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James Cridland - radio futurologist Profile

James Cridland - radio futurologist

English, Technology, 1 season, 187 episodes, 17 hours, 5 minutes
A weekly audio column with the most interesting news about radio's future. James Cridland is a radio futurologist - a writer, speaker and consultant concentrating on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business across the world. James has worked in radio since 1989.
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Happy 100, Aussie Radio

Links and more are at
2/1/20245 minutes, 33 seconds
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Better user interfaces in cars change radio listening

All the links and more here: was first published Oct 24
1/26/20245 minutes, 27 seconds
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Careful what the numbers tell you

All the links and everything else at
10/10/202310 minutes, 54 seconds
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Link rot, RAJAR and the BBC's global numbers

For all the links and more, try
8/6/20238 minutes, 38 seconds
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Farewell All Access; congrats Kyle and Jackie O

All the links and more at
7/27/202310 minutes, 28 seconds
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What the world's first podcaster would do with radio

What? What would he do? Listen on. Or read on -
7/11/202310 minutes, 1 second
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AI and radio

An audio version of my newsletter, at
6/23/20237 minutes, 25 seconds
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Behind the scenes for radio visualisation at BBC Radio 5 Live

An audio version of my newsletter, at
6/23/20235 minutes, 41 seconds
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AM given reprieve; Long Wave to go away; radio on TV

All the links etc at
6/4/20238 minutes, 33 seconds
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An excerpt of a trip report

I needed to record something using an ALABS IRON MINI-WL, and so I recorded a bit of a recent trip report. The trip report is part of my blog at
5/30/20235 minutes, 36 seconds
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India tells phone manufacturers to get FM; and BBC local radio

All the links and words at
5/19/202311 minutes, 27 seconds
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AM radio's US defenders

All the links, and lots more, at
5/2/202310 minutes, 19 seconds
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Ken Bruce hits the air and Bauer hits its stride

All the links at
4/3/202310 minutes, 36 seconds
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Can your presenters publish to your website?

Links and more at
3/20/20237 minutes, 11 seconds
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AM radio to disappear from more cars

Links and details at
3/20/20235 minutes, 3 seconds
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Robot radio comes closer, with RadioGPT - but is it any good?

Links and more details over here:
2/28/202310 minutes, 17 seconds
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CBC to turn off transmitters (but not yet)

Links! Text! Fun! At
2/18/202311 minutes, 10 seconds
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BBC pulls its stations from Radioplayer, and the RAJAR figures

Links and more to read and listen to over here...
2/9/202311 minutes, 6 seconds
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Ken Bruce leaving BBC Radio 2

Goodness me!Links and more to read and listen to over here...
1/22/202313 minutes, 36 seconds
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The big AM switchoff gathers pace

The UK continues its effective switch-off of the AM waveband. The station I knew as “Virgin 1215”, more latterly “Absolute Radio”, comes off AM this month in the UK. After working for Virgin for a number of years, it’s sad to see the AM signal go.In the same press release - the first station I worked behind a mixing desk for - the station I knew as Classic Gold West Yorkshire on 1278 and 1530, will also be turned off.The first commercial radio station I ever listened-to at home, which I knew as Signal Radio 257, is also being turned off.And the first commercial radio station I listened to while being stuck at school, Radio Tees (also 257), will also see the big switch-off by the end of this month.It’s almost as if Bauer are doing this personally!No wonder, really: according to a government official, AM radio in the UK has about 2% of UK radio’s listening hours, yet costs 35% in electricity costs. It’s eye-wateringly expensive to be on AM if you look at the power costs.Adam Bowie knows more than most, and has blogged about the intricate details of one of the UK’s special INR analogue licences coming off the AM band. He suggests it’s “a healthy six figure sum” to broadcast a national radio station on AM.Steven Goldstein, blogging from CES, notes that Tesla, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, and Ford have all removed AM from their electric vehicles. Some suggest that it’s an interference issue; that’s probably part of the reason, though my hybrid Toyota Prius manages AM just fine - I also suspect it’s the cost of antennas and shielding.Remaining on the AM dial in the UK - and using the same, shared, transmitter network - are talkSPORT and BBC Radio Five Live. It’s likely that this will, long term, mean that their costs increase.AM radio is clearly on its last legs - regardless of what the DRM Consortium will tell you - and what happens in the US and Europe will have its effects elsewhere in the world.Here in Australia, the ABC’s flagship speech services (ABC Local Radio, News Radio, and Radio National) are all on AM in the capital cities. Their presence on DAB - surely one of the escape rafts for these services - is never once mentioned. Each of those services is in decline. I worry.Interesting to spot new, frequency-free logos for Nine’s radio services, like 4BC in Brisbane, and 2GB Sydney. I hope that they will be accompanied by the AM frequency in marketing (since that’s still important to market), but as a long-term change, it’s one that makes sense.A good piece from Valerie Geller in 2006 - which radio programmers would have been wise to have listened to: arguing for doubling-down on radio’s unique selling proposition, rather than cutting it out and relying on syndicated stuff.Devices used when listening to audio in the home....
1/16/20239 minutes, 1 second
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Radio marketing, and the BBC, and other things

All the links and things are over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/18/202214 minutes, 16 seconds
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RAJAR, MIDAS, Local BBC Radio, and privacy

Links! Interesting things! Pictures! Over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/4/202214 minutes, 46 seconds
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BBC Sounds sees no growth; but ABC sees 22% increase

You can find all the links at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/24/202213 minutes, 20 seconds
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The BBC dismantles Steve Wright, the World Service, and the Prime Minister

I never listened much to Steve Wright In The Afternoon when he was on Radio 1. The show coincided with afternoon classes (if you went to a fancy boarding school). But when I did occasionally dip into it, it was full of characters, fun and excitement.Ahead of his final show later today, Geoff Jein has shared some of the secrets of the show that he worked on for a while.Steve Wright was the stuff of legends: and when the beers flowed and someone from Radio 2 was present, inevitably the stories would flow. Not all of those stories were positive, it should be acknowledged; but “Steve Wright” was a shared piece of all of our childhood and, for many of us, one of the reasons that we got into radio in the first place.The magic, for me, was on Radio 1, on a crackly, pre-FM signal with David Bowie asking Steve what the time was (and, of course, what the temperature was). It probably was time, Steve, sorry.But even so, his last weekday show today feels like another chapter closing; another piece of unwelcome change; and the onset of a bit of melancholy.That’s the power of radio.Steve Wright isn’t the only bit of the BBC that is disappearing.Today, we learn that more than 380 jobs are to go from the BBC World Service.There will be no more language services in Arabic, Hindi or Chinese. Many other language services will go online-only.The last time I heard the BBC World Service was as a news bulletin on Fabulous 103, a radio station in Thailand. But that, too, appears to be going away. “The BBC will also shift its focus away from providing news bulletins to overseas broadcasters and instead try to convince audiences to use the BBC’s own outlets and website.”In 2010, the awful, shortsighted, mendacious Conservative government forced the weak Director General Mark Thompson into accepting no more government funding for the BBC World Service. It needed to be funded from the UK licence fee instead. That started in 2014.It, too, was better in the old days - a carefully, sensitively produced network-wide sound of station in 2007, written by David Lowe made the station sound both cohesive but diverse - something many stations could benefit from today. The Mcasso 2018 remix, with the bland tagline “the world’s radio station”, has never really grabbed me.The BBC World Service is available in Australia, 24 hours a day, 50 weeks of the year (yes, I know) on DAB+ via SBS Radio 3. It’s also available in great swathes over the weekend on ABC News Radio. I listen to it a fair amount.It is still a fine-sounding radio station: one that is still a source of pride as a British citizen, and one that has incredible reach and power. The UK government appear to be dismantling the very best bits of the country.What makes this senseless gutting of the BBC World Service more galling is that it happens at the same week as <a href=""...
9/30/20227 minutes, 24 seconds
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Radio's multiplatform radio figures from Australasia

Charts! Graphs! Numbers! All at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/11/20228 minutes, 45 seconds
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BBC Sounds, Kenny Everett carts, and breakfast radio vs podcasts

All the links are over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/3/20226 minutes, 19 seconds
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Getting more value from the archive has all the notes and links!This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/24/20226 minutes, 6 seconds
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BBC Sounds by the numbers

I take a peek at the full numbers. for moreThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/17/202210 minutes, 18 seconds
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Why is Australian radio booming?

And, indeed, is it? has all the detailsThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/10/20229 minutes, 23 seconds
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Canadian radio, and the rise of smart speakers

All the links at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/13/20227 minutes, 30 seconds
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BBC cuts; TechSurvey, RAJAR

All the links! All over here! podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/29/202211 minutes, 14 seconds
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The end of music radio on AM? TuneIn cuts stations off; and DRM's relationship with the BBC

All the notes at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/6/202215 minutes, 26 seconds
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A radio receiver for people with dementia

All the links, and a random picture of a radio station in Los Angeles, here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/5/202213 minutes, 33 seconds
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Shortwave radio: who owns the receivers?

Links and a picture of beer here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/7/20227 minutes, 37 seconds
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Emergency broadcasting, radio's market share, and the launch of Alfred

Lots of links here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/28/20228 minutes, 41 seconds
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The curious case of the radio station that broke peoples' cars

Links to everything here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/14/20228 minutes, 30 seconds
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The end of open, as audio goes exclusive

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2/4/20228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Is no news good news? And: funding the BBC

All the links here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/28/20227 minutes, 10 seconds
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The BBC's fight against stupid

You can read this rant, and the bits after, at: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/23/202211 minutes, 37 seconds
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Radio vs Spotify - some data

All the links, and plenty more, at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/6/20228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Infinite Dial UK results, and 'Local BBC Radio'

Find all the links over here - podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/8/202115 minutes, 13 seconds
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An Infinite Dial for the UK at last

Here are the show notes - podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/29/20216 minutes, 9 seconds
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More talk! Less music!

Here - find the show notes over here... podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/21/20218 minutes, 44 seconds
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Radio is a hit for car drivers

You'll be wanting for the links!This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/14/202115 minutes, 7 seconds
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The UK's new radio figures

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11/9/202111 minutes, 42 seconds
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The CRA's good week

Read all the links and stuff here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/13/202119 minutes, 12 seconds
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Behind the Chris Evans Radio 1 breakfast show

Over at is the links and the text, where I talk about a new podcast I foundThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/5/20214 minutes, 28 seconds
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The people who don't listen to radio on a radio

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8/30/20216 minutes, 5 seconds
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Global makes a global hiring; female voices and the radio

You'll find all the links and things over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/24/20218 minutes, 24 seconds
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Why the words we use matter

You'll find all the links over here - podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/23/202112 minutes, 30 seconds
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Who owns Inside Radio? And a syndicated show with a difference

Read this over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/8/202112 minutes, 21 seconds
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Switzerland to turn off FM radio - the campaign to save it

All the links are all over here: podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/1/20219 minutes, 6 seconds
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Podcasts on your radio; radio in your Deezer; listeners on the air

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7/27/20219 minutes, 57 seconds
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The future of radio in Africa; and more stations in Belgium

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7/25/20216 minutes, 58 seconds
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Jono Coleman, and talkRADIO becomes a TV channel

Jono Coleman OAM died last week. Best known in the UK for the Virgin Radio breakfast show with Russ Williams, he was also on GLR, Heart 106.2, LBC (no, really), BBC London 94.9 and tradies favourite FIX Radio.While the BBC snootily relegated him to a local news story (and called his co-presenter “Russell Williams”), Jono’s death was quite rightly big news all over Australian media, with obits on 9 News, ABC Australia and many others.Here’s an hour of him looking back at his life on David Lloyd’s excellent Radio Moments, with the quote: “I’ve been a very, very lucky little fat bunny.”Jono Coleman was a professional right to the end; the same probably can’t be said for Rex Hunt, a commercial radio sports commentator who decided to drop a commercial break so that he could interview Robert DiPierdomenico, an apparently renowned AFL footballist. Called by the boss and asked why, he ranted for some minutes on-air, before, it seems, “taking leave of his duties at 3AW to focus on his family”.While we’re on the subject of Australian commercial radio, here’s a little clip of Kyle and Jackie O, now officially the #1 breakfast show in Sydney.The BBC’s Annual Report for 2021 came out. Usually pounced on by lazy journalists to highlight how much Gary Lineker is paid, Jake Kanter has pulled out a few other data points from it. Particuarly, 1,240 people lost their jobs at the BBC last year.talkRADIO, a UK talkback station, is being promoted as now available on the TV - streaming only, presumably to get round some...
7/11/20217 minutes, 52 seconds
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Who cares? Plus, Audacy's 350 new stations

