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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Bauer’s spending spree

James Cridland, 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.


Last week was really quite bewildering, with a number of very significant consolidation moves in the UK radio industry, and the global podcast industry.

Here’s what went on in the UK, and my attempt to unpack it a little for an international audience. Good luck everybody.

And here’s what went on in the US, with Spotify buying Gimlet and Anchor, plus a new player with $100m investment (and, below that, more detail of the SpotiGimAnch move.)

With RAJAR also happening in the UK as well, it’s been a fast-moving and difficult week. I’m looking forward to things coming back to normal.

Here’s other interesting things in radio’s trends this week…

  • Changes coming for DAB broadcast rules in the UK?
  • Political donations plunge to $16.7m – this is a relatively benign story. But it’s written by a robot, not a reporter (see the bottom). Wow. Impressive – to a degree. But it needed to be programmed to go through the data by a human, so…
  • Finland: 92% of the population (9+) listen to radio weekly (2018); 71% listen daily.
  • UK: 88.4% of the population (15+) listen to radio weekly (RAJAR Q4/2018). Un-noticed anywhere, as far as I can see (anyone would think there’s other things in the news) but this is the lowest weekly reach figure ever recorded by RAJAR.
    • 0.9% of UK radio listeners switched off in the past twelve months. But in London, worryingly 3.9% of radio listeners switched off, too. This isn’t happening in other big cities, and it would be interesting to understand why.
    • RAJAR also shows the lowest hours-per-listener ever – a figure that, as Adam Bowie shows has been declining for the last five years.
    • It’s not all bad news: as Matt Deegan writes, digital listening is up, Greg James is doing a good job with Radio 1 Breakfast, and Eddie Mair has attracted (some) new listeners to LBC, who have had a great quarter again. But… hmm.
  • Spotify’s entry into podcasting should help “defang” Apple’s place in the industry, as Mark Asquith writes.
  • Nik Goodman does some forensic work with Radio 2’s music
  • Daniel Fox’s Twitter thread here is hugely worth reading for those in UK radio this week, and also US journalism, too. Uplifting and helpful.
  • An experimental podcast player with visual augmentation from the BBC. Commercially, Entale’s work here is worthwhile exploring too, I think.
  • From the archive: How to find your next job in radio is good; and here’s Lisa Kerr talking about the skills that radio people have that work elsewhere (a piece from Next Radio in 2011).
  • Is streaming killing the radio star? – a doozy of a #lazyBugglesheadline from The Guardian, of all people. I promise you another Lazy Buggles headline next week.

James Cridland

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