James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Small-scale DAB in the UK – how should it work? And good radio station branding

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.

North America

United Kingdom

  • Connect FM leaves DAB due to price increase – while multiplex owners need to charge a “fair and non-discriminatory” price according to UK law, that doesn’t stop them charging more for everyone as the medium becomes more popular. The UK essentially has a monopoly provider for local DAB multiplexes (since only one company can operate one in most areas), and has a virtual monopoly provider for transmission facilities (since Arqiva is the only at-scale company for transmission). It’s probably important, therefore, that the small-scale DAB project comes to fruition as quickly as possible to offer competition. Which leads me to…
  • How should small-scale DAB work in the UK? Now’s your chance to tell the government. (This will result in new laws for DAB multiplex provision – is there time, what with Brexit and everything?) Anyway, here’s Matt Deegan’s comments on it which are worth reading.
  • Title changes for BBC Local Radio managers – if you’re a station manager, you switch from being a Station Editor or a Managing Editor to being a “Senior News Editor”. This is being driven by BBC management who wish to ‘reduce the number of job titles’; but it seems to me that it is helpful to a) have an external job title that people understand, and b) have a job title which isn’t just about “news”, since BBC Local Radio isn’t just about news. It’s also apparently true that a “News Editor” is actually more senior than a “Senior News Editor”…



  • Tunisia’s first LGBT radio station on air despite death threats
  • Ireland: a monthly programme about Irish radio, Wireless on Flirt FM. “On the December edition of Wireless on Flirt FM, we feature the radio activist Margaretta D’Arcy, founder of Galway’s Radio Pirate Woman, who recently donated her archives to NUI Galway. We hear from Margaretta D’Arcy and from Maureen Maguire who was also involved in the station. As festive station Christmas FM goes on the air, we interview its co-founder Daragh O’Sullivan. We also feature more material from the National Student Radio Conference held in Galway in November and we learn about the newest arrival on the radio scene, Community Radio Kilkenny City.”
  • An automatically updating list of every new album available on Spotify, categorised into micro-genre.
  • One for your bookmarks – when different countries start listening to Christmas music, according to Spotify data. Worthwhile noting: Even on Christmas day itself, Christmas music is 0.4% of all music voluntarily played by people – i.e, if left up to our own devices, 1 song in 250 is a crappy Christmas music classic. On the 20th of December, normally a place where awful christmas music is all over the bloody radio, it’s 0.10% at maximum for most countries – 1 song in 1,000 plays. I am clearly not in the target market.
  • The broadcast regulator in Trinidad and Tobago doesn’t like a song about chutney.

James Cridland