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7/6/20216 minutes, 16 seconds
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Numbers from Nielsen; Ed Sheeran; terms and conditions

Links and full text is at podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/27/202115 minutes, 35 seconds
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Conferences, trust, and radio in the car has links to all the stories mentioned here.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/19/202117 minutes, 10 seconds
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Goodbye, and keep listening

Goodbye, and keep listeningA lot has happened since November 2014.At the time, I was working in the roof - quite literally. My office space was in a room that was so illegal, when I bought the house they weren’t allowed to call it a room, even though it had stairs leading up to it.In the winter months it could be made quite warm, since there wasn’t much of it. The room was the top of the house and you could just about stand up in it, if you bent your head and you stayed right in the middle, where the top of the roof was.The window gave a view of the rooftops of North London suburbia: a view past some lovely trees which some joyless beaurocrat cut down, over to a park, and beyond it, Enfield - a little country town that had inexplicably ended up rather too close to the rest of London.It was in this tiny room where I was sent an email from a nice man, asking me to start writing a column for a radio website; and I’ve written a column every single week since then; also producing a podcast version for a few years, too.I’ve managed to do this every week, almost, in spite of moving 10,000 miles from that little room in North London to a slightly sunnier room in Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, where the radio dial is the same but different; and where as long as I have internet I can still enjoy almost any radio station on planet Earth.Along the way, people have told me that radio was dying, and sniggered a little at my “radio futurologist” title - but here we are, five years later, with radio seemingly as popular as ever. The Nielsen figure still looks healthy in the US, GFK still looks good in Australia, and RAJAR is good in the UK - although each of them is showing some signs that radio is being kept alive by older listeners, and when our audience starts dying, they’ll do so literally.We’ve also seen audio being part of our world more than ever before. Podcasting is capturing peoples’ imagination: perhaps the level playing field that podcasting offers has led to a rediscovery of the types of things that audio can do - from complex audio drama to interviews that are given space to breathe.Podcasting, too, has led to a “pivot”, of sorts, for me. I continue to speak about radio’s future, but my days are now filled more with audio’s on-demand future, too, editing Podnews, a daily, free, newsletter about podcasting and on-demand.I’ve now written almost five years of these columns. Some of them have been carefully researched over a few days; some typed hurriedly at 11pm; and some I’ve been quite proud of. At a conference last week, I was struck by how many people came up to me and told me that they read these columns every week.That’s a lovely thing to say - but something I’m unlikely to hear that again, because this is my last column.I’ve worked in radio for over thirty years now, so I doubt it’ll ever
10/29/20193 minutes, 22 seconds
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At Radio Alive, things are changing

I'm over at This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/22/20192 minutes, 53 seconds
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Confessions of a radio ad writer

Why don't programme directors pull more ads? And why are some of them still so bad?This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/15/20193 minutes, 11 seconds
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The misguided quest for control

I'm over at and so should you beThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/8/20192 minutes, 22 seconds
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Reminding listeners how to tune in, in a multiplatform world

I once sat at the end of a telephone line, helping people tune into their favourite radio station. This was a real eye-opener. Many don’t even know the difference between AM and FM; and some sets are marked in strange ways to make it really hard to tune in. You probably know someone who have tuned in to their favourite radio station and never want you to touch their set in case they lose it forever.Radio is, increasingly, available everywhere. But we don’t appear to be telling people where we are and how to tune in. And I find that curious.For an FM/AM station, reminding people of the frequency you’re on is important: but many stations seem to not do that these days. I get it, localisation on network feeds is hard: but if you can manage it for adverts, you can manage it for station IDs. For listeners on FM or AM, if they forget the frequency, they’ll forget how to find you. This is a bad thing. You don’t want bad things. So, while it might lessen the clutter to just say “on FM”, as some stations do in the UK - LBC, I’m looking at you - it may be actively harming your audience not to give a frequency out.But also, it’s a good idea to remind people how you can listen on other devices, and how. Because - guess what - someone might not know you’re on a smart speaker. Or available through the telly. Or on DAB+. On on this different HD frequency somewhere.“On 97.3 FM, on DAB Digital Radio, on the Global Player, on Radioplayer, on, on your smart speaker, on Freeview channel 732, on Freesat channel 734, on Sky channel 0124, on Virgin Media channel 919, and on TalkTalk TV channel 627” is clearly not going to fly every single time you want to mention how to tune in.But one of those in rotation - perhaps alongside the FM frequency - might be a better way to remind listeners that, yes, you’re available that way too. Every hour would be nice.In my home town of Brisbane, two large AM stations never mention their frequency; many never mention they’re available online; none - not one - mention DAB+. If your listeners don’t know they can listen that way, you’ll lose them.We know that keeping things simple works on-air. We also know that we need to make it simpler to tune in to the radio. One day, we’ll put these two pieces of useful knowledge together.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/1/20192 minutes, 4 seconds
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5G - the future of radio?

I'm at This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/17/20192 minutes, 51 seconds
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40 years of lazy Buggles headlines

It's 40 years since Trevor Horn wrote this songThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/10/20192 minutes, 18 seconds
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Visually augmented audio - is it our future?

Something called BBC Notes was posted on the BBC’s Research and Development blog the other week. It’s a web app “that shows text, images, and links, to enhance the listening experience during live events, live broadcasts, and on demand”.There are quite a lot of these types of thing appearing. Entale is a podcast app which is trying to do the same - when you listen to, say, Serial then you see the places they’re talking about, and maps, and links to discover more and all of that kind of thing. (It does very well in podcasts about beauty products, I’m told, where you can click stuff to buy).At Podcast Movement I saw the Adori platform, which does the same kind of thing. It has a nice backend, allowing quick and easy addition of this data into a podcast, and some secret sauce in terms of how it adds the data into the audio file. Secret enough for them not to tell me, anyway.It isn’t, of course, the first time this has been thought of. Fifteen years ago, I was playing with Nokia Visual Radio, which aimed to add visual augmentation to live radio. I found some screengrabs of it, if you want to take a peek.There’s also DAB Slideshow, a method of adding an image to broadcasts, used by many different radio stations across the world (here’s a few examples).There’s a few issues, I think, with all these types of services.First - is it a rich enough experience? Does it add to the user’s enjoyment of the audio? Would it hold their attention, or offer interesting glanceable content?Second - is it easy to produce quick visuals at scale, and ideally automated? If it is, does it fulfil the first requirement - that it’s good enough? If I’m broadcasting something about the town of Ilminster in Somerset, is it acceptable to just link to the Wikipedia article about Ilminster; and does anyone find that useful anyway?...and third - does this give enough value to fundamentally change the user’s experience with audio...
9/3/20192 minutes, 3 seconds
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Google and Facebook and the power of radio

As Google knows, I’m in Kuala Lumpur today, in Malaysia. Google knows exactly where I am. It knows where I was yesterday; what airline I used to travel here; what news stories I read this morning; what’s in my diary for tomorrow. It knows what music I listen to, what shops I visit, who I email, when I email, how much money I have in the bank, what time I go to bed, what time I wake up, when I have a coffee, what rate my heart is beating. Google knows what medical problems I have, and what medical problems I think I have.When searching the internet, Google’s results for me are tuned to my interests. They hide things that they don’t think I should read. And Google presents to me every day a list of news stories selected especially for me.It’s a good job they’re not evil.Facebook knows where I go, who I talk to, who my friends are. Facebook knows how old I am, if I’m feeling happy or sad. Facebook knows where I live, and using artificial intelligence based on the stories I read and the conversations I have, Facebook can work out how I vote. And Facebook presents to me every day a list of news stories and conversations that it thinks I’ll like, and deliberately hides from me the conversations and the news stories that it thinks I won’t like.It’s a good job Facebook isn’t giving this data to anyone else.Radio has a unique power. When I listen to the radio, I listen to people with common interests to me - they live in the same place, or like the same music. But because it isn’t ultra-personalised, like Google or Facebook can be, it can help people see both sides of the argument. It can help people discover stories they otherwise were unaware of. It helps connect people, and instead of polarising people to one belief or the other, helps understanding and harmony.Radio is incredibly, uniquely, powerful. When used properly, radio is able to bring us together, as communities, as nations, as people. Radio can help our audience feel included in their community and their world; and can have many positive effects on mental health, social inclusion, and understanding of our fellow human beings.As I sit in Radiodays Asia, it strikes me that we need to remember the power that we all have. The power of radio.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/27/20192 minutes, 40 seconds
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Podcast Movement 2019

Recently, I was at Podcast Movement in Orlando. It’s the largest podcast event in the world, I’d think, with a variety of tracks covering almost everything you needed to know about podcasting.The event grows each year. Podcasting is increasingly serious business, with both Spotify and Google on the show floor this year, and Pandora also being very visible throughout the event (not least, providing rather lovely laptop stickers in every bag).Apple were at the event, too, but in an invite-only, super-secret session only for the elite few. Arguably, they don’t need to remind podcasters that they exist - though Spotify is strong competition for them. Rumour is that they’re spending money on exclusive podcasts to woo their audience back: I’d argue that they’d be better served by enabling subscription to podcasts, and adding an Android app, but I’m just a writer, not a strategist.I bumped into Brad Mielke, the host of the US’s Start Here podcast from ABC News. He’s clearly happy and excited about the work he’s doing: and excited, most, about the production value that the post-produced nature of podcasts can bring. “You can convey more with sound than just a straight back and forth interview”, he told me over a disappointing American coffee.There were plenty of learnings. Martina Castro, CEO of a Spanish-language podcast company called Adonde Media, said to me during a panel that 50% of Spanish-speaking podcast listeners are listening to English content. There’s plenty of space for international growth, it seems.And that international growth was seen later in the conference, as podcast producer Wondery told us that their hit podcast Dr Death had been launched in many different languages, including Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and others. As I write this, they appear to have hit the top of the charts in virtually all those countries.Podcasting appears to be growing up - while retaining its young charm. While big business is most certainly involved, including US radio’s largest broadcasters, it’s also a place where small independent podcasters still have a shot at making a hit podcast in their spare room. The smart money is scaling podcast advertising, so that those independent podcasters - the long tail - can begin earning money to support their work.There’s literally nowhere else like Podcast Movement: so the organisers are planning two events next year: the main event in Dallas next August, and an event earlier in the year in Los Angeles.The podcast world is one we can all learn from: as podcasters large and small get together to share best practices and invest in each other.At a time when many US radio conferences have lost their excitement and enthusiasm, there’s much to learn from what the podcasters are up to.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/20/20192 minutes, 33 seconds
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Cockroaches, eh? Radio is a bit like them. Kind of.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/6/20193 minutes, 14 seconds
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Live radio doesn't work on headphones

Radio is consumed differently on headphones than speakers. Here's new data.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/30/20192 minutes, 20 seconds
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Music logs can be better

Music logs can help presenters if done rightThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/23/20193 minutes, 9 seconds
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The AM radio station that's number two

4KQ - an AM station - is doing well in BrisbaneThis podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/16/20193 minutes, 5 seconds
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Hearing the voice of your listener

Hearing the voice of your listener Johannesburg, South Africa, is a place like no other to hold a radio conference, and I was privileged to be at Radio Days Africa recently on their tenth anniversary. Radio is an important part of life in Africa generally. Radio reaches people who cannot read or write; and plays the part of an educator in many parts of the continent. Here’s the excellent Steve Martin from the BBC talking about radio in Africa from 2013. It’s a good overview in how progessive African radio stations are, as well as how they think about radio in a different way to many of us. But radio in Africa is also, partially, stations like 94.7 in Johannesburg (tagline: “You love Johannesburg - we love you”), who sound as polished as the big top 40 stations you’d hear elsewhere. However, it was Bérard Duprès from the Seychelles Broadcasting Company that got me thinking a little. He began by explaining where the Seychelles were - they’re here in case you didn’t know - and spoke about the stations that the SBC run. One of the things Bérard showed was the radio station’s app. Obviously you can listen to the radio station on it, but you can also send a voice message to the station in high quality audio. The station uses a product called Fabrik, made in South Africa, which acts as a kind of private WhatsApp for the station, who are then able to edit and broadcast the messages. It’s a simple and straightforward way to get more voices on the air. They’re not alone. Radio X in the UK is using a rather less private WhatsApp - well, they’re using WhatApp itself - to get messages into the studio for Chris Moyles. And they seem to be having great fun with it, even if most of the callers want just to say the word willy and bum. For radio stations everywhere, though, services like this makes it really easy to remain real and relevant to your audience. For SBC, who run radio stations that broadcast to over a hundred different islands off the coast of East Africa, it’s a great way to hear directly from your audience. For Radio X, it’s a very good way to hear them swear at you. Getting proper, decent audience audio on the air has never been easier. If you don’t have this function in your radio app - what’s stopping you? Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/9/20193 minutes, 11 seconds
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The radio station making money from podcasts

