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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: When should you ignore the data? And the UK’s new RAJARs

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.


  • Ed contacts me with The CPN Project, an interesting-looking project. Funded by the EU, it “offers news organisations transparent & easily integrated software to personalise their content.” It works in English, Dutch and Greek, and looks interesting: lots of user-testing and open results from their work.
  • David Phillips is one of the cleverest people I know (and certainly one of the nicest-dressed). He works for the Canadian audience research company NLogic, and this recent edition of the Sound Off Podcast is worth a listen – a quite compelling argument for ignoring what the data says and using your gut, as well as a peek into Canadian broadcasting.
  • Jon Sopel thinks that the impartiality required by the BBC can make for quite boring content. I think I’d partially agree with that: the BBC News website is functional but quite dull – but I think you can make some interesting content (not least, Brexitcast.) It’s quite a balancing act.
  • In the world of podcasting, an interesting tie-up with Sony and Somethin’Else. Sony Music appear to be into podcasting in a way no other record company is: I wonder what their end goal is?
  • Alert! #lazybugglesheadline spotted! – thanks to Oliver Needham
  • How’s radio going in the US? Pandora earnt $1.6bn in revenue; SiriusXM satellite radio earnt $6.1bn, according to their financial results. (The reason I quote these two? It’s radio. Isn’t it?)
  • A long read about Magic, the national radio brand in the UK. I suspect someone at Bauer saw the FT’s coverage of LBC and wondered if they could get a bit of that; and Cat Martin ‘magically’ pulling this out of the hat. Nice piece: I’ve also enjoyed watching a bit of video content from the breakfast show trying to find a particularly velvet-voiced train announcer.
  • Interesting chart from iHeartRadio in the US, suggesting that younger people listen to more ‘audio’ than older. Not visible: what audio they’re actually listening to.
  • As an aside: does anyone know when you say “iHeartRadio” and when you say “iHeartMedia”? Is there a cheat-sheet or some easy-to-follow rule? I’ve asked the PR team, but either a) they hate me, b) they didn’t get the email, or c) they don’t know. Here’s hoping it’s b).
  • The UK’s new radio figures are out. Lots of good news – but curious that none of the coverage or think-pieces I’ve read about these RAJAR figures mention that they’re new record low figures for radio listening (in terms of reach and hours listened). There’s lots of good stories – but I worry for the UK industry’s complacency.
  • Alexa, why is this radio station promoting an on-demand music service? Do you think they know what they’re doing? Alexa?

James Cridland

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