James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Object-based media, and a radio station for cats

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.

James Cridland’s articles

  • Is object-based media in your future? It is, I think, and I find the whole thing fascinating. Would love to see some real-world work here.


  • Netherlands: Juke – a radio app. Live radio for free (from some of the big names), plus music (including offline) for €9.99 (US$11.50) a month.
  • Russia: Voice activated advertising – some good success data for this service. As we get more comfortable talking to devices, I can see a future for this.
  • Malta: the International Radio Festival is a great radio gathering that’s almost totally different from any other I’ve been to: it puts the content first, with lots of great shows all broadcasting from the one place. An invigorating event to go to.
  • Sweden: Hidden in this story: Spotify is planning a competitor to Apple’s Beats 1. I’ve not been very complimentary about Beats 1 in the past, though a tweet from Andy Buckingham made me think – he suggests it’s designed for occasional live events with big record label names, rather than a day-to-day listen. And, if you think of it that way, it’s quite clever.
  • Canada: BBDO and Whiskas have made a radio station for cats. Apparently, only a 45 minute loop, so this is more like a 45 minute ambient advert rather than a radio station, but still. Reminds me of K9 FM, an actual radio station on FM in New Zealand.
  • Kenya: Teenage radio ‘station’ owner dares to dream – this is really brilliant. Congratulations to this guy for building his own radio station. I hope he has all the success: most notably, he’s doing local news, not just music.

United States

  • A tale of two radio industries – as global radio gains more revenue, North American radio contracts. This seems to be consistent behaviour. Latest: Cumulus Q2 Revenue Declines 1.8%
  • More about newsletters – this time, learnings from the New York Times. Radio – one of the most intimate media – has lots to learn from another intimate place to consume content: our inbox. Which stations run a good newsletter? I’d love to know.
  • Interesting piece about how radio can react quickly when a big music artist dies
  • The new TechSurvey of public radio fans kicks up more data about smart speakers. In separate news, I’ve removed the actual radio from my kitchen, in favour of a Google Home Mini. Wish me luck.
  • How important is the car to (US) radio? Its crucial.

United Kingdom

  • A telescoped recording of the first day of BBC Radio 1 (national, top 40)’s new breakfast show with Greg James. A refreshing change from usual “Comic, straight man and giggly girl” breakfast tedium: mainly one person, clearly well-liked by listeners, doing a decent job. I really enjoyed this: very good listen that involved the listeners, rather than vacuous coverage of showbiz and celebrity.
  • Victoria Derbyshire should know better than a lazy Buggles headline


  • It was hot in Sydney last week, according to KIIS. It was even hotter elsewhere in Australia. (The first? Trying to use fancy characters that don’t display on radios very well. The second? A bug in some code, apparently.)
  • Calling ACMA… is anybody home… goodness, an old-fashioned Australian shock jock using the n-word?! (Warning, Daily Mail article. All the more astonishing.) Alan Jones is a good broadcaster, but this is surely unacceptable.
  • Some interesting numbers and strategy from Australia’s largest commercial radio network. Southern Cross Austereo is just completing rebranding all its radio stations under a few consistent brands (Hit for top40, TripleM for oldies/rock/sport), have added digital brand extensions, and is beginning to do interesting things with podcasts, though I don’t hear much advertising in them yet. Worth watching.
  • Better late than never – just became a 4ZZZ Radio “passionate” subscriber. As should you. It’s the community music station in Brisbane, which I’ve not listened-to enough because it doesn’t simulcast on DAB. However, now I’ve switched my DAB set to some Google speakers – and learnt the magic incantation to get it to play – I’m listening much more. (The station’s called 4-triple-zed, but the only way I’ve found to listen is to ask Google patiently for 4-zee-zee-zee).

James Cridland