James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Data, data everywhere

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.

Lots of lovely data this week.

Above: a fascinating graph from Bauer Media in the UK, at a Future of Audio conference in London last week. Actual data on the left, and Bauer’s guess on the right. They seem to think that DAB’s growth will, to all intents and purposes, stall in two years; and that “digital audio” (which I guess is both online simulcast but also other radio-like services) will continue to grow. Of note: even if the above is correct, by 2030, DAB will still be bigger than the internet, which is an interesting thought. Source

  • RAJAR’s excellent MIDAS survey is out. UK podcast listening has doubled in the last two years. David Lloyd takes a look in his blog.
    • And, once again: only 12% of headphone users listen to live radio. We should offer these listeners something different. This is beyond argument.
  • The Infinite Dial Germany 2019 came out – great to see more comparable data. We’ve now got data from Germany, Australia, Canada, the US and metro South Africa, all comparable to each other. However good MIDAS is, I think it underestimates podcasting in the UK and is bad for the podcasting industry. I’d really like to see audio companies feeling brave enough to challenge the status quo and pay for Infinite Dial in the UK.
  • Edison Research also revealed some new “super podcast listeners” research (there’s a webinar you can sign up to for the whole thing). Hidden in this podcasting survey: only 47% of surveyed people think there are too many ads on US AM/FM radio. I can only assume that’s because “super podcast listeners” are not US commercial radio listeners: there’s precious little commercial activity on public radio, but commercial radio is smothered in it.
  • The Radio Alive conference for Australian radio was in my home town of Brisbane QLD, Australia on Friday. Announced there was their annual GFK share of audio study. Total radio share has dipped slightly, from 62.3% to 61.3% – but Australians are spending 7 minutes more with audio per day, too, from 201 to 208 minutes a day. (If my crappy maths is good, that means 3% more time with audio).
    • This was an unexpectedly good event. I nearly didn’t go: I’m glad I did. It felt big and buoyant, but the first big session was a journalist from a newspaper talking about his podcast, which isn’t the sort of thing you’d expect from the first session of a radio conference. I’m glad that it was more than a back-slapping session: immaculately organised and nicely done. The session with producers (all female, by the way) had lots of good advice, including this.
  • Also announced at Radio Alive – an Australian podcast ranker. Again, this looks a positive step – my thoughts and more details are in Podnews – and it’s something that should be copied by the UK and other countries, in my view.
  • And another thing announced at Radio Alive – Australian radio stations will now go via CRA’s RadioApp on Google speakers. Google has a 75% share here: Alexa is tiny in comparison. This is very good news – until now it’s been mainly via TuneIn, a company who (as I’ve repeatedly and boringly said) don’t care about radio.
  • John Humphrys says why he wears the worst headphones in the world (those horrible Bakelite things). The more I see of talk-based radio, the more I’m convinced it’s entirely different to music radio. What I’d give to see some research that splits talk-stations and music stations: I suspect the consumption is entirely different.
  • A strange, fake and rather dark radio station podcast doing well in Finland.
  • Does 5G Make Sense for Radio? This very technical article says… no. I’ve written something that is rather less technical, and I also came to the conclusion that it didn’t.
  • Entercom’s radio-dot-com app has enabled on-demand audio from many of their talk stations. You can now listen-again for up to 24 hours from broadcast. It’s a bit like what the BBC launched in June, except you can listen to BBC radio output up to a week after broadcast. No, not this June. June 2002.
  • Back to Australia, and this week also saw quite a serious decline for Australian radio revenue. The CEOs, speaking at Radio Alive, were quite keen to lay expectations that the market will bounce back – but probably not until early next year.
  • And finally, it’s all kicking off on BBC Radio 4. To have a studio erroneously patched through to live transmission is unfortunate. Also unfortunate to have someone sit down in front of a microphone and swear into it. But to have this studio going out for quite a few minutes before someone did something about it was curious, for a station with a US$115m programming budget (£89m), and with way too many tedious compliance hoops to jump through as it is.

James Cridland