James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Personalisation of linear radio; and Pandora bought by SiriusXM

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


United States

  • Pandora has been bought by SiriusXM – I have a bit of a blind spot for Pandora, partially because it isn’t available outside of the US, and secondly because I don’t see it does anything particularly well. But, this is an interesting purchase – Pandora apparently runs a Spotify-like music subscription service these days, as well as the algorithmic ‘radio’ service. SiriusXM, on the other hand, runs a bunch of satellite radio channels. It’s a good, non-overlapping, match; and gives them a 12% share of US audio – or over 26% of all ‘radio’ listening, if Pandora equates to radio.
  • Ten signs of a daring (public) radio station
  • Interesting to see that some US sportsball team is being covered exclusively online this season, instead of the radio. One to watch.
  • Can podcasting increase your ratings? Well, of course it can. This seemingly innocuous question highlights, I think, the reason why US radio is in the doldrums – it cares about ratings/revenue over audiences. Ask not “can it increase your ratings”, and ask instead “can it delight our audiences? And if so, how can we turn that delight into ratings or revenue?”
  • The US television industry is promising to show fewer adverts. Why, asks Doug Erickson, isn’t radio following suit? See above.
  • What’s Radio’s Why? Dick Taylor asks a good question. See above, perhaps.
  • Another radio station going solar

United Kingdom


  • Trouble at the top of the ABC has been the news this week. The ABC, like the BBC, is hated by most of the media here – so the familiar story arc started with a story of how rubbish former MD Michelle Guthrie was, and why the board sacked her, followed by the revelation that the ABC’s Chairman who sacked her, Justin Milne, was apparently meddling in content decisions – hardly the job of an independent chairman charged with upholding the ABC’s independence, it was said (and Guthrie was standing up to him, as she should) – then, a call for his resignation, which he duly does. The ABC reports on the story on their web-only Media Bites program. The latest is that Scott Morrison, who is (checks watch) Australia’s current prime minister, is now telling the ABC to “get back to work” and stop talking about its leader. They have, of course, not missed a beat: unlike the entire Australian Parliament who shut down for a few weeks while Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership of the Liberal Party was thrashed out (new leader: S Morrison). Anyway, Kirstin Ferguson is now the acting Chair; she follows me on Twitter and so is officially a Good Thing.
  • Google Assistant could sure do with a bit of artificial intelligence… watch my continuing attempts to listen to 4ZZZ. Ask Google to play 4-zed-zed-zed and she won’t. But ask her to play 4-zee-zee-zee and what does she respond with?
  • Netflix founding CEO @mbrandolph took to the stage in Melbourne earlier this week, accompanied by “Video killed the radio star”. Let’s just compare: Netflix subscribers in US: 55m; Weekly radio listeners in US: 300m #lazybugglesintromusic
  • I’m looking forward to OzPod2018 – I’m doing my round-up of stats.
  • How important is the radio to launch a musician’s career? Very, it seems.

James Cridland