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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: FM is king, but digital is queen

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.


  • I was in Toronto last week, talking about the future of radio at Canadian Music Week. I talked to Canadian broadcasters about the need to work together to effectively lobby for relaxed regulation, which I claimed hasn’t changed since 1978 (this date mostly just so I could get a Trudeau joke in). Canada has a peculiar problem caused by many vertically integrated companies – who own not just radio, but also TV, mobile phone networks and broadband internet providers, so they’re nervous about challenging their regulator. CMW did want a “provocative” talk! (I should add that the feedback I got was very positive from everyone I talked to afterwards.)
  • FM is king, but digital is queen, says the EBU’s Dr David Fernández Quijada. The data includes some interesting numbers for EBU members – particularly the use of on-demand radio. The article also sheds light on the reasons why many broadcasters in Europe are beginning to be worried about Apple/Google/TuneIn etc wrestling control of their audiences away from them.
  • On the above point, there’s trouble for vTuner, the heritage company used by many manufacturers as an internet radio directory. On May 1, vTuner’s service apparently fell over for eleven hours, and Frontier Silicon, who used the vTuner service for their internet radio modules (used by people like Roberts, Grundig and others) switched just a week later to a different provider. Peter Johnson, the company’s CEO, posted quite a rant on the Bose website saying that all these consumer electronics companies wanted this data for free, adding “now looks like I will need to close vTuner soon.” There’s certainly trouble a’t’mill in the world of internet radio directories. The broadcasters would probably want you to switch to their apps; but that won’t help many users of physical radio sets, which need to get their data from somewhere.
    • I’d add: this is why services like Radioplayer are useful. And congratulations to them for adding their tenth country, with the announcement of Radioplayer Denmark.
  • More data, this time from RAJAR from the UK – their MIDAS Survey Spring 2019 contains a lot of interesting data about how radio is being consumed in the UK. Notable, it would appear that this data, at least, is showing that DAB has a higher share than FM/AM. Interesting.
  • Infinite Dial Australia, released in full. Some useful car statistics, alongside other bits of consumption data.
  • I also watched the reveal of Infinite Dial Canada while in Toronto. There’s a full webinar on Tuesday May 21, after Tom Webster has the temerity to actually take some time off.
  • Things you never thought you’d ever see: ‘Enjoyed time with a radio consultant‘ (nope, not me)
  • An interesting story in The Times about the BBC’s “other” survey, the “appreciation index”, which is holding steady for Radio 2 but is falling for some parts of Radio 4.

James Cridland

One Comment

  1. Grace Digital manages their own database for all of their new ‘plus’ internet radios (Mondo plus, Encore plus etc) so no worries about a 3rd party terminating the relationship and wiping away one’s favorites etc…
    Greg
    Grace Digital CEO

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