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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Self-awareness vs. Self-indulgence

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.


Self-awareness vs. Self-indulgence

  • What are your new year’s resolutions for radio? I wrote a few – how many do you feel up to achieving?
  • UK: Chris Evans shares the secret of great radio, and the important things he’s learnt. I like: “Never moan on air. Listening to someone in a warm, comfortable radio studio moan, while the rest of the world is out there doing proper jobs for a living, is the ultimate turn-off. I used to do this because I thought it was cool. It wasn’t, it was stupid and self-indulgent.” Self-awareness of self-indulgence is rare, and separates the professionals from the also-rans. Meanwhile, good luck to Zoe Ball for her first show in the Radio 2 breakfast slot today.
  • Australia: Guy Dobson, SCA’s Chief Creative Officer, has suddenly left the company.
  • UK: Clever distribution move by Virgin Radio – they’re now on satellite at 192kbps, significantly better than a (mono) DAB stream. (A channel number of 0215 is good for the anoraks, too). Meanwhile, Virgin Radio isn’t, yet, available on Virgin Media, which won’t make much sense to some listeners. (Virgin Radio UK is owned by News Corp; Virgin Media is owned by Liberty Global).
  • US: One of the issues with the current US PPM system is that the PPMs are too expensive and too ugly. The next generation of PPM will be cheaper, therefore potentially allowing Nielsen to enlarge the sample sizes, and wearable tech, which should mean it looks a bit better than a pager. (Those in Europe: Inside Radio, owned by iHeartMedia, blocks you from viewing their website. Sorry.)
  • UK: FIX Radio makes its way to Manchester. Sensible plan, and a good use of DAB: a super-niche station making the most of digital.
  • US: How accessible is your website? This is something for radio stations to consider: Beyoncé’s company has been sued over the accessibility of hers.
  • Australia: Triple M announces new digital station Triple M Aussie. There’s an Aussie music quota for FM stations, but none for DAB+. I wonder whether this is a station of convenience from SCA, allowing them to better resist a digital quota?
  • US: Smart speakers nearly double in the past year. They’re owned by one in five Americans. (And, live radio, they’re perfect for you – at least, perfect for your P1 audience.)
  • New Zealand: Tech woes force RNZ National off air three times since New Year’s Eve – this seems careless.
  • US: If you ever needed a highlight that media people are in a media bubble, watch the utter incomprehension in this clip, as a US television interviewer tries to process what she’s being told by Paul McCartney. We don’t understand media consumption if the only people we talk to are media people. (Caution to radio: this is nice, but “76 year-old man says he likes radio” won’t help you promote yourself.)
  • UK: This is a step beyond “are jaffa cakes biscuits or cakes”, as a phone-in topic.
  • UK: Impressive looking bus advertising from Heart. Global’s view appears to be “do it properly or go home”. I’m glad they do it properly.
  • Ireland: Beyond The Soundwave ▸ – a podcast about the Irish music and radio industry, if you fancied a listen
  • UK: This is nice use of social media for radio – clip of audio, nice images, good promotion.

Brad Hill

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