Skippable songs now available on UK Radio | radioinfo

Skippable songs now available on UK Radio

Sunday 15 November, 2015

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Capital Xtra, Global's national Urban radio station, launched new version of their app a few weeks ago, with a new feature: a skip button.

If you're listening to the live radio station, and hear a song that you don't like, you can now skip the song you're listening to.

The listening experience sounds intriguing. It's only available on iOS at present (and unavailable in the Australian app store, where my iPod thinks is home even though it isn't quite home for me yet), so I've been unable to try it out: and anyway, to this old man, Capital Xtra mostly sounds like a noise. But the theory sounds great.

Skip the song currently playing live, and the app goes to the next song scheduled on the station. It's genuinely skipping. The radio presenters record bespoke breaks for the app as well as the radio station (voicetracking slightly ahead of time). So the experience with the app is similar to the experience with radio.

These bespoke presenter breaks also include calls to action by "tapping the screen" where appropriate. So where the presenter might be talking about "You missed a great thing on the breakfast show this morning - visit the website to listen!" - on the app they're saying "You missed a great thing on the breakfast show this morning - tap the screen to take a listen."

Listeners can reorder the songs coming up; though they can't add their own songs to the mix. Coming up soon will be more algorithmically-driven song choices that are driven by what the listeners likes and dislikes.

Ads are served digitally, and the company plans to add registration in future months to use profiling and registration data. DAX, Global's programmatic sales house, is handling how those work.

Simulcast on connected devices doesn't seem to be working; and the recent RAJAR radio research figures once more show that internet streaming for radio stations has increased at a lower rate than DAB broadcasts. I liken it to slapping a PDF of a newspaper onto the web; it works, but it doesn't offer the very best opportunity for listeners.

Global's new skippable radio - which I guess we can expect from Heart, Smooth and Capital shortly - truly is part of the future of radio. Impressive. Here's a promo video showing more:


About The Author

James Cridland is a radio futurologist, and is Managing Director of, a companion website to radioinfo and AsiaRadioToday.

He has served as a judge for a number of industry awards including the Australian ABC Local Radio Awards, the UK Student Radio Awards, and the UK’s Radio Academy Awards, where he has also served on the committee. He was a founder of the hybrid radio technology association RadioDNS.

James is one of the organisers of, the radio ideas conference each September, and is also on the committee of RadioDays Europe. He writes for publications including his own, Radio World International and RAIN News.

James is moving from North London with his partner and a two year-old radio-loving toddler to Brisbane shortly. He very, very much likes beer.

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