James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: NPR – podcasting will be bigger than radio next year

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 I was in the Netherlands, being shown round the new NPO Radio studios. For the first time, almost all the NPO’s stations will be coming from the same building – and their new studios are beautiful and excellently designed. It was a pleasure being the guest of Jurre Bosman and Niels Hoogland, and learning more about their plans.

  • Turning point? NPR says that they will earn more from podcasting in 2020 than from radio. (It’s not quite as easy as that, of course, since NPR is rather more in control of its podcasts than its content on member stations; but even so, that’s quite a claim.)
  • US radio advertising revenue to start contracting, says Magna. Mind, they’ve also taken the IAB/PWC’s data for podcasting and come up with a different conclusion than the IAB/PWC themselves, so not quite sure what’s going on. Radio companies shouldn’t worry, but should redefine radio, I’d argue.
  • Remember, kids: if it’s a loudspeaker, your radio station should be on it. James’s first law of distribution strategy. So congratulations to Radioplayer Deutschland for getting their stations onto a speaker given away by one of the largest ISPs in the country.
  • In Australia, ABC Radio is now on the telly. Long overdue, particularly for the flagship services of Local Radio and RN, both of whom are stuck on AM here: and a welcome addition.
  • I get criticised for saying negative things about BBC Sounds, so I’ll just leave this page from the Radio Times here. Much of this PR mess is of their own making. If they’d have evolved the product from iPlayer Radio, they’d have had far better PR from it. As it is, they rebuilt a product that didn’t need to be rebuilt, and have never once cogently explained the benefit of Sounds: instead, being rather seen to bully users into using it by closing other ways of listening (and now, iPlayer Radio). They’ve some of the best people in the business in the Corporation, but why it’s taken so long to get to near feature parity – and even now, failing to sort out downloads, which was much loved by power users – I don’t know.
    • Worth mentioning that one of the reasons to switch iPlayer Radio off is that it’s inefficient to keep two sets of code actively maintained. I’d agree with this. So it’s slightly inconvenient that BBC Sounds isn’t available outside the UK: and the official BBC Radio app here is, er… BBC iPlayer Radio.
  • New research shows that in the US, radio is the last choice for news. Ouch.
  • Nathan Turvey once wrote to Kenny Everett and asked him for some jingles for his own radio show. Kenny sent some.
  • “WMNF recently spent $6,000 to commission a survey, which showed only 2 percent of locals who listen to radio have any idea WMNF exists.” Ouch.
  • AM/FM streaming skews young and female, says WestwoodOne. Better, surely, to say “radio’s digital platforms are skewing young and female”, and then to go out and sell radio? I don’t quite understand why US radio still wants to try and sell simulcast streams as a separate product (within the transmission area).
  • How much local radio is there actually on UK airwaves? Someone took a listen. Not very much really.
  • Oh, look – a Lazy Buggles lede in this piece about newspapers… if there are any US radio companies reading, do you think it might be a good idea to put the record straight?

James Cridland