James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Spotify’s car music player, and weekends now last three days in London

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

  • Radio station swag – what works?
  • I also properly added a podcast events calendar last week in podnews. You can add it to your own Outlook/Google/Apple calendar too. I wonder if there’d be any interest in a radio version?

United States

  • Spotify wishes to park its tanks on the lawn of radio – by launching a car music player. The company has been testing this with a small percentage of its users, at different price points; it apparently comes with a 4G service, which makes it really simple to use. Quite an ambitious plan.
  • Podcast killed the radio star – a prime example of a lazy Buggles headline by The Michigan Daily. (93% listen to the radio in a week. Just 17% to podcasts).
  • To give Apple their due, they’re still trying with Beats 1. Giving a random model and TV presenter a show on the radio does appear to rather highlight the “management plaything” nature of Beats 1, though; hardly the super-credible service it was set up to be.
  • Careful what you tweet. Just one tweet changed an entire radio station’s format in the US.
  • Top ten earning radio stations in the US. Three AM-only stations are in the top 10. Another two “AM-muchlies”. Rather shoots down my AM-is-dying argument, you might think.
  • (US) Local Radio Now A Top 5 Local Ad Platform, reports RBR. Oddly the story this is attached to gives no further details on the headline; but does say that digital revenue is increasing nicely, while traditional revenue declined by 2%. The relative volumes, however, mean US revenue overall is down 0.2%. (It’s up in many European countries).
  • SiriusXM pays much more than US broadcast radio to play music. But as ever, the record industry wants more.
  • Some interesting new personalised music playlists in Pandora. This overcomes one of the blind spots that I had while using Pandora: how do I start a station that might surprise me?
  • Changes at a Seattle NPR station. Justified by management as “mov[ing] away from filling time” – which comes back to my theme of the tyranny of the transmitter. Out job isn’t to feed the transmitter; it’s to produce great content, no?
  • Google Research has invented a way of taking a video of two people talking, clicking one person’s face and only hearing them. boggle
  • Benefits of digital mean you can launch niche radio services like these Chinese language services for people in the US.
  • Spotify overtakes Pandora (in one metric at least) in the US. Pandora seems increasingly like yesterday’s tech.

United Kingdom

  • An interesting decision from BBC Radio 1: have a weekend schedule on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While some stations have run different PM drive shows on Fridays for a while, this is a new idea – with plenty to commend it. It will also obfuscate the radio listening results, since RAJAR doesn’t publicly split out Mon-Fri; and it should flatten pay and talent expectation for the future (though contracts probably means savings won’t be immediately apparent). This is a clever piece of thinking.
  • Lovely complaints about “the new look Radio 2” in 1971. Nothing so unsettling to listeners as change.
  • This is a brilliantly clever idea: the UK’s (classical) Classic FM launch a specific stream for students, Classic FM Revision. So simple, but so smart.



James Cridland