James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Radio in the car needs to get better – and here’s how

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.

  • Radio in the car – a better experience – my article this week highlights some great work being done by Radioplayer to make radio in the car better.
  • In Australia, “community radio is well placed as a trusted local news source“, says the excellent Steve Ahern. I was at the AGM for 4ZZZ last week, and was struck by the absence of politics and nonsense, and by the positivity of the occasion.
  • Meanwhile in the UK last week, David Lloyd’s excellent report about community radio for Radiocentre, highlighting its effect on small commercial radio services, was pilloried by community radio – most of whom, I suspect, haven’t bothered reading it and who certainly don’t understand the points that were being made. The most eye-opening parts are towards the end of the report, which contains station logs
  • How the battlefield sounded as World War I guns fell silent – some astonishing sound recording technology here from 1918.
  • Only in the US (possibly) – this radio, christened “The Public Radio”, gets just one (FM) station, and is in a hipster jar. It’s like a TargetTuner but for people with poor beards. Accordingly, I may order one.
  • As Christmas is on the horizon, I’m looking forward to Australian radio’s christmas-time sabotage again. I wrote this last year, and I suspect that little will change again this year.
  • Australia’s doing some trials for a more ‘hybrid’ method of radio measurement. GfK warn that random opinions shouldn’t really matter, and that data and testing is more important.
  • Video didn’t kill the radio star… but electric cars might – almost, but not quite, a #lazybugglesheadline.
  • If you’re a fan of radio bloopers, you might enjoy Steve Penk’s Radio Nightmares – three hours of bloopers, as aired last weekend. Good to hear Steve on the BBC.
  • Not the world’s greatest advertisement for the ABC’s previous bosses, this.
  • Radio James FM – good times only’ – this station already sounds great, and I haven’t even been able to listen.
  • That headlong rush to smart speakers… how’s that working out for you? David Oxenford reminds (US) broadcasters how much additional money you spend when streaming; and don’t also disregard streaming costs, too.
  • The Sunday Times points out that fewer and fewer people are listening to BBC Local Radio. If you take a look at the figures, ten of the BBC’s local radio stations are on their lowest figures ever; and a further nine are on their second-lowest-ever. Sadly, BBC Local Radio, like much at the BBC, is driven by nervous management wanting to avoid bad press rather than giving any consideration to a consistent, coherent programming policy to delight audiences.
  • There’s a benefit to Brexit after all. All that small print from radio ads will disappear next year, when the UK leaves the EU. Mind, so will international businesses, fresh food and medicine, so, you know, ups and downs.
  • This article claims that US radio is just targeting older listeners to manage decline. That’s one way of doing it, I suppose.
  • Congratulations to Belgium, which is now fully covered by DAB+. They promoted it across stations all over the country (“on both sides of the language border”). 30% of new cars in Belgium are sold with DAB+ installed as standard; that figure’s over 90% in countries like the UK and Norway.

James Cridland