James Cridland’s Future of Radio: Why people enter radio competitions, and the UK’s RAJAR figures

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’ articles

  • I’m really proud of the growth of Podnews. If you’re remotely interested in podcasting and on-demand, you should subscribe. It’s free, thanks to all kinds of excellent supporters, who also help this newsletter, too.
    • Podnews is now available in your Amazon “Daily Briefing” list, and also on Google Assistant: “OK, Google, ask podnews for the latest”. It’s broadcast-friendly, and always less than two minutes.
  • I spent a day analysing almost 100 of the top podcasts to work out what bitrate, mono/stereo and LUFS values they were running at. If you’re having trouble sleeping, here’s a big table. And some graphs.
  • My weekly column: Broadcast radio – are data-driven ads the future?
    • This is available as a podcast. Search for “James Cridland” in your favourite podcast app (except Spotify for some reason); or “OK, Google, play James Cridland’s podcast”.

United States

United Kingdom

  • RAJAR, the UK audience research figures, were out last week. Of note…
    • Impressive to see BBC Radio 2 posting the best-ever listening figures (in total hours).
    • Like Radio 2, BBC Radio 4’s figures are fascinating. Ever-growing reach, but ever-shrinking per-listener hours.
    • The ascent of LBC might have been slightly dented this quarter, but it’s now the most listened-to commercial radio station in London, say Gloabl – so good for them. (Most listened-to over all is BBC Radio 4).
    • Digital listening ‘tantalisingly close’ to 50% – commercial radio (and BBC Radio 4) are now over 50% digital listening, which is interesting to see. Hitting the 50% target gets the government to consider FM switchoff.
    • Some quarter-hour RAJAR data from the London market from Paul Easton if you’re interested how your favourite station did…
    • Adam Bowie’s RAJAR blog. Adam makes the obvious point that even when we hit 50% digital listening next quarter, that’s unlikely to instantly lead to switchover. The UK’s too busy destroying its relationship with its neighbours first.
    • The RAJAR Q4/2018 blog from Matt Deegan is worth a read. “Nearly one in five of every hour listened to on the radio, is to Radio 2” – and it’s growing. Still waiting for the death of radio? Don’t hold your breath. Matt also points out that the fabulous Chris Moyles is doing a good, consistent, job at increasing audiences. Good for him. It’s a good show and he’s a top lad.
    • Some digital stats from BBC Radio 1, which are released today alongside the #RAJAR figures. (Some of these are a bit spurious, to be honest, but still).
  • Death of AM: Absolute Radio proposes to switch some AM transmitters off – it’s a really good document to read, this: it turns out that by turning off these transmitters they’ll remove Absolute Radio from about 6% of the audience (on AM); but save themselves 50% of their transmission bill. I’m surprised why they still want to run Brookman’s Park – the AM for the South East (where they’re also on FM) and one of the biggest ones; but it might be a contractural matter with Arqiva. Expect talkSPORT to do similar.
  • Good to see the return of the British Podcast Awards – you should enter!
  • Data around UK adspend. More money went to ‘mobile’ than to ‘TV’ (whatever each of those are). Radio up by 5.1% year-on-year.
  • From the arrogance to the self-indulgence and massively dodgy stats (50,000 regular listeners?!) this is madness from Noel Edmonds
  • Never heard Tony Blackburn’s Golden Hour before (BBC Radio 2, Friday night). High energy, full of personality but tidy, neat links. Lots of “today’s” jocks would do well to listen. Awesome.
  • Trinity Mirror buys Express and Star in £127m deal – quite some consolidation in print media in the UK. Is it too late, though, to rescue the Express’s reputation?



James Cridland