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James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Why are you in radio anyway? And a beautiful transmitter in Germany

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

  • Why are you in radio anyway? – which has got quite a few people mailing me directly saying how much they agreed with it. Always gratifying!

Worldwide

United States

  • What’s Radio’s Why? Dick Taylor asks a good question. Perhaps it’s my advertising copywriting background, but I’m always keen to understand the problem that a product is trying to solve. For my Podnews® newsletter, the problem was “there’s no global news source for podcasting, and all the existing products take too long to read”, as one example. I read a great software design tip somewhere that essentially said “First, write the press release. Then, design the product.” There’s a lot to be said for radio doing this. For discussion: “The Best Mix Of The 80s, 90s And Now” doesn’t solve very many problems.
  • Radio’s Hardware Problem: How does Radio compete if consumers don’t have radios? – a long piece from Megan Lazovick at Edison Research. (I provided a video for this – it didn’t make the cut, but I’ll watch it again and work out if it’s worth sharing.)
  • Why Did GM Track Radio Listening Habits of 90,000 Drivers? – fascinating article – and, yes, the drivers had all opted-in to this research. This kind of data could be really useful for advertising attribution.
  • A good look at some of the newer ad formats for audio. Some work well with podcasting, others don’t.

United Kingdom

  • Keynotes announced for FutureBook’s AudioBook Conference – I’m really looking forward to speaking at this.
  • Posh mixtapes – the BBC appears to be producing bespoke mixes and playlists for their upcoming BBC Sounds app. You could argue that if they’re not good enough to be on the radio, they shouldn’t be in this app; you could also argue that the BBC ought to be producing bespoke audio for all its audience, not just the relatively tightly-formatted radio stations it has. I’d happily argue either side of this argument.
  • The BBC seem remarkably careless at retaining their talent – Radio 1’s Charlie Sloth is off to (presumably well-paid) obscurity on Beats 1; Eddie Mair is now happily at LBC; Chris Evans is shortly to pop over to Virgin Radio; Simon Mayo is being touted as being fed up with his show on Radio 2 and apparently talking to Smooth; and now DJ Semtex is going to Capital Xtra where inexplicably he promises “every Friday night from 9 to 11 p.m. I will be relentlessly shutting down the airwaves”. (Don’t do that, nobody will be able to hear you.) Might be worth underlining that LBC, Capital Xtra and Virgin Radio are all DAB radio stations in the UK, some with limited FM coverage, so it’s clearly the age of DAB for talent. But there’s certainly a trend here…

Australia

  • From Radio New Zealand: ABC spells Australian broadcasting crisis – covering trouble at the top of the broadcaster. This should – if the rest of the media keeps up the pressure – result in a more independent ABC, which would be a benefit to all.

James Cridland

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