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Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Smart Speakers: Putting Radio back into Living Rooms

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

This week, Google launched its Google Home smart speaker in Australia. It’s been some time coming - the UK and the US have had it for a while - and it’ll be joined, at the end of the year, by Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod.

On the face of it, you might think these devices have little to do with radio. But you’d be wrong. They could be the way radio gets back into our living spaces.

In the...

23 July 2017

Zero-rated data - is it good news for radio?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

In the UK, the curiously-named “Three” mobile phone network has just announced something called Go Binge. It’s a new service that lets you watch Netflix, listen to music service Deezer (and SoundCloud) but these services won’t come out of your monthly data allowance.

In Australia, Optus offers...

16 July 2017

Smart ads aren’t so smart - so when will we fix streaming?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I watched a TV show on-demand the other day. It was a quite aggravating experience.

Before the show started, there was an ad to get the TV network’s app on Apple TV. I was watching on a smart TV anyway, so there didn’t seem much point in trying to sell me something I didn’t need.

Then, in the first ad break - which started four seconds into the second part of the program - I saw an ad to...

02 July 2017

Radio engineers need to talk too

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

There are a group of people that make a surprising difference to the quality and creativity of radio programs across the world.

Yes, of course, Content Directors are important. A good producer perhaps more so. And, of course, good listeners. We all need those.

But, last weekend, I spent two days in a room full of other people.

These people work at your radio station, even though quite often they’re hidden away in a...

25 June 2017

Our younger listeners want on-demand content

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Recently, RAJAR - the UK's radio listening research company -  released their own "share of audio" figures as part of their MIDAS research, showing what kind of audio that the British put into their ears.

Of course, radio is the most popular type of audio: 77% of all audio listened-to is live radio. That's the headline figure from the UK: and similar research in the US, Canada and...

18 June 2017

Learning about Radio in Asia

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’ve had an interesting few days in Qingdao, China - taking part in a special radio day before the Asian Media Summit.

Asia is an interesting radio market, with some countries having very advanced commercial-sounding stations, and others where controls on private broadcasters have only relatively recently begun to be lifted.

Technology is different in China, and a little challenging - China...

11 June 2017

Is voice-control part of radio’s future?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

In households across the world, a not-so-quiet revolution is going on. People are talking to their houses, and their houses are talking back. Well, not their houses exactly, but a little piece of plastic in their houses - an Amazon Echo or a Google Home.

In countries where these voice assistants are available, these are rather taking off. In the US, Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey, which questioned radio...

04 June 2017

Get the tech right in an emergency

And get the facts right too!

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

This week, with the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester England, we saw another reminder - should we need one - of the benefit of radio in an emergency: and of its localness.

During a terrorist incident, mobile phone networks can quickly become overloaded. Worse: in the immediate aftermath of an incident, false facts abound. In this case, there...

24 May 2017

A lesson in radio’s future from 1941

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

A friend of mine has treated himself to a subscription to Scientific American, and is currently excitedly reading the archives, which come with his purchase.

Back in February 1941, the magazine published a piece about the introduction of FM radio. It attempts to predict the future, but then adds this caution:

“The...

21 May 2017

Should you focus on delighting your audiences, rather than monetisation?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I spent last week, partially, at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Los Angeles. This is the most interesting US broadcast radio conference I’ve been to - focusing much more on music programming than on business, sales and technology. My congratulations to the AllAccess team who put this together.

Seeing and hearing the assault of commercial messages when I landed in Los Angeles reminded me of the...

14 May 2017

Radio or just a different type of newspaper website?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’ve been thinking of a different type of newspaper website.

Along the top navigation bar you’d find a section detailing all the journalists. You could read their biographies, and see photographs of them.

There would be a full section talking about where you could get the newspaper. Probably a list of different stores, maybe a nice map.

There would be a competition section, because it...

07 May 2017

Upload Radio launches - now anyone can be on the radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Podcasting and online radio is all very well - but, as anyone will tell you, the numbers are small. More than that - it’s hard to get people to find your show, too. It’s rather easier to get people to listen to you if you’re on the radio.

If you want to play music, it gets harder still. You can’t play music in podcasts (well, full music tracks that anyone’s heard of), so the only real way to play an hour’s worth of music that you...

30 April 2017

A nice marketing trick for radio in regional Australia

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Last week, during the holidays, I did a lot of driving. It turns out that Australia, my home country, is quite big: and a trip from Melbourne to Orbost, which looks tiny on the map, is actually four and a half hours.

I’d claim that I listened to a lot of radio while I was driving that distance; but my four year-old wouldn’t hear of it, and so I was “treated” to the entire available work of My Little Pony on...

23 April 2017

Where is the best-sounding radio in the world?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

In a bar in Canada, two men jabbed their fingers at me - in a friendly way - and asked me a simple question. Where is the best-sounding radio in the world? What a great question.

I avoided the answer. We discussed it a bit. And I think we got broad agreement on what helps make great-sounding radio and the things you need.

First - the question expected a country as an answer. I don’t think that’s...

17 April 2017

Radio is rubbish at marketing itself - except for this station

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’m fascinated by marketing for radio stations.

I used to write radio commercials for a living, for around eight years. I’ve sat with clients and honed their message to make sure it works, and works well.

I’d end up being relatively firm with clients. I’d end up hearing myself saying: It’s not enough to promote that you offer “a great selection of beds all under one roof”. So does...

08 April 2017

Is Beats 1 really “the biggest radio station in the world”?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Run by Apple and available exclusively on Apple Music, Beats 1 was launched at the end of June 2015 - most audaciously, grabbing presenter Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1 at the time.

The programming is good, and high quality. It's great to see Apple invest in radio - and invest they have, with three great-looking studios in LA, New York and London; and some great broadcasters. However...

02 April 2017

What’s the point of a radio conference?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I write this having attended Radiodays Europe for the past few days. It’s a big radio conference - the biggest in the world, in fact, with 1,500 people going there.

The conference rotates country in Europe: this year it was in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, next year it’ll be in Vienna, Austria. Four tracks of well-produced content always leads to some interesting thoughts, and a difficult...

26 March 2017

I listened to lots of podcasts - and here’s what I learnt

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I do quite a lot of award judging. I'd recommend it. It's quite a useful thing to do - it forces you to listen to things you'd otherwise not listen to, and you get a good, whirlwind, view of a particular sector or market than you'd otherwise not have got.

It's particularly interesting for me, since I don't make radio. I've not been on the air for ten years (though I'd love to again);...

19 March 2017

What Volkswagen can teach us about radio’s future

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Jump into a brand new Volkswagen, or Skoda, and you’ll notice the radio - part of the “VW Infotainment” in car option.

There’s a lot to like. For a start, there’s a big button marked ‘radio’ on the dashboard. Surprisingly, these buttons are disappearing in some cars, in spite of radio being the most-used audio source in the car.

There are also big tuning and volume controls....

12 March 2017

Get out of the studio with a USB microphone

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

The way we make radio is changing. My first job in radio was carrying a heavy Uher tape recorder to an interview for a news reporter - we needed specialist equipment then, costing hundreds or even thousands. Today, we’ve most of the equipment already. But you still probably need a decent microphone.

The Shure MV51 is an old-fashioned looking large-diaphragm microphone, but it is anything...

05 March 2017

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