James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Smart speakers and Bauer purchases

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.

Australia: What’s your favourite biscuit, Australia edition. Excellent, this makes me very happy.

UK: John Myers on Global’s removal of local breakfast shows. He sounds quite angry at the UK regulator, Ofcom.

UK: Meanwhile, Another big consolidation purchase in UK radio, as Bauer Media hoovers up UKRD. The competition authorities have paused Bauer’s purchases, while they take a look at whether this is bad news on competition grounds (it’s unlikely, but who knows). Global took two years in “hold separate” before their purchases were allowed; Bauer is unlikely to have to wait that long given the amount of overlap is rather less, but who knows – not good to prolong this uncertainty, though.

US: Radio listening on smart speakers has doubled year-on-year, though mobile listening remains almost static.

  • I did a presentation today in Melbourne about (in part) smart speakers – worthwhile realising that in Australia, Google is much larger than Amazon in this space. One broadcaster told me that they get next to no traffic for Amazon, but Google delivers lots. Be cautious, therefore, in looking at Amazon’s dominance of the US and assuming that happens in your home country: it might not.
  • Meanwhile – “Stand by for a Queen triple-play. I’m Alexa, your DJ who apparently will announce the names of songs now.”
  • And also – yes, lots of people are using Google’s news briefings, even if they’re messed up – slightly embarrassing muckup from the BBC here.
  • And here’s a three minute video on how to listen to the radio on a smart speaker. If you need to do a three minute video on how to use something, then might I confidently assert that you’re doing it wrong?
  • Jacob Media’s TechSurvey also has some interesting data on Amazon Alexa skills. More than 40% of Amazon Alexa owners have not installed a single “skill”, the apps that make the thing run (slide 28). Skills aren’t needed to be installed on Google devices, and I can’t help but feel that this is unnecessary friction.

US: StreamGuys Adds Audience-Empowering Live Stream Rewind Capabilities to Revenue-Expanding Repurposing Platform – some good work from StreamGuys. Stream rewind is especially useful for talk radio, of course, but it looks like a no-brainer for a radio station to implement.

UK: Interesting behaviour of Amazon Alexa to offer a radio station sports commentary. So they’re parsing the programme schedule data and using for suggestions? Nice.

UK: Scala Radio launched a few weeks ago. Nik Goodman compared Scala with Classic FM. I tried to listen to a bit, but the stream was jumping all over the place, which was rather a shame.

US: New Infinite Dial data shows big growth in podcasts, and lots of interesting data about radio use in general. It’s a must-read, since (by and large) what happens in the US inevitably happens elsewhere.

UK: Are you available? – a good and thoughtful initiative from RadioToday for UK radio people.

UK: Lovely and well written piece saying goodbye to Hatfields, former home of talkSPORT

Australia: Here’s how the TV news here reported the new Brisbane radio ratings. Radio gets this kind of coverage everywhere, right?

Canada: An interview with Michael Hill from Radioplayer on the occasion of Radioplayer Canada’s birthday

US: Interesting app – nedl lets you find live streams based on the words being said on-air, they claim

My kind of lazy Buggles headline: Did Video Really Kill the Radio Star? Maybe Not…

James Cridland