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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: LBC’s election coverage; and Alfred shows us the future

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.


  • Very impressive to see LBC doing vision as well as audio for the coverage of the UK General Election. Here’s a best-of reel, to save you watching the whole slightly depressing eight hours. A clever piece of positioning from LBC to communicate that they were just as important as the BBC and ITV over the election – and I saw very high figures online when I was tuning in. A really very good production from all concerned. (Clever use of Facetime with the reporters out at the counts).
  • Indeed, I noticed that people could watch ITV, Sky News and LBC (and many other international broadcasters) live on a variety of platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – reaching people on the platforms they use. As far as I can see, the BBC decided to force people to their own platforms. When will the UK public service broadcaster start serving the UK public?
  • Interesting to note that everyone on LBC was wearing small TV-friendly microphones and hidden earpieces, except those in the radio studio. I wonder whether next time, the big headphones, at the very least, will disappear? (Although hopefully “next time” will be in five years).
  • Even more impressive, I think, are the plans for Alfred, a new community radio station in Shaftesbury in England. This is a beautifully crafted community radio licence application. An ambitious and truly different radio station, and exactly right for 2020. It contains no music at all (quite rightly, since music is now a commodity you can get everywhere, and the average listener in Shaftesbury will be able to get many, many music radio stations in any case). It’s a really good read, and I’d recommend it to anyone as a really clear guide to where the future of radio might be going.
  • Absolute Radio put a cleverly edited video on Twitter highlighting their breakfast show guests this year. Nicely done.
  • Excepting the excellent, handsome if slightly over-shouty voiceover, take a listen to this clip from 1989 – it couldn’t be any more embarrassing and old-fashioned!
  • The power of audio. What a beautiful story this is. How utterly lovely.
  • WBUR is looking at the future of radio. With an orange. Intricate flashback to late 1980s advertising for a UK mobile phone network?
  • You know that General Election exit poll that got it pretty well spot on? Spookily… UK radio research is worked out in quite a similar way.
  • Multi-platform radio listening in France, anyone? Interestingly low – just 13% listen on a digital platform. The absence of a properly national DAB+ network is probably partly the reason.

James Cridland

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