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Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

The UK is de-regulating commercial radio - here’s what you need to know

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

The UK’s commercial radio industry is about to get probably the biggest shakeup of its life.

Commercial radio in the UK is comparatively new - it only started in 1973. Until then, the country had four national radio stations provided by the BBC - a part-time top40 station that launched in 1967 (Radio 1), a more adult light music station (Radio 2), classical music on Radio 3 and news and drama on...

26 February 2017

World's first voice-controlled hybrid radio for cars launches
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Radioplayer Car is the world’s first voice-controlled hybrid radio adaptor, offering an easy upgrade for car stereos. It’s a ‘smart radio’ system, able to switch intelligently between DAB, FM or streaming, to find the strongest signal.

A small box, professionally fitted behind the...

20 February 2017

​Podcasting - much to look forward to, say awards organisers across the world

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Depending who you listen-to, podcasting is the future of radio, and we should all get on it as quickly as we can. Yet, according to Edison Research, only 55% of people in the US actually know what one is (Podcast Study, Spring 2016) - and podcasting is more advanced there than anywhere else.

On both sides of the world, however, podcasting is growing rapidly - fast enough ot only for Helen Zaltzman...

19 February 2017

Making your radio content go further

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

One of the talks I do is all about making the most of your content. I’ve done it in a number of different ways now to individual radio teams, including to an audience in Malaysia of over a hundred people.

The basic point I make, again and again, is that even your most fanatical listeners don’t listen to everything you broadcast. And your most fanatical listeners are already your fans....

12 February 2017

The great AM radio switchoff

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Norway is switching FM transmitters off: if you want to keep listening, you’ll find most channels will only be on DAB+ (and online and on the telly).

But: that’s not the only transmitter switchoff happening in radio. AM radio is being switched off, slowly and surely, across the globe.

The national broadcasters in France and Germany...

05 February 2017

4BC was hacked. Your station could be next

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

The internet. A fantastically useful service - a way of getting great audio contributions from across the world, a tool for research, a method of getting your signal to new people, and a big gaping security headache for you, particularly in times of unrest or instability.

Four large radio stations in Australia were...

31 January 2017

The iPhone, ten years on - was it the radio destroyer?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Did you have one? I did. The iPhone. The original iPhone.

Launched in a blaze of Steve Jobs alternative reality, it was an exciting rethink of how a smartphone could be. It didn’t have any apps - those came later - but it was a fabulous device with a decent web browser, built-in Google Maps, Google’s new acquisition YouTube, and email.

I got mine from the basement of Selfridges in London....

29 January 2017

Is the sun going down on live overnight radio?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

BBC Radio 2 is a station that confounds radio consultants.

It has an annual programming budget of US $53m

Tune into the station at different times of the day, and you’ll hear an up-beat breakfast show; a cosy morning music sequence and a news-based phone-in programme. There...

22 January 2017

Norway switches off FM. But why don’t they just do streaming?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

This week, FM broadcasts in one area of Norway finally fall silent. The majority of radio stations move over to broadcast on DAB+, alongside online and DTV. The whole country will have turned off FM by the end of the year. (Some small local stations continue for now on FM, but stations that get 95% of listening will move).

DAB+ is broadcast radio, just like FM. You need a new receiver, but it works exactly the same: broadcasting from a...

10 January 2017

Barking mad - radio for dogs

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

BBC Radio London is one of the BBC’s local radio stations, and every Thursday afternoon you can tune in to something called The Barking Hour.

There is a tedious joke here for non-Londoners, so assuming you are one, let me just tell you that Barking is an area of London, just north of London City Airport, and close to beautiful parts of London like the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

However, The Barking Hour on BBC Radio...

18 December 2016

Making “digital-first” radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Back in September, Michael Mason - who is in charge of the Australian ABC’s radio division - sent all staff an email detailing the future for the ABC in 2020. You can read it here, and you should.

It’s a good, cogent piece of both future-gazing and strategic planning, and it’s one that you might want to read for your own company. I said...

11 December 2016

NPR One - making news radio better

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I may have written about NPR One before. But radio programmers tell me to continually ‘reset’, and NPR One has some of the most important elements that I think are the future of connected radio.

NPR once stood for National Public Radio. They have over 1,000 member stations across the US. NPR One, which is available globally for iPhone or Android, isn’t just a streaming app - it’s more than that....

04 December 2016

Radio in the car - popular everywhere

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Industry body Commercial Radio Australia released some new data this week about radio in the car. Unsurprisingly for radio, it’s good news: radio accounts for 80% of all audio listened-to in the car. Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music total just 3% of time spent listening,...

27 November 2016

Radio needs pictures, but not lazy antique ones

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

There's a number of clichés to avoid if you write about radio.

First: the lazy Buggles headline. Video didn't kill the radio star, yet this falsehood is repeated so often it's no wonder that many people consider it to be true. It does our industry a disservice. However, you'll see it with monotonous regularity on any article written about radio.

But I'm noticing another radio cliché. The lazy antique radio photo.

...

20 November 2016

The radio stations without radio studios

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

My first job for radio was in a radio studio built in 1975 to a full studio specification from the UK broadcasting regulator: including adequate sound-proofing. The studio I worked in was virtually underground, with hessian-dampened walls and large double sand-filled doors.

Studios are a big part of any radio station - an expanse of glass and equipment and often built as a showcase. They’re...

13 November 2016

Malaysia - nowhere is radio more popular

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I was in Malaysia last week.

Some interesting facts about Malaysian audiences:

25% of people in Malaysia are Chinese-speakers. So, it turns out that Chinese-language radio is pretty popular.

25% of people in Malaysia are English-speakers. Go through the FM dial and you’ll find lots of English-speaking radio stations: in a taxi, I listened to Astro’s “Lite FM”, a kind of relaxing AC station: one with a fearsome...

30 October 2016

Paul Henry - watching radio on the telly in New Zealand

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’ve just been on holiday to New Zealand. It was very nice, thank you for asking. It’s awfully pretty, and everyone is very friendly. If that wasn’t enough, they call shopping trolleys by the incredibly cute name of “trundlers”. What’s not to like about that?

MediaWorks NZ operates the national newstalk station Radio Live, and I tuned into the morning show, simply called Paul Henry...

23 October 2016

Object-based broadcasting - the future?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Earlier this year, in late April, I braved the crowds in Las Vegas and saw something really quite special.

Dan McQuillin from Broadcast Bionics was showing two nice things, which Kirk Harnack from Telos persuaded them to show off in a YouTube video. If ever you should ever stop reading an article and go and watch a video, now’s the time. Go...

16 October 2016

Swearing on the radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Before we begin - the links in this article lead to words you may find offensive.

Over twenty years ago, I remember listening to the Dutch radio station Sky Radio, and hearing an incomprehensible dutch jingle followed by Prince’s new hit - “Sexy MF”. Except Sky Radio didn’t play the radio-safe version. We got the proper, full,...

10 October 2016

How important is a local radio station name?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

The biggest commercial radio group in Australia, Southern Cross Austereo, is doing something courageous in December - changing the names of 59 radio stations.

Australian station names are, to this Brit, a strange mix of heritage callsigns. There’s been a “2GZ” in New South Wales since 1935. “3BO” has broadcast in Victoria since 1931. But, from mid-December, they’ll be called “TripleM”, as will 29...

03 October 2016

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