James Cridland’s Future of Radio: RAJAR, why kids like podcasts (and radio), new welsh station, set-top boxes

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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James Cridland’s articles

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United Kingdom

  • The RAJAR figures – UK radio’s quarterly audience survey – was out last week. All the trend data at media.info, of course. Good to see LBC storming ahead, with some great, record, growth. Slightly bewildering seeing a slight drop for Radio X – I’d be keen for an explanation as to why, but none of the analysts I’ve seen appears to have any view as to why it might be. (Xfm, of old, had notoriously “noisy” RAJAR figures though, caused by under-sampling of their target demo. Maybe it’s that, on a national scale.)
    • RAJAR analysis and commentary from Matt Deegan and Adam Bowie. Roy Greenslade from The Guardian attributes the fall for BBC Radio 1 to people switching to BBC Radio 4 for the news, which would rather suggest he’s better writing about the press…
    • Two long-established radio stations made it into RAJAR this time around: Global’s Chill returned to RAJAR (last seen in Mar 2012). Surprisingly stable audience from 2012 to 2016. And interesting to see The Arrow in RAJAR for first time: one of Global’s hidden brands. If you’d like a trip down memory lane of the internet circa 1998, try looking at their official website. My main surprise is a lack of the MARQUEE tag.
    • Absolute 80s switched from Digital One to the new DAB national multiplex which has worse coverage. Did it have any material effect on their audience? Not so far as I can see, though the station is a little lower this time than last.
    • New in #RAJAR is Nation Gold. With 4,000 listeners, is this the least-listened to station in Britain? Actually, no, it isn’t: a little birdie tells me that there was one radio station a few surveys ago that officially had no audience at all. Shush.
  • Key 103’s “Heartless Hotline” seems a really awful radio competition. Was this really wise? Horrid idea that doesn’t respect audiences. Depressingly, it’s an Australian invention. And also, naturally, it’s helped Key 103 – a once proud station that I was chuffed to work at for six months – achieve an all-time low in audience figures. How depressing. Blow it up; insulate the replacement from any Bauer group programming meddling, remove the networking, and let this once-proud station fly again.
  • Interesting – a new, 15-week, mornings-only DAB popup service, in Welsh, from the BBC, on a commercial multiplex that covers a small portion of the country. So many precedents set.
  • Must read: De-bunking media myths – this is a great piece, and I wonder, sometimes, why the media industry itself doesn’t do a better job at this. (And where’s the US version of this article? Who’s up for it?)
  • This is a nice, local idea for television continuity announcements. I’ve heard of some radio stations doing this for their idents, too.
  • The set-top-box is becoming crucial for television’s future. For radio, broadcasters appear to have little or no interest in the user experience, which I still – after all these years – find perplexing.
  • “Make money while you sleep” nice description of additional revenue streams for radio


  • Of note – Kyle and Jackie O apparently get paid the same. This ought to be something that the UK’s Sound Women pressure group uses to their advantage.

James Cridland