James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Fortunately goes exclusive to the BBC Sounds app; and adblocking comes to the radio

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 wrote a long-ish piece about the BBC’s unfortunate bullying of Fortunately listeners; as they’ve pulled a popular podcast off podcast apps and made it exclusive to their underperforming app. Of note – Charlotte Lock, Launch Director of BBC Sounds, is interviewed on the latest episode of the BBC’s Fortunately podcast (4 minutes in), explaining the exclusivity strategy for the podcast. Lots of discussions about how it’s an ‘experiment’, and noting that BBC Sounds requires audiences to sign in before listening (and that they get data about listeners as a result). If you’re wondering – my BBC account tells the BBC my name, gender, age, and postcode – which in the UK is narrow enough to refer to “a group of buildings, a street, part of a street or a single delivery point.” I’d presume it also includes data of every BBC News article I’ve read online, as well as my radio habits.
  • US: It’s time to clear out the clutter, writes Matt Fishman. I’m delighted to note that his #1 bit of clutter that you can remove are those redundant wastes of time called “traffic reports”. The sooner these pieces of anachronistic nonsense are removed from the radio, the better, as far as I’m concerned: I reckon they must only exist as an excuse to mention a few local placenames and get some sponsorship money.
    • Whenever I say this, it normally elicits a clippy response from Larry Gifford who is PD for, among other things, AM730, a non-stop traffic news radio station in Vancouver that I once had the pleasure of listening to for 45 minutes in the back of a taxi. It’s as great a listen as a non-stop traffic news radio station could ever be, I reply, as diplomatically as I can.
  • UK: In my newsletter last week, I say good things about @VirginRadioUK going onto Sky with a 192kbps stereo signal rather than a scratchy 80kbps mono DAB signal. I was then reliably informed that the satellite feed gets its signal from… a DAB tuner. Oh. I’m assuming all has been fixed for Chris Evans’s debut this morning.
  • France: Hey, here’s a thing: Adblock Radio – a new app that skips the ads on your favourite radio station. The idea’s interesting – tune in and you’ll get the station on a short delay (perhaps ten minutes or so); it then recognise ads and chops them out
  • Australia: Congratulations to FBI Radio in Sydney for hitting half a million listeners. Sadly, Australia has two different sets of audience figures, one for community radio and one for the rest, which is a bit disappointing.
  • France: Deezer launches a live radio app. Some interesting features like “adding songs to your music library” – tried (and canned) by everyone from the original Virgin Radio, under my watch, to the BBC. They’ve also just scraped a list from somewhere, rather than attempt to contact the stations they list, which is understandable but irritating.
  • UK: Global has been caught out taking advantage of unpaid workers. Disappointing.
  • US: Pitchfork urges us to revolt against the algorithms, and listen to independent online radio. This might be a valid argument for some who don’t want stations that “just play the hits”.
  • Netherlands: Resist the temptation, says Tommy Ferraz, to change stuff instantly when you get the research.
  • US: Incredible step ahead for text-to-speech from Amazon – mimicking a newsreader’s cadence. Wow, there’s an incredible difference here.
  • Australia: Here’s a comedy podcast series, set in a radio station – all seven episodes are live now
  • Switzerland: 7 out of 10 people still use live radio in the car, according to this EBU research.
  • US: TuneIn is now available in… golf carts. However niche this release is, it does mean that TuneIn is still a going concern, which I’m relieved about: too many stations have told me that they’ve been unable to get any of their directory information changed.
  • US: Record audience figures for WNYC’s radio station. They’re also one of the world’s largest podcasters. This is no coincidence, I suspect.
  • UK: Something has annoyed David Lloyd: sloppy radio journalists. And a deft criticism for a #lazybugglesheadline too.

James Cridland