James Cridland’s Weekly Links: How to make great radio, and more

James Cridland is Managing Director of media.info, and a U.K.-based radio futurologist. He is a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. Find out more or subscribe at http://james.cridland.net


james cridland radio futurologist 300wGreetings from Radiodays Europe. We’re in the middle of the world’s largest radio conference, with 1,300 people here. Follow #rde15 on Twitter for updates.



  • How To Make Great Radio – a new book from David Lloyd out in May. Oooh!
  • What a clever idea – the internet radio station Monocle 24 sells a (super-pricey) internet radio with preset to itself.
  • Lots of changes to BBC radio streams. Andrew Scott has amazing patience dealing with some of these comments. Bravo.
  • How customer service works on Twitter. Fascinating but oh so depressing article. Interested if radio has to deal with this kind of stuff.
  • Make an entire TV show on a mobile phone. Sound like a good idea? Ask Spencer Kelly… (saved you a click: it isn’t)
  • London Turkish Radio to become retransmission of Panjab Radio. 350,000 London Turks now without a radio station. Well, an official one: there are two big pirates; and nobody – not one person – from the Turkish community bothered to tell Ofcom that they’d miss their own radio station. Eeek.

The rest of the world

  • Australia: Nice infographic about DAB+ listening in Australia. (In metro areas, DAB+ has similar to UK levels, with a much faster takeup rate)
  • Denmark: Friends of Radio Bulletin – from RadioAnalyzer, this might be worthwhile to subscribe to, perhaps.
  • Canada – Podcasts: How a once-nerdy audio tool is ushering in a new golden age of radio
  • South Africa – Recast – looks interesting. Strips the music from radio stations and offers you a station’s music in Spotify or Rdio. Almost universally negative tweet replies for this from radio industry people, but there we go.

James Cridland


  1. Quote: Lots of changes to BBC radio streams. Andrew Scott has amazing patience dealing with some of these comments. Bravo.

    Excellent! Imagine just what the best brains in the industry could achieve, if they weren’t distracted by having to account to their listeners and audience.

  2. Sorry to hear that poor old Andrew Scott is trawling the depths of his patience… Sorry to see too, futurologist Cridland’s view that the BBC’s internet audio “developments” are a good thing. Okay, maybe they are to Apple fanboys. They’re a disaster to their most loyal listeners, especially if they’re visually impaired. Maybe RAIN should take a look at what’s going on out here beyond the iPhone and latte circuit.

  3. I find the response to the BBC changes to be curious. As a public servant, Andrew Scott should be expected to be patient and responsive to the public. He’s paid by the UK taxpayer. He’s also expected to be responsive to their needs. It’s far from clear that the BBC has done that with their changes. From what I’ve read, blind listeners don’t think so, nor do users of devices as modern and expensive as Sonos or Cambridge Audio. There’s no doubt that the trend is toward streaming to mobile devices and devices based on http oriented technologies. What I can’t figure out is why the BBC acted the way it did or cutoff so many listeners with little or no warning. It doesn’t make sense when no other major streaming source has done something similar.

  4. Oh dear, allow me to dry my crocodile tears for Mr Scott. Perhaps his patience would not be so sorely tested if he hadn’t annoyed thousands of BBC internet radio listeners by cutting off their access to on-demand and sports programming with no warning. Perhaps he should cheer himself up by humming “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.”

  5. I think it entirely correct to state that Andrew Scott (who I don’t know) has great patience dealing with the comments. Unlike many BBC executives, he is bothering to trawl through all the comments and respond. Most don’t. And to clarify, Britbloke – I haven’t passed comment on them, just noted there are a lot of changes. (Given I put the previous system in place for network radio while working there, I’m a little confused by the speed of renewal).

    Rob de Santos – Scott isn’t paid for by the taxpayer. The BBC is not funded by general taxation.

    I think I am of the view that the BBC may have moved a little early here, but HLS is not a new-fangled technology; it’s surprising that Sonos and Cambridge Audio aren’t getting the criticism for not implementing it. Inevitably, older technologies like Windows Media streams do need retiring, and it is a bit naive to expect them to go on forever. And, given that I pay for the BBC (via a licence fee), it is entirely reasonable for them to look at simplifying their streaming infrastructure and saving money. The official websites and apps continue working as before, after all. I think it may have been a little too speedy, though.

    Anyway – cheers for your positive comments about the first of these articles! Oh.

  6. Mr. Cridland, I stand corrected on the taxpayer point but as you noted, you do pay them. The license fee is a tax as it is compulsory (at least in theory). The BBC have a commercial arm and make money outside the UK. Thus they have customers for their “brand” worldwide. This has hurt the brand and they are tone deaf to that.

    Yes, Andrew Scott is taking his time to go through the comments whereas many execs would not. That is admirable, but as has been noted in those comments, it is hard to see why the BBC won’t move at least a little toward those it has disconnected for at public relations. When your most loyal listeners are upset, that should be seen as a problem to be corrected.

    The BBC has moved more than a bit early. Quick: name another major internet streaming source, not a closed entity or video based, which has gone HLS-AAC and cutoff listeners? There isn’t one. I have no doubt that HLS will be growing in use, but it isn’t what they have done here that is the big problem, it is how they have done it and the unwillingness to fix that.

    Sonos, Reciva, and others aren’t off the hook. A trawl through the forums about Sonos, Logitech, Reciva, etc. and you’ll find lots of confused, unhappy users.

  7. Thank you for responding here, Mr Cridland. While technology must move on, it is hard to condone suddenly shutting off radio access to thousands in the name of progress. As you now acknowledge, more than just 60 quid Chinese rubbish radios were affected. Radio manufacturers and stream aggregators uniformly say they were not forewarned. While Mr Scott is entitled to some credit for answering the uproar on the BBC internet blog, unfortunately there is more obfuscation than substance to many of his responses. If you have any influence with BBC personnel, hopefully you will suggest that they restore the non-HLS wrapped AAC streams until some future deadline date passes, to allow the manufacturers time to adapt to these changes. Thank you for your consideration.

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