James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Switzerland to switch off FM; and Lazy Buggles

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.

  • Just 5,250 households take part in TV measurement in Australia. TVBlackBox got into one to have a look.
  • In 2016, there were 9.2m households in Australia; and almost three times the number of households in the UK (in 2017, there were 27.2m). Yet UK television research by BARB uses the same size panel – just 5,300 households. I’m sure the statistics works nonetheless. (RAJAR use 2,000 different people every week).
  • Switzerland are turning off FM radio in 2024, which I think is slightly ahead of schedule. They’re the second country to commit to a switchoff of FM. (I suspect it’ll be complicated by local language broadcasts from France, Germany, Austria and Italy still being available on FM.)
  • As a reminder, Norway was first – here’s their report from March this year. The précis? Not a disaster. Not a massive success. 68% listened to radio daily in 2016 before the switchoff; an almost identical 67% listen to radio daily in 2019 – though weekly figures have dropped a little. Or, to compare, weekly radio reach in Norway and the UK are virtually identical.
  • I’m looking forward to being in Prague for the ASI Conference – always a highlight of my year. If you’ve any interest in the above two stories, you should be coming.
  • My latest blog post (this is the podcast version) is asking whether visual augmentation is a good thing for radio. Listen over here, and sorry for not bothering to edit out the link to David Lloyd this week. Naughty James.
  • Interesting to see, often repeated in podcasting forums, advice to “use a dynamic microphone if your room is quite echoey”. So does a dynamic microphone, rather than a condenser, pick up less room noise? No, this is nonsense: it’s not the microphone you use, but the way you use it.
  • Finally, nice to see a PD try their hand at something new: I heartily recommend ABC Australia’s Unravel podcast, which this season (called “Snowball”), is a story investigated by none other than triple j’s Ollie Wards. And he’s got his reasons. It’s a great, well-told story with more twists and turns than Bank underground station (which is quite a lot).

Video Killed The Radio Star is 40 years old this month.

Never mind that video didn’t kill the radio star – 9 out of 10 people in most countries listen to the radio every single week – it’s still used as a lazy headline or a lazy first paragraph; and radio seems to collectively shrug its shoulders at this repeated false allegation. Want some examples? Here are a few just in the last few months…

James Cridland