Radio TOK FM is one of the most listened-to radio stations in Warsaw, Poland, owned by Agora Radio Group. A news and talk station with over 40 journalists, the station is doing something unusual: charging for podcasts. Jarosław Śliżewski, the company’s Chief Digital Officer, says that six years ago, a decision was made to focus on on-demand content. Now, listeners pay a monthly fee to gain access to over 65,000 pieces of on-demand audio from the station, including catch-up shows and exclusive digital-only content. Pricing is set at US$3.90 a month for access via the web, though over half of their subscribers pay US$5.20 which gives access on mobile apps, too. (That’s the same as Spotify charges in Poland, incidentally). The company already has more than 17,000 paying subscribers - a figure that has grown 60% year-on-year. “Every day, we produce about nineteen hours of new content for radio broadcast,” Jarosław tells me. “Additionally, about two hours a day is produced exclusively for online use, like bespoke podcasts or extended versions of live programmes”. Some of the original podcasts are broadcast on the radio, too. They work hard on the service’s metadata, with all content described and tagged, and about 40% of the content is automatically transcribed (thanks to a Google DNI grant). The app contains personalisation, as well as playlists; you can “follow” specific topics, presenters and programmes. While the station is present on Apple Podcasts and other similar platforms, they use these as marketing material, containing clips of the full content that is only available through the paid-for service. Podcasting, and on-demand content, is clearly growing; and the growth in Radio TOK FM’s paying users since 2013 has been steady. “Digital income is becoming a more significant component of TOK FM’s profits,” Jarosław adds. Radio’s future certainly looks like a mix of live and on-demand content; and perhaps Radio TOK FM is leading the way.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/23/20192 minutes, 43 seconds
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Three podcasts we can learn from

At the recent Podcast Day in London, I was asked to share three of my favourite podcasts, and as always I decided to slightly subvert the brief to really be three podcasts that we can learn from. Reasons to Be Cheerful, with Geoff Lloyd and Ed Miliband, (produced by Emma Corsham) was my first choice. Ed Miliband used to be the leader of the Labour party in the UK, and he came across as a deeply awkward, barely human and really quite unlikeable person. But the intimate nature of podcasting has changed all that to me - he's good fun, nerdy, self-aware, and endlessly inquisitive, and the podcast itself is a great listen. Perhaps that's why most of the US presidential candidates are doing lots of podcast appearances at the moment: it’s easy to overlook what podcasting has to offer to help really get to know someone. They’ve just launched a spin-off, Cheerful Book Club, where Ed interviews non-fiction book authors: that’s worth a listen, too. Podcast number 2 - is, well, mine: the Podnews podcast. I know, shameless. Now I don't actually want you to get it - the newsletter is better - but I'm mentioning it for two reasons: first, great advice for any podcaster is to keep things simple. There's no interviews, no features, just a quick rundown of the news every day: it works well and is very scalable - you can even record it on a phone. So, resist the temptation to chuck everything in. Second, it highlights the power of news briefings. This podcast gets at least half of its total downloads from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa's news briefings services. They are a massive and relatively untapped market for podcasters and broadcasters alike. You should look into them. And the third podcast? Death in Ice Valley - it's a true crime podcast - is awesome. It was a podcast I was genuinely excited for every single episode release. I didn't even want to read the episode titles in case they had a spoiler in them. Wonderful thing. There are maybe three things we can learn from this - first... the space it gives its subject. It's gloriously unhurried, in a way that radio typically isn't. Second... they COULD have recorded all ten episodes at the same time: but they didn't. They spent time and energy on a community on Facebook, and built in feedback from the audience in every episode. It made a real difference to the series, and it's something I'd highly recommend. And third - for those of you working in public radio, this just goes to show that a collaboration like this, between two big public service broadcasters, can actually work. The ABC in Australia and the CBC in Canada are also working together on cross-promoting their podcasts. There's plenty we can do if we work together. If you're a fan of this, podcast, they’ve just taped a new, live, show, which is released on June 24th. There’s plenty we can learn from podcasting. I’d love to hear more that are worth learning from.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/17/20194 minutes, 54 seconds
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Apple’s changing podcasting: but is it theirs to change?

Apple are making some changes. You’ve probably heard about iTunes going away. In truth, this means little - iTunes “went away” on iPhones a long time ago, and this latest change is just replacing iTunes with three separate apps on the Mac. If you run a Windows machine, iTunes continues as normal. Apple have asked you not to talk about podcasts “being on iTunes” for the last 18 months anyway. But there are also some changes to Apple Podcasts categories - the genres and names you use to navigate through podcasts. And those changes, which I list here, are substantial. I calculate around 70 new categories and 30 renamed or removed ones. The changes take place “in late summer”, which probably means the first week in September when the new operating system is normally released. Now, Apple is responsible for nearly 90% of all podcast listens: because Apple’s database powers many other podcast apps, from Overcast to Pocket Casts, Player FM to Castro. Almost all podcast apps have used the original category list: but as far as I can discover, Apple didn’t talk to a single podcast app developer before announcing these changes. Every one will have to rebuild parts of their app in response. They also didn’t talk to a single podcast hosting provider before announcing these changes. This was a complete surprise to them, and many hosting companies have privately expressed anger to me: “we’re scrambling,” one says, “we don’t get a head’s up”. Every one will have to rebuild part of their publishing process within just a few months. The success of podcasting is partly because podcasts are available everywhere, not just on an Apple device. The same RSS feed that powers Apple Podcasts also powers many different services, like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. We don’t know what will happen to these services if we change categories just for Apple’s benefit. The iTunes categories were Apple’s own invention, back in 2005, and their changes are good news and mostly well thought out. However, on its own devices, Apple is responsible for just 62% of all podcast downloads — a figure that is falling. In spite of this, Apple has just arrogantly changed podcast categories for its own purposes without consulting any other part of the podcast community that this will affect. This is partly podcasting’s fault. There is no industry association: a place where producers, app developers, podcast hosting companies and ad-tech companies can come together. There are no best-practice guidance documents for things as simple as “how do I display episode notes”, “should I cache audio” and “do I need permission from podcasters first before listing them”: and perhaps there should be. I’m keen that this, at least, changes. However, it’s also an issue within Apple. As is clear from the release of this document, and the abject failure of the company to engage with any part of the podcasting community, it’s clear that they believe that they “own” podcasting. Because… they do not.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/10/20193 minutes, 23 seconds
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Let’s stop deluding ourselves about the FM chip in phones

In Canada recently, I heard a little bit of history - or, so it seemed to me. Radio executives were openly banging the drum for FM chips in phones: an argument I thought was long since dead. You can understand why this discussion is still live in Canada. Some research I did about mobile phone data costs seems to point to Canada being exceptionally expensive for mobile data. In comparison to Australia (roughly the same population and land mass), Canadians pay almost FIVE TIMES MORE for a monthly plan that gives a THIRD LESS DATA. (I put this in capital letters because it still surprises me). Perhaps Canadian radio broadcasters sense an opportunity if FM chips are enabled. I’m not sure there is one, to be honest. As devices, mobile phones already significantly underperform when it comes to live, linear radio (whether streamed or delivered via FM). Research of UK radio listeners, on page 10 of this PDF, appears to show live radio accounting for less than 20% of all audio consumed on a phone. The most interactive device that we own, always within arm’s reach, is not the most ideal device for listening to an unpersonalised live stream, it would seem. It’s also not a great user experience. There are no logos and virtually no metadata when listening to FM radio (and in Canada, like the US and Australia, even RDS signals are exotic in many markets). The very action of tuning into a radio station requires the listener to remember a random number for no reason other than a historical anachronism. The company that got closest to fixing the user experience on mobile, Emmis's NextRadio, wasn't supported by other parts of the North American radio industry, and regrettably has joined Nokia's Visual Radio in the waste bin of good ideas. “But radio is most important in times of emergency”, claim the radio companies. But in reality, if an emergency, or a big news story, happens in the evenings or weekends, recent evidence suggests radio won’t cover it anyway. SMS and app alerts are much more effective at communicating immediate peril, like weather events or fire. If radio had a part to play here once, it doesn’t any more. (The aftermath from emergency, as a community starts putting things together? That’s a very different thing, where radio excels.) In any case, the technology is against it. The antenna used for FM or DAB+ reception in a mobile phone is the headphone cable: but that’s something that doesn’t exist in Apple or high-end Google phones, which use Bluetooth. Bluetooth headphones are a challenge with electronic measurement, too. And the strong AM stations that exist in Canadian metro areas? There’s only ever been one mobile phone with AM built-in, and the reason you don’t know about it is that it was fifteen years ago, and it was rubbish. There’s plenty of evidence that Canadian listeners use streaming rather less than their neighbours in the US. The Canadian radio companies could lean on the CRTC to more effectively regulate the price of mobile data from the cellular networks. But they won’t, because the Canadian radio companies ARE the cellular networks. Indeed, the cellular networks are the folks calling the shots in terms of whether FM chips are enabled or not. If the Canadian cellular networks aren’t pressuring the likes of Google and Apple for FM chips to be enabled - and let me remind you again, they own the FM radio networks - that points to a bigger issue. Let’s use our energy and focus on delighting our audience, not trying to capture a magic unicorn that offers, at...
5/27/20193 minutes, 21 seconds
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Where should a radio station be?

Something fun is happening in my home town of Brisbane, Australia - some of our radio stations are on the move. Top 40 station Hit 105 and rock station Triple M lived in buildings in North Quay next to the river, where they’ve been for the last twenty years. They’re moving two minutes’ walk away, up the hill to Petrie Terrace, a new entertainment district with a cinema, restaurants, and next to Caxton Street, one of Brisbane’s oldest entertainment streets with bars, pubs and clubs. It’s just a minute’s walk away from Suncorp stadium, the city’s sports and entertainment arena. Meanwhile, the AC formatted “97.3”, and hot oldies station 4KQ, just moved from a dumpy building in Stones Corner, an out-of-town location 5km away from the city, where they’ve been for thirty years. They’re moving to a building on Coronation Drive in Milton, overlooking the river and close to both the city centre and to a restaurant district that also boasts the highest concentration of beer breweries, including Queensland’s famous XXXX. Both sets of people are excited by the move - since, for the first time, they both get actual views of the city. 97.3 gains signage along one of Brisbane’s busiest roads and a significantly better working environment that should help recruitment, particularly in sales; while Hit 105 will be close to a new entertainment venue to be built in the next five years, currently called Brisbane Live. Hit 105 has never been able to see out of the studios before, and, so I’m told, the old building didn’t really get on well with Brisbane’s occasional subtropical rain storms - a tarpaulin and quite a few buckets being pressed into service every so often. Triple M made the most of the move by auctioning off their rock memorabilia for charity, according to local TV station 7 News. Radio stations really don’t need to be centrally located any more, of course. You could argue it makes little difference to the on-air sound, whether a station is in the middle of a business park or has prime real-estate in town. Technically, it doesn’t - but it’s easy for an out-of-town radio station to lose ties with the very city it broadcasts to. If radio’s unique point of difference is that it offers a human connection and a shared experience, perhaps it’s important for the on-air team to live and work in the centre of the city, not in an anonymous building miles from anywhere. Only then can each and every person really feel part of the community they broadcast to. Moving two stations is hard - moving four, in the same two weeks, is harder still. Here’s hoping everything works!Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/21/20193 minutes, 1 second
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For internet radio, there may be trouble ahead

