James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Radioplayer reaches new ground; your brain on podcasts; 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

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Last week, I was the guest of Commercial Radio Malaysia, the trade body for radio in the country. I was keynote speaker, sharing the stage with Lee Riskfrom GfK. Thank you, @serinadiah for this photo.

Lee’s presentation was fascinating: I’m a sucker for radio research data. We learnt that 30% of Malaysians use a TV set-top box to listen to the radio (many services are carried on Astro’s TV platform); a third use a smartphone, though many are using the FM chip rather than internet streaming. We learnt that apparently people think advertising on the radio makes brands more authentic, more appealing and more trustworthy. Radio has the highest social media engagement compared to other media. That 13m “radios” were sold last year. And the real meat of the presentation: 97.2% of Malaysians listen to the radio at least once a week – for over 14 hours a week, and they tune into an average of two stations. The low average (the UK’s about 4) and the low TSL (the UK has 21 hours per listener, 19 hours per head) is potentially because of the lower amount of choice in Malaysia: many stations are also national rather than local.

James Cridland’s articles

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United Kingdom

  • Tony Blackburn: Back in February 2016, the BBC “parted company” – in the Director General’s own words – with veteran DJ Tony Blackburn: seemingly because a 73 year-old man wasn’t able to remember the contents of a meeting 45 years ago. At the time, I wrote here that “the BBC’s actions make me so annoyed I find it hard to have coherent thoughts about them”. A few weeks later, employment lawyers were chiming in about how wrong the sacking was, and Blackburn was threatening to sue. He hired top lawyer Martin Howe – a friend to the underdog (he assisted Joanna Lumley’s win for Gurkha soldier rights), and a friend to radio (he’s a business partner for Jon Gaunt’s talk2me radio). Now, the BBC has miraculously un-parted company with Blackburn, weaseling their way into a shameful rewrite of history by apparently claiming it was merely a suspension, and carrying a miserable obviously-lawyer-written sentence about how Blackburn thinks it was ‘appropriate’ for the BBC to suspend him. They did no such thing, and I hope others see through the obvious bullshine. I’m delighted for him – he gets retiring Desmond Carrington’sFriday evening slot – though this is not the right way to treat anyone. A good investigative journalist might wish to drill into the BBC’s HR department. There’s plenty more, I suspect, where that came from. Awful stuff.
  • Tomorrow, Ofcom are selling lots of equipment, by auction. Might be worth a look. /via Richard Hilton
  • How badly The Sun did after their failed paywall: and what they’ve done to recover
  • A review of “Suffolk First”, and a reminder that not all new DAB stations are actually any good.


  • Kinderling shows the power of digital radio to produce new formats. Congrats to them for their recent award
  • A segment on the future of radio, on ABC Local Radio. I was on holiday, so couldn’t take part. Shame, because it looked rather good fun!
  • Why you hate every radio station right now – actually, this article has a point, that the method of compilation of music charts has dramatically changed over the past few years, and this is causing knock-on effects on radio station music selection.



Brad Hill