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Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Radio’s biggest strength and worst enemy: habit

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Typically, when I speak at conferences, I start by pointing out how popular radio is. 9 out of 10 of us listen to the radio in any given week - whether you live in Boston Massachusetts, Boston England, or Boston in South Australia. (Probably. The last one doesn’t have radio statistics, but Brisbane’s 9 out of 10 too.)
 
Podcasting? At best, 2 out of 10; and lower in many...

06 May 2019

Is the future for AM radio a switch to digital?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

If radio’s audience is getting progressively older, AM radio is partly to blame: in most parts of the world, AM radio is the home of shouty and reactionary talk radio, urgent-sounding 24/7 news broadcasts, sports broadcasters or “oldies” stations - which I always thought were named after the music but increasingly appear to be named after the audience.

 
The sound of an AM...

30 April 2019

NAB Show highlights a trend away from studio complexes

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I recently went to the NAB Show in Las Vegas - the first time I’d been there for three years or so. I used to stay at The Riviera, a gloriously run down hotel and casino, which had two good things - first, it was a short walk away from the Convention Center, and therefore relatively easy to get to; second, it had an almost acceptable British pub in it, which was a nice home from home. Oh, and it was very cheap.
...

16 April 2019

Cridland survives NAB

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

A busy week last week at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The exhibitors’ floors were massive, noisy and busy, and it was good to see podcasting begin to be given a bit of a larger space.

My personal highlight was seeing the great progress being made by Radioplayer: pictured above are representatives from Radioplayer Norway, Radioplayer Worldwide and Radioplayer Canada. Great to see the industry’s radio...

15 April 2019

Sliding into irrelevance, or taking control? #RDE19

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’ve just been to Radiodays Europe in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s the highlight of my radio conference year: over 2,500 people highlighting the very best of radio across Europe and beyond.

This year, I detected a change.

Darren Davis from iHeartRadio, the US commercial radio company, gave a confident performance. Accompanied by lots of slides, he told us how radio was...

02 April 2019

The dangers of assumption for radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Never "assume," we’re told in internal training days. To ass-u-me, we’re told, makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. And so we laughed. And had another biscuit. And willed the rest of the day to finish.

In radio, we assume too often: mainly, we assume that all our audience are like us. In 1993, I was told off by my Program Director at the time for back-announcing a song with a reference to the video...

27 March 2019

The difference between Radio and Podcasting? Podcasters like each other

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’m often asked what the difference is between podcasting and radio, since I’m increasingly straddling both industries.

The answer? Podcasters like each other.

I was at Podfest, a podcasting conference in Orlando FL, USA, last week. The conference, sponsored by Himalaya, had over a thousand podcasters in attendance.

Every month, a third of all US adults listen to podcasting, according...

19 March 2019

A radio station that just plays podcasts

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

iHeartRadio has launched what it claims is a first - a radio station that just plays podcasts.  The nattily entitled iHeartRadio Podcast Channel AM 1470, in Allentown-Bethlehem PA, USA, will broadcast podcasts from the iHeartRadio catalogue 24-hours a day.

When I tuned into the...
19 March 2019

What podcasting can teach radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’m often asked what the difference is between podcasting and radio, since I’m increasingly straddling both industries. The answer? Podcasters like each other.
 
I was at Podfest, a podcasting conference in Orlando FL, USA, last week. The conference, sponsored by Himalaya, had over a thousand podcasters in attendance.
 
Every month, a third of all US adults...
13 March 2019

Speakers vs headphones

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

New figures have come out this week from Triton Digital, who produce a ranker for (in this case) streaming radio online.

They show that radio listening on smart speakers has doubled. In fact, it’s...
05 March 2019

Cridland questions CRA's strategy targeting tech giants

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

At 8pm on November 23, 1923, the first radio station went on-air in Australia. It was called 2SB, and it broadcast using a “sealed set”. If you wanted to listen, you’d have to buy a special radio receiver from the station; and a licence, which paid for the programming. Your set just picked up 2SB. So, if you wanted to listen to the competing 2FC, you needed to buy...

25 February 2019

Radio: the gecko’s cheating on you

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

If you’ve not yet discovered it, Magellan is an interesting company. It monitors the top 2,000 podcasts in the US Apple Podcasts trending chart, and produces ad reports. Here’s the ad report for January 2019.

I’ve found the differences between podcast advertising and radio...

19 February 2019

Bauer buys more British radio stations to bolster market share

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

It’s been quite a week in UK radio.

First, a bit of context. Radio advertising in the UK is 70% national, 30% local. Local advertisers will always buy from their local station no matter who owns it; but it’s more work, and therefore less profitable, for ad agencies to buy radio groups with 3% of listening hours, when they could just buy one group with 48%. Scale is important.

...

12 February 2019

Big T, Little T - should “engineering” be different to “IT”?
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland
In 2007, I started working for the BBC in London, in something then known as Future Media and Technology, and almost as soon as I started, I was told of a split within the organisation’s technology teams that I should be aware of. There were, in essence, two different teams - known as “Big T” and “Little T”.
 
“Big T” was Technology with a capital T. The sort...
05 February 2019

Does a little Australian TV channel give us clues for radio’s future?
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland
Television, as we know, is changing rapidly - significantly more so than radio. Viewers to live TV are declining, as audiences get more used to on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, Stan, or iPlayer. So, TV platforms are trying new things.

At the beginning of this year, the TV system that I subscribe to - a little Australian set-top-box called Fetch TV - added a new...

28 January 2019

A commercial radio breakfast show, without the commercials
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Last year, Chris Evans was the presenter of the most listened-to breakfast show in Europe - The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2.
 
The BBC earns most of its money from a television licence fee, currently US$195 or so, which households in the UK have to pay if they have a television. This licence fee (and the sale of programmes to other...
22 January 2019

The BBC’s unfortunate bullying of Fortunately listeners
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

 Try to listen to the new season of Fortunately, a podcast from the BBC, and you’ll be told you can’t.

It’s a show that BBC produces which never makes it on the radio. Instead, it follows the same genre as many podcasts do: two friends chatting over a coffee with a special...
15 January 2019

New year's resolutions for radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Welcome to 2019. How are your personal New Year's Resolutions going? I thought I'd suggest a few for the radio industry

Lower your ad load - twelve or even fifteen minutes of ads an hour is a poor experience when compared to many of our competitors. In many cases, ads are being sold at a spot rate that hasn't changed in thirty years. Easier said than done, but this is a nettle that...

08 January 2019

Radio in 2019 - some predictions
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

What will we see in radio in 2019? My job's to look at trends in radio consumption, not really future-gazing: but perhaps I might offer the following thoughts:
 
Smart speakers will continue to grow. Google's ecosystem is much larger than Amazon's, though if you only measure on sales of Google or Amazon branded units, Amazon still has the upper hand. This is good...

11 December 2018

Flipping for Christmas in the UK
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

 

In the US, it's relatively common for radio stations to suddenly flip to playing Christmas music. You can go to bed one night, wake up and discover that your favourite station is suddenly playing nothing but Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree or All I Want For Christmas Is You.
 
Ireland has a station called Christmas FM which runs...
04 December 2018

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