There’s trouble for vTuner, the heritage company used by many manufacturers as an internet radio directory. On May 1, vTuner’s service apparently fell over for eleven hours, and Frontier Silicon, who used the vTuner service for their internet radio modules (used by people like Roberts, Grundig and others) switched just a week later to a different provider - causing great upheaval for listeners, since all their presets suddenly stopped working (and many products needed a firmware update). Bose’s products also have ceased using vTuner’s database, too. Peter Johnson, vTuner’s CEO, posted quite a rant on the Bose website revealing that the company charged “.40 cents” per product to vTuner, that Tunein has “a pathetic database”, and ends by claiming “What these consumer electronic companies want is free no matter how bad the quality of the service is”, adding that it “now looks like I will need to close vTuner soon.” That’s bad enough - but there’s also rather larger trouble for TuneIn, who provide an app (which I bet you have), as well as power smart speakers from Amazon and Google. Sony and Warner threatened back in 2017 to take TuneIn to court in the UK for what they claim is copyright infringement, and if I understand correctly, that court action is taking place this week, with the record companies being assisted by IFPI. The reported claim is that TuneIn is linking to hundreds of unlicensed audio streams - which could mean streams that simply have no licensing at all, or could also mean out-of-area streams (many non-UK streams are audible in the UK, despite having no UK music licence). Previous rulings by the European Court of Justice, which still governs UK law until at least the end of 2020, have said that providing an index to unlicensed content is a bad thing, hence why - for example - The Pirate Bay has been banned across Europe. TuneIn’s own website is also pretty clear that it’s only legal to use TuneIn from the US (1c), and if you want to use it from outside the US, it’s up to you. If this action succeeds, it probably means the closure of all of these services: and perhaps the end of cross-border internet radio listening overall. There’s certainly trouble in the world of internet radio directories. iHeartRadio and Radioplayer, which are operated on the radio stations’ behalf, clearly offer a good option - but aren’t, yet, universal (either in terms of territory cover or stations included). Perhaps this will please radio broadcasters, who wish to exert more control. But that will be bad news for radio listeners. It’s worth watching how this plays out: and, while internet is still a major part of radio’s future, there may be trouble ahead.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/14/20193 minutes, 17 seconds
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Radio’s biggest strength and worst enemy: habit

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 countries. Given the amount of change to the media landscape, why does radio do so well? I think a lot of it is due to habit. We’ve always listened to radio. It’s a habit to wake up to the clock radio, or to turn the radio on in the kitchen. It’s habit - and automatic - that the radio goes on in the car on the way to work. Radio cottoned on to this in the 1960s and 1970s, when it stopped carrying individual shows like comedy, quizzes, farming programs and special hours for housewives. Radio changed to be a consistent offer, and a consistent listen. You’d always hear the same type of music, and the same type of programming, whenever you tuned in. The same people doing the same timeslots, week after week, month after month. This is why attempts to unseat radio have been difficult: because you’re trying to break a habit. And, like coffee-drinking, cigarette smoking or a decent beer, habits are hard to dislodge. Last week came news that the New York Times’s podcast, The Daily, is now doing two million downloads a day. Sure, it’s a far cry from NPR’s Morning Edition, which has 14.9 million people listening each week - but something to consider is that The Daily is succeeding in breaking peoples’ habits. There is a certain amount of the US population that, instead of the radio, now habitually listens to Michael Barbaro’s weird intonation every day. Their habits are being changed by highly produced daily podcasts that are long enough for their commute. Habit, too, may be explaining why radio has a problem in many countries with younger audiences. They may still listen in roughly the numbers they did before: but they listen for far less time. And if you’ve heard people saying that audiences “grow into” radio listening, I’m here to tell you that, no, that’s not true. All the statistics I’ve seen show that younger audiences don’t magically change their habits later in life - and as they grow up, they continue listening to less radio than their parents. Habit has been radio’s friend for the last fifty years - enabling it to successfully win the battle against the Walkman, MTV, and other new technologies. But habit could be radio’s enemy in the years to come, as habit-forming content appears elsewhere. Through addictively-great programming and innovative distribution, it’s up to us to keep the radio habit alive.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/5/20192 minutes, 57 seconds
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Is AM Radio's future all-digital?

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4/29/20193 minutes, 28 seconds
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The NAB Show 2019 - and the move to home studios

NAB Show highlights a trend away from studio complexes 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. The Riviera was knocked down a few years ago, though. In its place this year was a lot of building work: the Convention Center is expanding, and where there was once a crappy hotel with awful wifi, there will soon be The West Halls, a place to fill with more exhibitors. So this time, I discovered a new hotel - the LINQ, which is a monorail stop away from the convention centre. It doesn’t have the opulent fanciness of the Wynn, but it also doesn’t have the prices to match. The best bit of the LINQ is a European-style street off the strip, with a number of decent eating places down it. Spend a little time here, and you can nearly forget about the horrific nonsense of the rest of Las Vegas. I spent much time in the audio part of the NAB Show, and noticed a small change: equipment manufacturers are making more stuff for home studios, rather than massive downtown studio facilities. Some manufacturers, at least, are recognising that work is changing for those that make great audio. We don’t need gorgeous studios in expensive locations, now that we have high-speed internet. As one example: Rhod Sharpe, a radio presenter for BBC Radio 5 Live, has presented the same overnight show for the last twenty-five years - much of it from an eighteenth-century house in the US state of Massachusetts. He requires a microphone, a few monitors, a data link, and not much else. There are more stories of radio stations being happier to leave the studio behind. Filippo Solibello, a broadcaster for Italian broadcaster RAI, sees a studio as a confining place: he much prefers to take his show on the road. He appears to need a microphone, a laptop, and a wifi connection. Indeed, there are many stations - some on internet only, some on FM or DAB - which exist without having a broadcast centre at all: each show coming from the presenter’s home. Radio’s unique selling point is a human connection and a shared experience: something that Spotify cannot possibly hope to do. Increasingly, that human connection and shared experience isn’t served by having presenters locked in a brightly-lit studio, wittering on about Kim Kardashian or interviewing movie stars. Better, perhaps, to get out and do stuff - whether live or nearly live - across your broadcast area. If equipment manufacturers are beginning to notice the trend to home studios, perhaps that’s an opportunity for all of us to rethink how we make radio to keep it relevant for the future.  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/15/20193 minutes, 25 seconds
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The dangers of assumption

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3/26/20192 minutes, 49 seconds
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Would an all-podcast radio station work?

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3/18/20193 minutes, 38 seconds
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What podcasting can teach radio

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3/12/20192 minutes, 46 seconds
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Commercial Radio Australia tries to remove links to radio stations

In a submission to government, Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian equivalent of the UK s Radiocentre, asks for, among other things, a legal requirement that people shoyld remove links to live radio streams, and podcasts, if the content owners ask. The reason given is that other places might link to live streams or to podcasts, and therefore people won’t visit radio station websites any more, and therefore radio companies will lose out on the revenue from ad banners on those websites. Well. First: there’s no need to get government involved. If you don’t want others linking to your live stream, you can protect it: just ask Netflix, Spotify or even Apple’s Beats 1. If you don’t want others linking to your podcasts, just remove the RSS feed and nobody will be able to link to your podcasts any more. Technology to protect streams and files has been available for at least twenty years. Second: for an ad-funded platform, it’s absolutely the wrong strategy to limit your potential audience. Your main goal should be to get more listeners to your ad-funded content. Third: podcasting, in particular, works by a podcaster publishing an RSS feed. This feed is published deliberately to help other websites and apps to find individual episodes — without formal permission being given. The whole point, and success, of podcasting is that it’s open. To bring legal protection against people linking to your podcast is dangerous for the entire medium. And fourth: “permission from the content owners”  is an interesting one. The content owners of much of radio’s output are the record companies, not the radio stations. The record companies are in perpetual fights with broadcast radio, and will be delighted to learn that you’ve handed them a way to switch off your internet streams. The press release seems a scattergun list of issues — everything from better ad measurement, asking for less regulation, asking for more regulation, and asking for money. But the legal requirements about links to streams and especially to podcasts are dangerously misguided; and display a fundamental misunderstanding of how the medium works. Just count yourself lucky you’re not in Australia. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/25/20192 minutes, 53 seconds
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Radio: the gekko's cheating on you!

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2/18/20192 minutes, 20 seconds
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Radio - full of transferable skills

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2/11/20191 minute, 32 seconds
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Should 'engineering' and 'IT' merge?

I'd think they should, in any radio company...Music by Ignite Jingles. Clips from an AT&T video from the 1960s.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/4/20193 minutes, 34 seconds
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Does a little Australian TV channel give us clues for radio’s future?

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 channel. It’s a true-crime channel called Oxygen, run by NBC Universal, and it’s on channel 101. Oxygen is an interesting model - because it isn’t actually a television channel at all. Sure, it looks like a television channel. It appears in the EPG alongside all the other television channels, and it has a broadcast schedule, too, 24-hours a day. If I flick through the channels in an evening, I’ll flick past Oxygen just like every other channel. You can watch it just like any other channel - you can watch a show, then the show finishes, then something else will start. In fact, Oxygen is just a collection of on-demand TV shows. On the TV Guide, it exists as a virtual channel - the EPG slot there to promote the shows available on-demand. When you channel-surf into Oxygen, it isn’t giving you a live TV channel at all - in fact, the show conveniently starts at the beginning. It’s an on-demand service - not a live TV channel. Programming has been chosen based on how well it’ll perform as an on-demand product. What could radio learn from this? Imagine - you tune into the radio, and the first thing you hear is your favourite song. Followed by, yes, the live presenters (at least, recorded live five minutes ago). A radio station that gives you the travel at 8.20am and only at 8.20am, because that’s the time you’re just getting ready to drive into work. A radio station that has everything that makes great radio - presenters talking about the football last night, the ride into town today; but a radio station that has nothing that makes for bad radio - no poorly-targeted advertising, no overplaying of my favourite songs. If we were to think of great music radio as a jigsaw, made from short pieces of on-demand audio content, rather than a live unalterable stream - what would that mean? That “jigsaw” could be assembled just for me, on my mobile phone. And for you, on yours. And a version of that jigsaw also assembled for those listening on FM - with less of the personalisation, but otherwise should sound virtually identical. Is the future for radio something which is devised as a collection of on-demand audio, assembled for each listener… and where the FM transmitter is just another listener? Does radio need a bit of Oxygen?Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/27/20192 minutes, 58 seconds
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A commercial radio breakfast show, without the commercials

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 broadcasters) pays for the whole thing - so there are no commercials or sponsor credits on BBC Radio 2: it’s entirely commercial free, and perhaps that’s why 14.6m people tune in every week. Of course, that’s not entirely true. The BBC does a very good job of promoting its own services. Were they to spend money on similar advertising elsewhere, that would be a very high bill indeed. So there is plenty of promotion of new BBC television shows, and plenty of breathless interviews with big BBC stars who often have something to plug. But that’s fine, and that’s not really “commercial messaging”. Chris Evans left the BBC at the end of last year; and has just started presenting The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio, arguably one of the smallest national radio stations in the country, with 414,000 listeners. Virgin Radio (a trademark of Virgin, yes, but owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in the UK) is a commercial radio station: but the Chris Evans breakfast show is entirely commercial free. There’s not a single commercial in the entire three and a half hours. Of course, that’s not entirely true, either. He’s sponsored by Sky, one of the UK’s largest TV broadcasters. There are occasional sponsor credits, but if the first show is anything to go by, there’ll be plenty of promotion of new Sky television shows, and plenty of breathless interviews with big Sky stars who often have something to plug. But there won’t be a single 30-second ad for washing powder, sausages, double-glazing, or anything else - “not for the first hundred years,” said Chris - presumably exaggerating slightly - in his first show. It’s a canny move. If the only thing holding his previous audience back was the prospect of radio commercials, Virgin Radio have removed that objection. And why not. In truth, the loss of commercial inventory from the breakfast show won’t damage the station much: it stands to considerably gain from the marketing and halo effect that its new big star will have. When radio’s online competition has a much lighter ad-load, or no ads at all, it’s a clever move to work to rethink commercial radio’s revenue model. Good on Virgin Radio for giving that a go.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/21/20193 minutes, 9 seconds
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The BBC’s unfortunate bullying of Fortunately listeners

