James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Much ado about podcasting; BBC attacked; much more

James Cridland is Managing Director of media.info, and an Australia-based radio futurologist. He is a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. Find out more or subscribe at http://james.cridland.net

james cridland radio futurologist 300wJames Cridland articles

United States of America

  • Podcasts might be doing well, but is Apple now actually holding the medium back? A piece from the New York Times that has ignited debate – not least by Marco Arment, who posts a breathtakingly naive critique: equating some semblance of listening data with the end of the open web. Marco, who makes a competing podcast app, seems to be some kind of Apple uberfan; though I might also point out (since he doesn’t) that he made, and withdrew, an ad-blocker too: so clearly has a position here. There’s more in this from Hot Pod: an astonishingly good weekly newsletter around podcasts. Well worth subscribing to. From the UK, Adam Bowie says sensible things about what podcasting needs: data and promotion. For what it’s worth: I believe that simple, agreed, consumption data (how many plays, when did they stop listening, what country/state are they from) is a good compromise, can be made “non-creepy”, and would assist both Apple/Google/Overcast/whoever, and podcast creators.
  • Microsoft is removing the FM radio app from Windows 10 Mobile. Forever. It was the only OS with a inbuilt FM support, so its disappearance is sad; though hardly anyone uses it. This can’t be seen as good news for people who believe FM/DAB+/HD inside a mobile phone is radio’s chance to survive. While I welcome phones with broadcast radio inside, I don’t quite believe the mobile phone will “save” the industry: merging the least interactive media out there (radio) with the most interactive product out there (the mobile) doesn’t seem like a marriage made in heaven.
  • Up Close and Far Out – a new(ish) radio podcast: looks interesting. Congrats to Graham Mack for being the first Brit on it; it’s also recently had Kurt Hanson on, and looks like a great listen
  • Not saying that the US radio industry is full of old people or anything, but this special feature is… wow. Is it really so special to have engineers under 40?!
  • Native Ads a $mart Strategy for Podcasts – Jennifer Lane rightly says they’re better than 30 or 60 second spots, in some good reporting.
  • Some interesting storytelling tips in this interview with Ira Glass
  • In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today,90% is controlled by just six companies. Michael Robertson tweets to point out that this article doesn’t reference the internet, so is rather misleading: which is a good point; grateful for the comment.
  • A free eBook from Google to help news publishers do stuff on Android. Naturally, radio stations are news publishers… 😉
  • Man’s car radio wouldn’t work. He goes to the dealer TWELVE times, then contacts a TV news team. Radio is quite important in a car. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.
  • Netflix Members Avoid 160 Hours Of Commercials A Year – well, that’s one way of putting it. You could do the same maths for Spotify/Google.

United Kingdom

  • The BBC – attacked by the right and the left in a way that is relentless and resentful, says Robin Valk. Here’s the Guardian view on charter renewal: “round one to the BBC”; and worth reading @tradingaswdr for his thoughts behind the BBC white paper: like this succinct view. I’ve not been keeping up to date on BBC Charter Renewal, partly because I find it really quite dull, and partly because I’ve faith that it’ll all sort itself out in the end. So far, looks as if I’m about right. The planned reorg into ‘Inform’, ‘Educate’ and ‘Entertain’, however, seems barmy.
  • From a media owner that makes me proud to the horrible racist Daily Mail, which once again has stolen someone else’s story. When will this end? Why doesn’t this get more coverage? When will other media companies bare their teeth against this unpleasant machine?
  • Tip: don’t leave a nine year-old in charge of your radio station. This station did and it got all sweary.
  • The BBC are adding more local stations to Freeview, the TV service. In the UK, listening on the TV – stations appear as an additional channel number on the EPG, and normally accompanied by a logo – is virtually as popular as consuming radio online.
  • How YouTube works, according to its young creators. Worthy reading for talent managers (and algorithm watchers)


  • Great piece about Sam Cavanagh – the excellent producer behind Hamish & Andy. Also of note: this is a hell of a way to promote a weekly industry podcast!
  • Interesting essay on the power of talk radio hosts, pointing out that they might not have quite as much power as they think they do.
  • How Kyle, Jackie O cheat listeners” – running a best-of if Kyle is ill is, apparently, cheating. This story argues that it might be more honest if they mentioned that Kyle was away. Kyle has since revealed that he’s suffering from depression after the death of his father a few months ago, so they should lay off him. Kyle and his listeners both deserve a bit more respect, I would think.
  • Jet lag – the life of a breakfast host



  • Why Europe is turning off AM. A good overview. This ought to be of concern to those parts of the world that still rely on AM as their main broadcast platform.

Brad Hill