James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Chris Evans’s gamble

James Cridland, the 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.


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  • A big day on Monday – as Chris Evans announced, live on-air that he was to leave the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, which is the most-listened-to breakfast show in Europe. In an astonishing signing, he’s going back to the Virgin Radio brand – a DAB-only radio station with 400,000 listeners. Matt Deegan blogged suspiciously early about it.
  • Adam Bowie wonders whether the many local Wireless Group FM stations will rebrand to Virgin Radio and take the show. They could; but in total, they only reach just over 1m listeners anyway. You could certainly make an argument for simply rebroadcasting Virgin on some of their FMs, though.
  • The most fascinating blog, to me, was Phil Riley’s maths. In it, he works out how many listeners they would need to make Virgin Radio enough money. He works out that by year five, the station would need 4m listeners. To put that into context: the “old” Virgin Radio did achieve over 4m listeners, with Evans at the helm (he joined October 1997; RAJAR’s first results were 4.6m in Mar 1999). However, after March 2000 the station under Evans never hit 4m again. And that station had an FM licence in London – which the present Virgin Radio doesn’t.

Not Evans

  • The Economist, writing about UK commercial radio. In glowing terms.
  • A bit of multiplatform history – BBC Radio 1 finally turned on FM back in 1988. Up until then, the only top 40 radio in FM stereo was from local commercial stations. Andy Walmsley looks back.
  • I have very high hopes of Greg James’s Radio 1 breakfast show when they’re doing fun stunts like this. Very bright idea not to focus on vacuous celebrity, but instead to focus on making the listeners the stars – it’s what radio does best. PS: not so sure about that camera line.
  • BBC Local Radio are planning their new local shows. Matt Deegan has some advice.


James Cridland

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