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 guest. The “friends” in this case are Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, two broadcasters who share the same kind of humour; the podcast itself is recorded in the coffee shop in the “BBC Piazza”, the public space outside the BBC’s gleaming Broadcasting House in central London. Last year, the BBC launched a new smartphone app. Called BBC Sounds, it contains bespoke content like this, as well as radio shows (on-demand and live), and some music mixes. Mistakenly, the app was launched before it had reached feature parity with its predecessor, BBC iPlayer Radio. It’s also not available outside the UK. BBC Sounds requires listeners to register before they can listen, just like Spotify. This offers personalisation opportunities, one would assume; but it also means that some within the BBC have begun focusing on how to increase what is known in technology circles as the “MAU”, the number of Monthly Active Users, believing that this is a key performance indicator of the success of the app. The drive for a higher MAU number isn’t, by itself, a bad thing. Along with measuring the overall time-in-app (which should similarly increase), it’s an important measure of how successful the app is. However, it’s a fine line between encouraging listeners to use the app: and bullying them to. Which brings us back to Fortunately, which started a new season this week but you’ll not be able to listen to it on anything other than the BBC Sounds app. The podcast has been withdrawn from all other podcast apps, and replaced with a plaintive message that “we used to be here but we’re not here any more”. Good business sense, you might be thinking: which is a valid point of view. Except: what business is the BBC actually in? Its core area of expertise is making great radio (and TV) shows. Further, its money comes - in the main - from the UK’s licence-fee payers, who have already paid for this programme to be made. The most important measure of success for the BBC, surely, is how many people consume and enjoy its programmes: and to that end, withdrawing programmes from other platforms is short-sighted. There is a limit to how many apps people will install; and while pulling shows into your own walled garden might be a strategy for some, audiences should really be drawn to your app because it’s really good, it offers great recommendations, and works brilliantly. If you need to bully audiences to install a new app by taking things away from them that they’re already paying for anyway, you’re probably doing it wrong.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/14/20193 minutes, 18 seconds
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Standards are boring - but they are there for a reason

Standards are boring - but they are there for a reason   Tune in to many FM stations with RDS signals in France, Italy or the USA, and you’ll notice that some stations try putting some now-playing information over the 8-character radio station name. Watch, and it slowly scrolls through a song name, or - worse - some advertising. It’ll normally scroll once every two seconds, due to the way RDS works, so it scrolls really very slowly; and errors on transmission can mean you lose chunks of the data (and thus chunks of the name).   Worse, if you try saving a preset on your car radio, quite often it will store the name currently being transmitted; so there are vast amounts of cars on the road who think they’re listening to “PIZZA” or “RWAY TO HE”.   This doesn’t sound as if it’s a great user experience, because it isn’t. The broadcast regulator in some countries bans this - the UK is one of them. But, more to the point, it is explicitly not allowed under the RDS specification. “PS [‘Programme Service’] must only be used for identifying the programme service and it must not be used for other messages giving sequential information”, the RDS specification warns.   The advent of digital hasn’t fixed this, either.   In Denmark, if you turn on your DAB radio and try tuning around, you’ll notice something odd happening. Bauer have named all their stations starting with a “_” character, so “_Radio Soft”, “_myROCK” or “_Radio 100” are all together (at the bottom of the list), below every other station.   The thought, presumably, is to keep Bauer stations together. The reality is that listeners will only see “myROCK” appear below competitor “Rockkanalen”, and that means that this decision breaks everyone’s ability to tune in alphabetical order - making digital radio much more confusing for everyone. Being fair, the DAB specification only says that this name “shall identify the service”. But even so, where would we be if everyone did this? And why should a listener care - or know - who the overall owner is?   DAB+ in Australia is similarly broken. Travel to Brisbane in Australia (pop in for a coffee while you’re here) and you’ll notice one station on DAB called “1116 4BC” and another called “4BC1116 NewsTalk”. Both these stations are identical, but the owner of this station appears to be spamming every DAB radio set by getting two listings for the one station.   Once more, the DAB specification allows this - you can have more than one service listing pointing to the same subchannel. But this isn’t really very good behaviour. If everyone put two different names for the same station on the multiplex, where would we be then?   The internet, too, is a world of specifications that are barely followed. When submitting a podcast to iTunes, you’re asked for the name and author of a podcast. Of course, some people started adding all kinds of nonsense into the “author” field, to help them appear higher in searches. The nonsense has irritated Apple so much, they’re now kicking podcasts out of their listings who are just spamming keywords into podcasts. Apple cares about the user experience; and it seems some podcast providers just don’t. Good on Apple for saying enough’s enough.   So, I know it’s really very dull - but just occasionally it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves that standards and etiquette are there for a reason.   Will what you’re doing delight your audience? If you’re just wanting to irritate the audience, perhaps...
11/26/20182 minutes, 46 seconds
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Check your speakers really are smart

  I’m swearing at my smart speakers a little this week.   I’ve a few Google speakers in the house, including a Google Home Hub - the one with a little screen on it. It’s great as a radio from my point of view, since it has a decent-ish speaker on it (better for voice than music, though). It’s good for radio, since it has a good big screen that contains a logo and the station’s name - to aid recall if anyone asks me what station I’m listening to.   I also have an Amazon Alexa, which at the moment is on my desk for testing things, but is normally outside.   I use these devices to listen to the radio, as well as to other things. It’s normally a simple job. “Listen to XXXXXX” normally works. Sometimes you have to ask it for “XXXXX on TuneIn” to give it a nudge that it’s a radio station.   “LIsten to ABC Radio Brisbane”, I ask it, and it dutifully tunes in.   “Listen to BBC Radio 2”, and it works just the same.   “Listen to 4ZZZ” however… not a chance.   4ZZZ is one of my local community radio stations. It plays a decent mix of music, has a wide variety of programmes, a decent local news service in the morning, and - all in all - is a lovely listen. When I can get the speakers to play it.   4ZZZ is pronounced “4 triple-zed” here in Australia, and that’s the incantation I’d like to give the speaker. It fails.   “4-zed-zed-zed” would be the most obvious next step. That doesn’t work either.   “4-zee-zee-zee” *does* work on the Google smart speakers. “OK,” the smooth-sounding australian Google voice says. “Tuning into 4-zed-zed-zed on TuneIn”. So it doesn’t understand 4-zed-zed-zed but says it as confirmation. OK.   And I still don’t understand how to do it with the Amazon Echo. I’ve asked Amazon support about it, since 4ZZZ is listed in TuneIn, and they responded agreeing it’s a problem and they’ve escalated it to a senior engineer. A month later, it looks as if it might work, though it responds “Playing 4Z” which isn’t, quite, right.   If you work for a radio station, pop down to your local electrical store and check how easy it is to get your station on a smart speaker using the default listen experience (without installing any ‘skills’). It might surprise you.  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/19/20182 minutes, 51 seconds
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Radio in the car - a better experience

  Radio in the car - a better experience   About 50% of all radio listening happens in the car (the figure’s lower in countries like the UK, but higher in places like the US).   In many ways, radio’s best in the car. Radio - the original multitasking medium - lets you concentrate enough to drive your 1,300kg (2,800 lb) metal death-machine along busy streets alongside soft, vulnerable fleshy pedestrians, while you enjoy an unfunny stunt from breakfast show presenters who are such awful people you’d never let them into your house.   Radio’s popularity in the car is clearly important to us as an industry. But the experience of a car radio hasn’t changed much since the original car radio in the 1950s. We have to remember two random numbers to listen to a radio station - a frequency and a preset number. Switching between FM, AM (and DAB) often changes the user experience entirely.   The experience for DAB is especially poor in most cars. My Toyota Prius (yes, I’m one of those) lists stations on DAB by service ID, not alphabetically; and lists ensembles separately.   In the US, HD2 stations offer usability issues in a car. If you want to listen to Bloomberg Radio in San Francisco, you need to tune to 103.7 FM, then wait a few seconds (no, really), then hit the ‘up’ button to find the HD2 signal. A triumph!   It’s good news, therefore, that someone’s trying to fix this on behalf of radio.   Radioplayer, the not-for-profit project that is now in many different countries including Canada, the UK and Germany, showed a research prototype last week in Berlin. It highlights how we in radio want the in-car experience to be.   Tuning is by station name, not by random frequency. Station names are announced by voice before the audio starts (good for your station’s brand awareness). Decent quality logos are on the screen while you listen. And, probably most importantly, there are no “band” buttons - if a station’s on FM, HD2, DAB or just the internet it gets equal prominence. The radio will even switch between FM and the internet if it needs to - and back again.   It’s just a reference design for now: but auto manufacturers already know how important a decent radio is in a car. Hopefully this will give them the information and the data they need to help make a better one.   This is important work for our future - and deserves our support. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/12/20182 minutes, 47 seconds
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New technology: bad for radio?

New technology: bad for radio?   Automation Killed The Radio Star, says the latest blog from Dick Taylor, a US radio writer.   Two things about this.   The first is the use of a lazy Buggles headline. Radio is still very much alive, with 9 out of 10 people in most large countries listening every week. Nothing has killed anything.   I collect lazy Buggles headlines. The song was, of course, the first song to be played by MTV, back in the days when it played music instead of vapid reality television shows. Amusingly, radio outlasted MTV.   Every time we repeat a “killed the radio star” headline, we reinforce the thought that radio is, in some way, in trouble. It isn’t. For parts of the US population, radio is more popular than television!   The other part of Dick’s blog post that I disagree with is the finger-pointing at technology - in this case, automation.   It takes people to use, or misuse, any form of technology. Technology, by itself, isn’t capable of being good or bad.   The postal service is not a bad thing, just because occasionally people send bad things through it, after all.   Automation is capable of getting the best out of your programming. It’s capable of a warm friendly voice overnight, instead of a tone or piped-in programming from the other side of the world.   Automation is capable of polish and tweaks that were impossible in the age of cart machines and turntables.   Poor automation is poor radio, granted - but we’d be foolish to claim that all automation is poor.   New technology, used well, has the potential of delighting our audience, and out of that, bringing ratings and revenue. Used badly, it can have the opposite effect.   But, as is hopefully relatively clear, I’m a fan of what new technology can bring to radio. Including automation.   If anything killed the radio star, it’s the humans who used automation badly. Perhaps radio needs less of those types of humans.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/5/20182 minutes, 20 seconds
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Podcast measurement: more standardised than you’d think

It was interesting seeing one of the pieces of news coming out of Radio Alive, the radio conference in Australia, recently: the Australian radio industry are putting together a Podcast Working Group “to spearhead the development of the growing podcast industry in Australia”.     Their press release says: “Broadcast radio is highly regulated and audience measurement is tracked through the independently audited GfK Australian radio surveys. In contrast, the podcast industry is currently fractured, with no standard measurement system in place.”   Well… that’s not entirely true. I write a daily newsletter for the podcast industry, Podnews, so perhaps I can help demystify things a little in terms of podcast measurement.   Podcasting does have a standard measurement system in place. It rejoices in the name “IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines v2.0“ - normally shortened to IAB v2 - and it essentially monitors downloads of podcasts in a standard way. It’s been broadly agreed by podcast hosts and advertisers alike. Both major Australian podcast hosts, Whooshkaa and Omny Studio, use IAB v2 metrics to report to clients.   IAB Australia’s Audio Council - of which Commercial Radio Australia are a part - have also recommended that IAB v2 be used in the Australian market as well, and have released some guidelines reinforcing some of the work. The idea is that all podcast hosts should be measuring using IAB v2, and should theoretically return the same numbers.   To be fair, downloads are limited in usefulness. Some podcasts are downloaded but never listened-to; raw download numbers don’t give demographic information, either. But there’s a global standard.   It’s worthwhile comparing podcast measurement with broadcast radio’s research.   In Australia, there are three sets of broadcast radio research, not one. Commercial Radio Australia mentions GfK, who are used for the metro areas; but they also produce other sets of research using Xtra Insights. Community radio isn’t in either of these, so they have to commission additional work using McNair Ingenuity Research.   All three sets of Australian broadcast radio research return different numbers, and are compiled using different methods. And they’re not compatible, either, with radio research conducted in other countries. Indeed, there’s no global standard for measurement of radio listening - “a listener” is one that listens for five minutes in some countries, fifteen in another, “listened yesterday” in a third; Germany has no weekly figures at all; Ireland averages over the past twelve months; the UK averages over the last quarter, six month or twelve month period; Canada and the US have two systems; many markets aren’t even measured.   The global radio industry is fractured - disastrously so, when you consider that Apple Beats 1 or Spotify have one global measurement standard to sell against them. The lack of standards means it’s hard to compare different countries.   So, while podcasting has an agreed global standard, broadcast radio’s research is fractured and there is no standard measurement system in place.   Perhaps we should try to establish a Radio Working Group to see if we can fix this, and...
10/22/20184 minutes, 14 seconds
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Do you really need a radio building at all?

