m still scratching my head about Virgin Radio tweeting about a presenter leaving BBC Breakfast. What’s the strategy behind tweeting about competition for the Chris Evans Breakfast Show? Where’s the overlap between the audiences? (It got 10 likes, and I was the only quote-tweet).

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James Cridland