James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Visit the Next Radio conference free. Plus, RAJAR, travel news, and missed calls

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

james cridland radio futurologist 300wJames Cridland articles

  • The UK’s largest radio conference is back: September 19th. Want to go to Next Radio for free? Just visit the website.
  • Audio: Five ways to fix radio conferences – and the return of Next Radio. I record these for the inRadio station every week, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it again. Mind, this week’s will either be a) recorded in an echoey hotel room, or b) late.
  • If you use Google Spaces, which launched last week – or you’d like to – then here’s a space to share items for this newsletter. Experiment away!

United States

United Kingdom

  • Next Radio – the UK’s biggest radio conference – is back for 2016 on September 19th in central London. If you hurry, you might be able to snag a ticket for free. For free! Just pop along to the website.
  • The new RAJAR radio audience figures came out this week. You’ll find all the data on media.info. Radio X was up overall, but slaughtered in London; presumably with listener churn. Matt Deegan posted a long piece about this, and other things. Media.info’s graphs are good, since they actually tell a nice longterm story instead of the pointless (and misleading) press releases. Absent, once more, from Bauer Media Group’s press release is their Wave 105 station, which just posts slow, steady growth quarter after quarter, ever dependable. That’s the kind of graph anyone wants. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 3’s new controller has been lauded with praise after Radio 3’s audience went up a little – but here’s the context missing from all those breathless press releases – the ‘increase’ is just the general noise of the station’s RAJAR anyway; there’s no long-term growth here. Yet. But I wish Alan Davey well, of course. Adam Bowie also posts his own thoughts – and both Matt and Adam’s posts are such a breath of fresh air when compared to the more general press’s coverage. Oh, and here are the most popular radio stations in the UK – one of the evergreen content pages on media.info.
  • Visualising Radio without a studio webcam: some good ideas and case studies from Anne Charles. I’d probably add The Paul Henry Show (from New Zealand) or Mike and Mike (from the US) as other great examples with cameras.
  • Quite impressive to see the Radiocentre livestreaming their entire conference on YouTube. They’ve now split up all the speeches into individual pieces on their YouTube channel. I love the energy from Bauer Media’s Dee Ford. I regret not working for her again (she was my boss, for a short time, at Hallam FM).
  • “It is not my job to tell the BBC what they can and can’t do.” – John Whittingdale speaking earlier this week, who, as Culture Secretary, is the man who has just published a White Paper telling the BBC what they can and can’t do.
  • Leading Questions – Adam Bowie with yet more good sense around research.
  • Are you taking care about how your radio studio looks? Capital FM in London are. This piece was accompanied by 50% people saying “it’s bloody radio, don’t bother about the studios”, and the other 50% saying that if you want your programming to sound the best, you need to give people the best tools. The latter, it seems to me, makes more sense: quite before you talk about the visual opportunities radio has.
  • The apparently shady dealings behind Arise News, from one of its news anchors.
  • How Monocle found money in radio – interesting to see that they sell their podcasts to radio stations. Helen Zaltzman (Radiotopia, Answer Me This) contacts me to say that this is something that radio in the US is doing a fair amount – it’s just not happening in the UK yet. I can hear some podcasts on the ABC, I notice.
  • Interesting to see take-up of DAB+ on one of the small-scale multiplexes in the UK. More to come, hopefully.
  • The man who built the BBC Food website, which is apparently going to be closed, explains why it’s there
  • Fancy immersive listicle from The Guardian – the 50 podcasts you need to hear

The Canadian section, by popular demand

  • A non-stop travel radio station in Vancouver. I listened a bit to this, and was impressed that one of its station sponsors is a brand of hard liquor, complete with copy telling you to “pick up a bottle today”. That would be inadvisable in the UK The musical signature was also quite nicely done.
  • A campaign to unlock FM chips in mobile phones. Partially coming from the folks behind the NextRadio App. I’ve always found it strange that Canada’s mobile networks, like Rogers and Bell, block use of the FM chip, since most of the commercial radio stations are owned by… Rogers and Bell. There’s an opportunity for joined-up thinking somewhere here, I feel sure. If only I could work out where.
  • A new community radio station in Toronto – shame it’s on low-power AM (is there such a thing?!) but still…
  • ‘Dear Radio: Saying “Goodbye” to My 20-Year Career’ – to me, this kind of post is a little ugly, and probably quite cathartic for the writer: but amid the bitter recriminations, there’s probably some useful learnings here.


  • India: 5 Things You Can Get in India With a Missed Call – you’ll never guess what number 4 is. Well, you will, since this is a newsletter about radio: it’s a radio station. But a great idea: free reception by the audience, and no data needed. Wonder if the maths stacks up though.
  • South Africa: a brave, some might say suicidal, move from the SABC to require 90% South African music. This might have made sense twenty years ago. Today, though, if you want to hear something else you’ll just listen to a commercial station or use the internet. Public service broadcasting is a service to the public only if the public listen.
  • Flanders – the Flemish-speaking bit of Belgium – wants to turn off FM in five years and replace it with DAB+. The smarter nations, it would seem to me, would be those watching Norway’s experiences before making any commitments.
  • Australia: a great story about a shed in this interview with an Aussie radio host.
  • Australia: “How to Start Making Money with Your Podcast” from Matt Saraceni: a good overview

James Cridland