I still remember my first look round a radio station. In spite of writing to Signal Radio in Stoke-on-Trent and being ignored (shame on you, Signal), Radio Aire in Leeds held an open day, and I got to look round the studios. I remember being amazed by the equipment, and was astonished at how great the jingles sounded on the decent studio monitors; and the equipment everywhere.   Do you need an on-site playout system? The BBC’s ViLOR solution for their local radio stations keeps the fancy studios, but moves all the playout equipment into a few regional centres - so, as a presenter on a local station, you’re not pressing “play” on a computer in the basement any more, but one a few hundred miles away. The benefits here are obvious - easier maintenance, more efficient air-conditioning, cheaper studio facilities.   Speaking at Next Radio, RCS’s Philippe Generali unveiled a cloud-based system called Raptor, that moves all of the playout software for a typical radio station into “the cloud”: so RCS look after the racks and the transmitter link, rather than your radio station.   Do you need a music library? OmniPlayer’s playout system uses Spotify (as well as your local audio) so you’ll have access to any song that you need, almost.   Do you need expensive soundproofed studios? A few years ago, I wrote about Vista Radio, a company that I’ve been proudly working with for the last two years, who don’t have radio studios in their new facilities. Instead, their “open-air” studios are part of their office space. If you’re doing music programming, it’s unlikely you need the type of heavy soundproofing that legacy studios have; and if the only speech blocks are at breakfast, your office is quiet then anyway.   Do you need studios at all? For UK-based EDM station This Is Electric, their presenters are at home, using their own home studio (typically, a USB microphone into a laptop), controlling the playout software which is hosted for them by the UK company Broadcast Radio. The station is on DAB and on the internet.   Do you need offices at all? Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365 offers all the functionality for office work, alongside planning systems like WideOrbit or Aquira. For most jobs, there’s little need for anything other than a web browser.   The team at Aiir, who do radio websites, apps and many more things, don’t have a head office at all: and all work remotely from home. There’s no reason to spend all that money on rent and office space if your team are all remote workers.   I’m now hearing about FM stations in the UK who operate entirely virtually - no offices at all, presenters doing their shows from home (both live and voicetracked), and all back-office work being done by home-workers on systems based in the cloud. Many sales operations already work this way.   The discussion in the US earlier this year was all about “the local studio rule”, but, it seems the discussion for some forward-looking radio stations is whether they need a building at all. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/15/20183 minutes, 53 seconds
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New tech offers radio listeners more choice

New technology enables us to delight our listeners even more - particularly, radio operators are now offering more choice than ever before.   In Australia, Southern Cross Austereo have been doing a crafty job of launching additional brand extensions for rock and sport station Triple M, and top 40 channel Hit - so listeners can now enjoy Triple M branded stations playing modern rock, or classic hits, for example; while listeners who enjoy R’n’B Fridays on Hit can now find a channel that plays that music 24/7. The stations are available on DAB+ and online.   SCA’s work has resulted in 12% more audience for the radio company, in what they call a “brand-safe environment”.   104.6 RTL in Berlin, Germany, have also started doing something new just      last week that has helped offer more choice to their listeners - Arno and the Morning Crew, the live breakfast show from the station, is now available through their website and in their app with three different types of music. It’s the same live radio show that broadcasts on the #2-rated Hot AC station in Germany’s capital city, but now you can enjoy a version playing top 40 (“nothing but new hits”), or the show with a greatest hits format with songs from the 70s to now.   This is the first outing of this technology in Germany - Berlin’s “funniest morning show” plus three different music streams, all automatically stitched in.   In Vienna, Austria, Kronehit has a service within their app that allows you to listen to the station you enjoy, but skip songs or other elements that you don’t want to listen to. It automatically plays other, brand-relevant music, but continues to have the same presenters, weather, news and travel. They’ve been running this since June 2017.   And if you listen to Heart or Capital in the UK, you’ll hear a fair amount of national programming - but with presenter breaks that are occasionally local when they need to be. This method of “smart networking” allows a national presenter to still react to local events when they need to - from helping audiences with a power cut, to being able to promote their local breakfast shows when required.   New technology often has a bad name within radio chatrooms and forums: and there’s no doubt that poor voicetracking or networking is pretty obvious to listeners. But this new technology makes radio sound better and better able to compete against the world of Spotify and podcasting.   As Marc Haberland, PD at 104.6 RTL says, “radio’s strengths are music and the spoken word: presenters to move and entertain you, and news and information to keep you up to date and help you through your day.” Anything that helps keep radio’s strengths, but adds new choices to audiences, must be a good thing.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/8/20183 minutes, 16 seconds
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Why are you in radio anyway?

Why are you in radio anyway?   I had a conversation a while ago about FM RDS, that thing which tells you what radio station you’re listening to on a big screen in your car, so you don’t forget. For some reason, this US radio company that I was talking to didn’t have RDS. The fundamental question from the radio guy? “Yeah, but how can I earn money from it?”   There was an interesting article recently in a US publication - Can Podcasting Increase Your Ratings? - and another from Dick Taylor, asking What’s Radio’s Why? - in essence, what’s the point of radio?   For some reason, these two articles made a lot of things make sense. It reminded me of what drives people.   Some people reading this will think that they do radio to get ratings and revenue. That’s the reason why we do anything - ratings or revenue (and ideally both).   Others, though, think that they do radio for a different reason - and it’s a little simpler than “get ratings or get revenue”. Simply, we do radio (or a podcast, or a website, or a newsletter, or a conference, or any type of work) for one reason alone: to delight someone.   If we delight someone, ratings and revenue will surely follow. But I suspect that for many people, ratings and revenue isn’t why they’re in the business. They’re in it because they have an overwhelming urge to delight other human beings.   We can delight them by doing a good job covering stories they’re interested in. We can delight them by playing songs they love. We can delight them by being good company when they need it.   Global, the media and entertainment company headquartered in London, has an “Obsession Statement” rather than a corporate one. It’s a great thing, and I’ve been known to read it aloud in meetings where people are violently disagreeing or getting highly emotional about what they do. Because it’s OK to feel strongly sometimes.   Valerie Geller, when speaking at Next Radio about four years ago, said that our listeners’ health and safety should be our first priority. She didn’t say ratings and revenue (though she’s also seen plenty of that). Instead, caring for our audiences is number one.   Perhaps those who are in radio for the “ratings and revenue” lack the passion of those who are in it to delight audiences. And maybe, just maybe, that lack of passion results in some of what we hear on the air.   Are you in the business of ratings and revenue? Or are you in the business of delighting our audience?Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/1/20182 minutes, 37 seconds
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A recap of Next Radio 2018

Some clips of some of the best speakers at the radio ideas conference.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/24/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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The secret to achieve a growing radio industry

The secret to achieve a growing radio industry could be as simple as this   I’m writing this in London, where the doors are (as I type) just about to open for Next Radio, the radio conference that I run here with my friend Matt Deegan. It’s a positive radio conference with an uplifting feel.   Go to a radio conference in the US or Canada, and there won’t be very many smiling faces. There’s a general feeling in the US and Canada that radio is managing decline. But in other countries, radio is behaving differently.   The UK commercial industry has grown, over the past year, by 5.2%. It’s now a US $887m market.   Australian commercial radio has grown too - over the past year, metro stations growing 3.8% to a US $573m market (and there’s more from the regions, too).   Commercial radio in Finland is growing, too. Their figures are harder to decipher, but July grew by 6.6% over June; and June grew by 17% over May. The market’s comparatively small at about US $93m - but it’s doing better than the UK if you bear in mind Finland’s small population.   These aren’t the stories you hear from the US and Canada; and I’m often asked why.   It’s not an easy answer.   The UK’s seen relaxation of some regulations, and has a strongly multiplatform market (with AM/FM listening at under 50%). Brand consolidation has been an important part of the industry, as has national broadcasting.   Australia’s regulation has historically been quite relaxed, too, but it isn’t particularly multiplatform. Brand consolidation has occurred here as well, with great swathes of radio stations losing their heritage callsigns in favour of more straightforward national branding.   Finland has rejected digital radio, so isn’t multiplatform to any great extent. Much of radio is national, though there are a good number of local stations too. There’s no particular story of brand consolidation either.   So - at first glance, there’s nothing in common particularly to these markets. Except, I think, there is. And it’s probably rather more simple than you’d think.   In the UK, commercial radio has an effective industry body, Radiocentre. They promote the medium to agencies, lobby government, and sing radio’s praises. They’re really very good at it.   In Australia, commercial radio, too, has an effective industry body. It’s called Commercial Radio Australia, and they, too, promote the medium to agencies, lobby government, and sing radio’s praises. They’re tenacious and efficient.   And in Finland, their industry body is Radio Media. They lobby government, promote the medium to agencies, and market radio as well: to great effect.   Unlike North America, these industry bodies only look after radio. They don’t represent television broadcasters as well. There’s no conflict of interest here. Their only concern is a healthy radio industry. And they do that one job very successfully.   And, unlike North America, there’s one organisation doing everything from advertising promotion to lobbying and research. One, simple, straightforward organisation, made up of a membership of commercial radio broadcasters.   Perhaps one of the ways for a successful, growing,...
9/16/20183 minutes, 1 second
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Talent plus brand = success?

Talent plus brand = success? So, Chris Evans, the current presenter of adult-contemporary BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show - the largest breakfast show in Europe, by cume - has announced that he’s leaving the station later this year.   He’s off to Virgin Radio, where he’s going to do the breakfast show.   Side note: it’s the same “Virgin Radio” brand, owned by Virgin Enterprises, but not the same station. The original Virgin Radio was bought (and sold) by Chris Evans himself, but after a few more ownership changes, it was rebranded as Absolute Radio. The Virgin Radio brand is now licensed to News UK, part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. Evans once described business discussions with Murdoch as “dealing with the devil”.   The current Virgin Radio is a station on DAB Digital Radio, and has no outlet on FM. It broadcasts - in mono - on a transmitter network that only currently covers 77% of households.   It’s a competitive market, too. It’s one of 44 national radio stations in the UK, and typically a radio listener will have a further fifteen or so local radio stations available too on their DAB set - and that’s before the obvious additional choices of Spotify and podcasts.   Virgin Radio has 413,000 weekly listeners (BBC Radio 2 has 14.9m).   So, why on earth would Evans make the leap?   It strikes me that there are a few questions here:   Is radio’s most important weapon the talent? Evans is a known presenter, and will pull in the audience: and this is why he’s been hired by News UK. Is music a differentiator any more? Stations can promote their music position as much as they like, but real music fans have Spotify for that, and the rest of us want music that’s okay alongside people we like listening to. Do talent these days want more creative freedom? Even during his time at the BBC, Chris Evans has wanted to shape his own destiny - running a passion project, a car festival, alongside his breakfast show (and then a relatively disastrous tenure at reheating Top Gear and TFI Friday). There is much more freedom with a commercial company than a public service broadcaster; and with the internet, much more opportunity still. Would Evans have leapt to work at a station called “The Badger” or “Hot 89”? I’d argue that the Virgin brand was fundamental - not just to attract new listeners, but to attract talent, too. News UK own a set of local FM radio stations across the UK (which, in total, are available to 6m listeners (and currently reach about 900,000 weekly). Would these be better served by rebroadcasting Virgin Radio, which recent rule changes would allow? News UK also own, of course, The Sun and The Times. There are some cross-promotion possibilities here. But how much money is News UK likely to want to invest?   This is real investment in radio - especially digital radio. I hope it works out for everyone concerned. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/10/20183 minutes, 43 seconds
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Naming your own radio station: what’s yours?

Naming your own radio station: what’s yours?   “If you could own a radio station, what would you call it?”, posted a man called Nick in a radio discussion board on Facebook the other day.   Now, this Facebook group is mostly comprised of people complaining about how words are being pronounced in radio news bulletins, or photographs of car registration plates that vaguely look like call letters, so this was a welcome change of pace. I grabbed some popcorn and started reading.   Quite a few imaginary station names ended with “FM”. Some used a frequency, too. I’d suggest that neither of these are a particularly good idea.   Jacobs Media have recently done a study of public radio listeners in the US, and one of the findings lept out at me as being a good indicator of the changing world of radio consumption.   They asked respondents how they listened to their “home” public radio station. 69% of the time, listeners used a radio. 29% of the time, they were using some form of digital device (a “computer stream” being twice as popular, incidentally, as a mobile app).   Now, these are public radio listeners. The average age of the respondents was over 59. These are long-term, traditional, radio listeners - albeit ones who are internet savvy enough to complete a questionnaire on their favourite radio station’s website. But even these people are spending nearly a third of their time listening to the radio on something other than an AM/FM receiver.   So, I’d warn against using a frequency, or “FM”, in your station name if you can avoid it; since more and more listeners aren’t using either of those things to listen.   Back in the Facebook group, other people were coming up with interesting names. “The Pit”. “The Local”. “Vault”. “Planet Mate”.   In a book The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, he discusses things he calls “affordances” - little clues to help us understand how something works. A really good example of an “affordance” is that metal strip on a office door: it’s put on the side of the door that you push, and it’s there precisely to let you know that you can push this door, and which side to push it.   “FM” or “105.9” is a little clue - an affordance - that this is a radio station. There’s a radio station in the UK called Jazz FM that hasn’t broadcast on FM since 2005; but people know, at least, that it’s a radio station (even if they’re confused as to why they can’t find it on their FM dial).   So, while I love the idea of calling a rock station “The Pit”: at least off-air, in its logo, it needs an affordance, too. I’d make the logo read “The Pit Radio”. Without it, after all, “The Pit” could be anything. The early days of digital radio in the UK were full of radio stations with random names - “The Groove” was one - that needed always clarifying with “we’re a radio station” afterwards, and that made no sense at all.   The world of smart speakers makes station names doubly important: since frequencies or wavebands are pointless on these devices.   It’s certainly the case that branding radio stations is more complicated now than it’s ever been. The word “Radio” might be the most important brand we have.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for
9/3/20183 minutes, 33 seconds
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Can a smart speaker replace a kitchen radio?

Can a smart speaker replace a kitchen radio?   Last week, a small fluffy bundle arrived in our house. We now have a small puppy - she’s lovely, thank you - and the effect to my radio listening has been interesting.   Next to the sofa was a jumble of wires - something to charge an iPad, some USB-C connectors to charge laptops and mobile phones, and a different USB connector to charge an ebook reader and, oh god, my doorbell, I have a wifi doorbell, it needs charging every so often, heaven help me, what has happened.   Anyway, you’re probably well ahead of me: but for some reason, wires and puppies seem to have a fatal attraction for one another, so after seeing at least one of those cables being chewed and ruined, the charging station is in the much less satisfactory location of the kitchen.   Like any normal household, we don’t have enough plug sockets. I could unplug the microwave, but that would be foolish, so instead, I unplugged the only other thing I could unplug: the radio. Yes, the radio is gone. And this receiver is the one I use most often (particularly now, given puppy’s little bladder means she gets us up at 5.45am).   In the radio’s place, in one of the six USB ports that I now have available, is a little Google Home mini speaker. It is this that I’m now having to use as a radio.   This has been interesting. Instead of the 60-odd stations available to me on DAB+ in Brisbane, I now have probably a hundred thousand to choose from; and many more podcasts, too.   My listening habits have changed - but probably not in the way you think.   I’m still listening to my local public radio station, ABC Radio Brisbane, given it’s got decent local news and I recognise the voices there. I ask “Hey, Google, listen to ABC Radio Brisbane” and it responds that it’s playing “Six hundred and twelve ABC Brisbane”, which ought to be “six-twelve ABC Brisbane”, except this branding was dropped 20 months ago. It works, though.   But I’m also listening much more to my local community music radio station, 4ZZZ. This station doesn’t broadcast on DAB+ here in Brisbane, and so I listened very rarely to it. Being on the level playing field of the internet, however, I’m remembering to ask for it rather more often. “Listen to 4-zee-zee-zee” is the strange incantation that I have to use: the station’s branding of “four-triple-zed” doesn’t work, of course.   I’m also listening to on-demand news (which, I might point out, can now include “Podnews podcasting news”, my daily news service, on both Google and Alexa speakers). But no, I’m not listening to any overseas radio. (Few people ever do, says the research).   There’s no doubt that smart speakers are being used more than ever to listen to the radio, and that’s good news for the industry. I’ve certainly discovered that it is a very viable replacement for a kitchen radio. But it’s been interesting how it’s changed my radio habits, too - rediscovering a radio station on an inconvenient waveband, and hearing a bit more on-demand content, too.   Checking how your station is presented on these speakers is probably a good idea. I’m not of the opinion that you need “a skill” necessarily; but you certainly need to ensure that the service works as you’d expect, and with the spoken brand you’re using on-air. Both a Google Home Mini and an Amazon Echo Dot are very cheap to buy, and you probably ought to. Support the show.This...
8/26/20182 minutes, 32 seconds
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Is object-based media in your future?

Is object-based media in your future? “Object-based media” sounds very techie. But as I stumbled across a BBC Research & Development web page last week highlighting where they've got with it, I am reminded how powerful the idea is (and how much it could play a part in the future of radio).   So, what is object-based media?   If you're recording a radio program, typically the only thing that you record is the output of the board - just a stereo recording of the stuff you've done. That's just fine; later, you'll take that recording and play it on the radio, and it'll sound okay.   But instead of just recording the output of the board, you could record a little more than that.   Imagine if you recorded the audio from every single channel on the board - and also record the position of every single fader on the board in real time.   With the right kit, that would enable you to recreate the entire program, if you wanted to. But because it's recorded every single thing that went into the program - every ‘object’ - it allows you to do much more.   You could make adjustments based on your audience's needs. You could remove music beds to make it easier to be heard; or you could take all the current music out and replace it with 80s songs (and still hear the presenter effortlessly talk to the vocals, including their fader pumping).   You could extract a good interview, without any music bed, for use in news bulletins or podcasts.   You could tweak and polish - correcting an over-eager fade there, or a correspondent who you cut slightly early here, or to fix the levels for an enthusiastic phone caller.   Or be rather more radical - you could much more easily telescope a three-hour program to fit a two-hour repeat.   Given the right additional information from a producer in the form of metadata, you could even make different lengths automatically. Perhaps automatically make a version that's as long as a listener wants it for their commute. Perhaps strip all the music out.   Object-based media is a brilliant idea: made by engineers who understand the radio production process. And it’s also just as applicable for TV as radio.   The BBC have explained what they’re doing over on this website - you should take a look.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/20/20182 minutes, 51 seconds
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iHeartRadio - the future of radio?

iHeartRadio - the future of radio? iHeartRadio has done something clever this week.   In the US, the iHeartRadio app contains a bunch of features - not just live radio streams, but podcasts, algorithmic radio stations and (if you pay for it) a music service much like Spotify.   A few weeks ago, it added a feature that brings it up to parity with Spotify - its own version of “Discover Weekly”, that feature that uncannily works out the kind of music you enjoy listening to and gives you more new stuff that you've otherwise not heard. This service is the main reason I stick with Spotify: so it's interesting seeing iHeartRadio adding its own.   Last week, it added something that even Spotify doesn’t have - intelligent segues. Up until now, every music service has essentially played a set of songs one after another, with great big gaps between them. Many bright young programmers were quite happy with this - because they hadn’t come from a world of radio, where you can do some lovely things with a proper segue. I’ve lost count of the amount of music services I’ve spoken to who have looked at me with a blank stare when I talked about what a segue was.   iHeartRadio appears to have fixed this, though - working with some outfit called Super Hi-Fi to produce proper, decent segues, whatever you’re playing on the service. And, yes, volume levelling too.   In the UK, the latest MIDAS survey from RAJAR, which came out very recently, shows that during the work day, about 17% of the UK listens to the radio, but about 12% are listening to on-demand music services (slide 17). That’s a considerable amount of listening to music services (in a country that doesn’t have Pandora or iHeartRadio, but does have Spotify and a number of other services). iHeartRadio’s strategy appears to be to invest in a product that competes with radio, and might one day take it over. That must have been quite a hard sell. But as they continue growing that product, it seems more sensible by the month. Up until now, radio’s main promotional tool has been to promote their music policies, to the exclusion of all else. But when you’ve online music services which are now capable of music discovery and even the subtle effect of a decent segue, now’s the time to focus, surely, on the other things that radio has to offer.   After all - why promote “the best music from the 80s, 90s and now” - when you could be promoting, instead, the thing that makes your product unique - the human beings.  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/13/20182 minutes, 46 seconds
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Some new advertising ideas are the pits

I’m six foot four, something that I’m acutely aware of in two situations: first, whenever I’m on an economy airline flight, and second, whenever I’m on a subway train in Asia.   Those useful straps from the ceiling - normally out of my way in the US and Europe, are all fighting to slap me in the face in subway trains in places like Japan, where the average height is 5’7” (171 cm) or Malaysia, where the average is 5’4” (164 cm). Those hand straps get a lot of use - just not by me.   Where I see discomfort, others see opportunity - and so it is that a new Japanese organisation called Wakino Ad Company has spotted that commuters holding on to hand straps is an...advertising opportunity.   Yes, the good folks at Wakino are hiring Japanese models with your ad in their armpits. This from a country where people have even rented out their thighs for advertising before now, so maybe it’ll catch on. The first advertiser is, it turns out, a laser hair removal company.   Radio’s ad model is, in the main, still based on 30-seconds of someone shouting at you, followed by five or six more people shouting at you, then a nice jingle and back to the music. We’ve typically been pretty bad at maintaining the price for these things, too, so the interruptions have grown longer and more often.   On visiting the United States in the mid 2000s, one broadcaster proudly told us that his station had 47 minutes of commercials every hour in the breakfast show. Yikes.   Re-thinking how the revenue model works is a challenge; but we need to keep thinking.   I’ve nothing particularly to base this on, but I have a feeling that the days of the six-minute-long advertising stopset, (and the banner ad, for that matter) are going away. We should be focusing both on increasing revenue AND on reducing the amount of spots sold. This isn’t just a rate integrity issue - it’s a programming issue, too.   African radio has done some clever re-thinking, as Steve Martin from the BBC told the Next Radio conference in 2013 - selling funeral announcements, hiring a village hall, and even moving all the commercials into one hour in the late afternoon (which astonishingly works).   I’d not recommend any of that - and certainly wouldn’t go for advertising in armpits - but any ideas for replacements for the long advertising stopsets would be welcome.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/4/20182 minutes, 56 seconds
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Podcast positivity

I spent last week at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia - a conference with 2,300 delegates, it dwarfs any radio conference I've been to.This was a well-run conference: running to time throughout, with ten different tracks that delegates could go to.Reflecting podcasting's diverse nature, some tracks were basic advice about how to promote your show, or what to do in your podcast intro. Other tracks were rather more commercial in nature, delving deep into cost-per-thousand, targeting and analytics.   Exhibitors offered everything, from microphones and mixers to hosting companies and guest-booking services. The conference hotel was packed, with a bar that was buzzing throughout. The thoughtful organisers had done a lot to encourage a diverse community spirit, even laying on childcare to those that needed it.It was also different for other reasons: it was wildly positive.Podcasting is still pretty small, even in the US. It's 4% of our total audio consumption, say Edison Research, and less than a fifth of the population listen to any podcast over the average week. Smart speakers are not being used for podcast listening to any degree. Google has only just woken up to podcasting. Revenue is small - the total US industry earnt just $314m last year.Radio, on the other hand? 58% of audio consumption (including satellite); 93% of the population listen every week; and smart speakers are having a significantly positive effect. Revenue? 43 times larger, at $13.8bn in the US last year.I bumped into a number of people who go to both conferences. All remarked how positive the podcasters were - and how negative the radio conferences are.   Is it the whiff of freshly-raised VC money? Is it that podcasters are younger than radio folk? Is it that they’re just more enthusiastic about the medium?   I believe there is plenty to be positive about for radio. In many countries it’s celebrating best-ever revenue, and best-ever audiences.   That’s why Matt Deegan and I run a radio conference every year - it’s called Next Radio, and it’s on 17th September this year in central London. You’ll enjoy over 25 positive speakers, with great ideas for radio and podcasting. You can buy tickets at   But in any case - when radio has far more audience, and far more revenue… why aren’t our conferences far more positive? Perhaps that’s something we can learn from podcasting.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/29/20182 minutes, 58 seconds
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Re-thinking and reinventing

Re-thinking and reinventing   Two stories last week made me think. First, this off-the-cuff tweet from a radio station in Scotland, having a day of “going retro” by… playing CDs. I shared this in a Facebook group, and it wasn’t long before the comments descended into Monty Python’s Yorkshiremen sketch. “Retro? I’ll give you retro,” said someone, before talking about cueing up 45s. “You had it easy,” said someone else, discussing editing on reel-to-reel. I remembered my first full-time radio gig, doing afternoon drive at The Pulse in Bradford. During a typical hour, I’d be playing a mixture of CDs and 45s; filling in full PRS returns, including record company and catalogue number. Each needed the levels setting and cueing to a suitable point. Every segue was, of course, live; selecting the right jingle or sweeper was up to me. I’d be running to the fax machine outside the studio, where the AA would send over barely-legible hieroglyphics about travel issues (“A58 WB of Keighley TTL expect delays”) and essentially blind-reading these on-air. The ads would be on individual carts which all needed fetching and putting away at the back of the studio; my news was at a clock-start at the top of the hour; without a producer I also needed to answer telephone calls and run contests myself. And somewhere in the midst of all this, I had to somehow work out something cogent to say. You can sometimes understand the viewpoint of the former presenters in the group - who mostly appear to be driving trains, it seems - that radio isn’t what it once was. It isn’t. When the music and the ad breaks are all available at the push of a NEXT button, you can concentrate on other things; and the output should be (and almost invariably is) better. The other piece of news was this piece of work by BBC News Labs, rethinking and prototyping online news story formats. It’s a good piece of work, informed by data. It suddenly struck me that much of the structure of radio hasn’t changed from the days of 45s and carts. We only got network news at the top of the hour twenty years ago, so that’s when we needed to take it. Many of us still break for news at the top of the hour, though, even if there’s no technical need for that any more (and plenty of evidence that news consumption is changing away from a “cram as much as you can” news bulletin). We’ve moved away from carts, but we’re still selling thirty-second ads, clumping advertising stopsets together, and shoving many of them to the back of the hour for some reason. (Try setting your alarm clock to 6.45am to discover how bad this sounds). There are plenty more thing we do in radio that haven’t changed in thirty years: a horrid old news jingle ‘because tradition’, using callsigns rather than a sensible brand, and the utter pointlessness of travel news. I love the idea of rethinking things. Much of the time, that process reveals that it’s always done that way for a reason; some of the time, it hits on something new. We should do more of it, don’t you think? Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/23/20183 minutes, 33 seconds
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At last - a chance for global podcasting measurement

At last - a chance for global podcasting measurement?   James Purnell, the ultimate boss of BBC Radio, blogged late last week that ‘we need an industry chart for UK podcasts’.   He’s understood that the iTunes chart isn’t a chart at all, which is gratifying: that it’s a trending list, “which is great for audiences but content creators and distributors want to know reach and value.”   He writes that there’s no industry standard for a podcast chart; but there is an official top 40 for music; a sales chart for books; and of course an established “chart” for live radio (called RAJAR in the UK).   A few weeks ago, in a German radio conference, I asked what the weekly penetration figure was for radio - already knowing the answer. They don’t have one. I know that 90% of adults listen to the radio every week in the UK; that 93% of adults listen every week in the US; but Germany doesn’t have a similar figure, since they’ve never worked out radio audiences on a weekly basis. (86% listen to the radio on a daily basis in Bavaria, Germany, by the way).   Dig a little deeper, and there’s a myriad of differences between every country’s radio audience figures. Some use electronic pagers, some use websites, some use paper diaries; some are based on calling people at home; some revolve around knocking on doors. Some countries use more than one method.   In the UK, most radio stations are measured across their own unique transmission area. In Australia, there are distinct survey measurement areas (which your radio station’s own transmissions may only partially cover, or wildly exceed).   Ireland’s public numbers are based on “listened yesterday”, smoothed over a year’s worth of survey data. The UK is mostly driven by overall reach, a figure that the US calls cume. AQH is a standard currency in the US, but unheard of in most parts of Europe. Australia mainly uses share.   Norway measures radio in the same way as TV, but in most other countries, the two broadcast media are measured quite differently. The UK has an “other” column to indicate listening to radio stations who aren’t in the survey; Australia pretends they don’t exist. Some countries measure radio from 6am to midnight; others measure full 24-hours; others still measure 7am to 7pm.   I mention all of this because - yes - we need a proper chart for podcasting, and I’m delighted that the BBC is interested. It has, until now, refused to release its own podcast figures, claiming they’re “for the purposes of journalism, art or literature”.   However, podcasting is, by its very nature, global. We don’t need individual pieces of analysis for individual countries, working under different rules and different definitions. We need one standard way of measuring podcasts - wherever you are.   The IAB in the US have a standard methodology for measuring podcast downloads, which many podcast hosts are compliant with. That, at least, measures download figures in a consistent way; and podcasters moving from, say, Spreaker to Megaphone, will notice that the download statistics they’re given are roughly similar. That’s really helpful. We don’t need a new standard for that.   For actual consumption, NPR is working on RAD, an overly-complex measurement system designed to measure ads. It requires podcasters, hosts and app developers to all change their workflows to...
7/15/20183 minutes, 49 seconds
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Multiplatform radio lessons from Germany

I was in the sunny German city of Nuremberg last week, as the guest of the lokalrundfunktage. The state media regulator for Bavaria helps run a big, impressive conference with a surprising amount of people there.   The most impressive thing to me was that I was speaking at 1.30pm, and everyone turned up at 1.25pm. As you might know from conferences, the concept of people being early is… well, it just doesn’t happen. Except in Germany, it appears.   Earlier in the day, research company Kantar TNS revealed some data for Bavarian radio listening, and it’s interesting to take a peek at it, since it reveals some interesting trends.   It says that 15% of people use DAB in Bavaria in a typical week - that’s up by over a quarter year on year, and for the first time, DAB is more popular than internet listening, at least in terms of total reach.   That’s quite a change for Germany. DAB had a bit of a poor launch in the country, where they originally used a different set of frequencies, L Band, to the rest of the DAB countries at the time. Some receivers coped with L Band - most didn’t. And because L Band was a higher frequency that was worse at penetrating buildings and, you know, trees, and things - it resulted in pretty awful coverage. So, as a result, DAB didn’t really catch on. They’ve fixed all that now, and you can see the results.   DAB is up… radio through internet, cable and satellite is relatively static… but FM use has decreased: down by almost 5% year-on-year. It seems to me that if DAB didn’t exist, the German radio industry would be in a rather bad place.   The figures also show the average age per radio platform - an interesting set of figures I’ve not seen reported before. The average age of FM is 49. DAB is almost identical, at 48. Internet radio is a whole ten years younger - which, as you might guess, means that listening over satellite or cable is rather older. As ever, this points to being on the right platform for your audience. Satellite or cable attracts the older folk; internet attracts younger ones. Common sense, you might think - but with limited budgets, worth considering.   What’s certainly clear from these figures is that radio is continuing on its trajectory to be multi-platform. Less than half of the UK’s listening is to FM/AM radio; Germany’s not there yet - not that these figures are entirely comparable - but certainly well on the way.   As if to underline the multiplatform nature of these figures, I was interviewed after my keynote speech on a local student radio station, then on camera for Facebook, and then for a podcast.   While the Germans may have been astonishingly punctual for my keynote, my train back to Munich was delayed by 40 minutes. Well. Nobody’s perfect.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/9/20183 minutes, 1 second
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Why you’re wrong to pull out of TuneIn

Last week, US broadcaster Entercom decided to pull its streams off TuneIn, the radio aggregator. From now on, the stations will only be available on Entercom’s own radio streaming website,; and the smartphone app.   David Field, the company’s CEO, said “We are committed to making a leader in the digital audio space”. Seemingly, this is the way he’s going to achieve it.   I’ve said before that we should lessen our reliance on TuneIn. The radio industry doesn’t own it, after all: and, by and large, they don’t particularly care about us. However, I’ve never advocated pulling your stations off TuneIn - because that’s the wrong thing to do.   Pulling your stations off TuneIn isn’t financially clever. The bulk of radio station revenue comes from radio listening, not from internet activities. If you can increase your total listening hours by 10%, then, roughly speaking, you increase your revenue by 10% as well.   PwC published a piece recently showing their predictions for the growth of radio in the Australian market. There’s plenty of growth in internet - but even by 2022, the company reckons that internet activities will be just 17% of total radio income.   Put simply, the best financial strategy for your radio station is to get more people listening - to make your radio station available in as many places as possible. That’s where the money is, and that’s where your focus should be.   Pulling your stations off TuneIn isn’t clever for your listeners, too.   TuneIn is the default radio provider on many smart speakers and connected televisions. Sure, you can build your own apps for those, too: but that’s expensive and is a sure-fire way of losing focus. It’s unlikely that your own teams are going to be talking to as many hardware companies and car manufacturers as TuneIn are. It’s really hard to be all things to all people.   When your stations are removed from TuneIn, what will your listeners do? Sure, some of them will go and download your own app; but many of them won’t - and will find a new station to listen to. I hate to break it to you, but there are many more stations playing “your easy favourites from the 80s, 90s and now”, you’ve not really got the monopoly on that.   Forcing your listeners to abandon an app they’ve chosen (presumably for a reason) is certainly a brave test of brand loyalty.   Moreover, forcing listeners to choose a provably worse app is a questionable choice. TuneIn on the Apple Store has a rating of 4.6; the app has a rating of just 2.7. On Android,’s app has an average review of 3.5, while TuneIn’s app has an average review of 4.4. Why would you force me to choose second-best?   The strategy for radio apps is, I’d suggest, relatively clear.   Make your stream available on every single possible device, and in every single possible app. Your radio station is the most monetisable asset you own. Appearance here is valuable for station trial, and essentially free marketing.   But then use your own data, programming and intelligence to make your own app the best listener experience. A feast for the eyes as well as the ears - better artwork, talent photos and connections, higher quality streams; perhaps skippable segments, personalised advertising, unique content and fewer ads.   Be everywhere. But instead of bullying your audience,...
6/30/20184 minutes, 6 seconds
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Google Podcasts: friend or foe to radio?

Google Podcasts - friend or foe to radio? The radio industry has been slowly incorporating podcasting into its mix: both as a useful way of promoting some of our key talent, and increasingly as a way to get closer to clients by producing branded podcasts for them. Increasingly, sales teams are representing podcast networks as well as radio stations.   Last week, we were handed a gift from Google: as the search giant finally got into podcasting in a big way. They finally launched their podcasting app - Google Podcasts; and it’s already installed in hundreds of millions of Android phones.   This is important because Android represente over 80% of the global market in smartphones; and even in strong Apple countries like the US and Australia, Android still has around a 50% share.   Even now, 74% of Americans don’t listen to podcasts; so proper, inbuilt Android support is a significant doorway to making podcasting a mass media: something that has been eluding the industry for a while.   Part of the issue with podcasting has been that podcasters have had one simple place to link-to for Apple Podcasts. That’s guaranteed to work on any Apple iPhone or iPod Touch; because the Apple Podcasts app has been pre-installed for many years.   Now, we’ve the equivalent for Android phones: a link to play a podcast on Google Podcasts will, on an Android phone, just work. The podcast app is part of the Google Search app, which is installed on every new Android phone.   Additionally, Google have added a few Google smarts. First, the app itself - you can install an icon for it from the Google Play Store - has recommendations in it, as you’d expect; but they’re based on your listening. I listened to one episode of Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show from a radio station in Melbourne, and it recommended other podcasts I might enjoy (including Ricky Gervais’s show from SiriusXM). It also recommended more podcasts from the MouthMedia Network, a podcast publisher I’ve also listened to.   Probably the most interesting step is that a Google websearch now highlights podcasts, with a little ‘play’ button. That allows frictionless listening directly from a search result: so if you search for anything you’re interested in, you might get audio as well as a web page.   All this leads to the inevitable question: is a significant addition to the podcast landscape like this going to erode radio listening?   Or is it a great opportunity - allowing on-demand radio, in the form of podcasting, to reach many more people?   In any case, if you need it, I’ve written an FAQ about Google Podcasts, and what your station should do next, over on my podcasting newsletter website, Podnews. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/24/20183 minutes, 23 seconds
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The next step for personalised radio

TRANSCRIPT:   Jamie Dupree is a radio reporter with Cox Media Group in the US, for WSB: and two years ago he lost his voice.   As a story on the BBC will tell you… he’s got it back. Kind of. A company based in Scotland has sampled his voice from a set of recordings: and he’s now back filing full reports for the company with the aid of voice synthesis.   The technology isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s certainly well on the way; and that’s - of course - interesting to radio.   If consistency is one thing that makes radio work - and most radio programmers agree - then it’s an obvious next step to have not just consistent music but consistent radio presenters. Indeed: the same radio presenters, twenty-four hours a day.   There are, already, radio stations like this. I wrote about the excellent, tight-sounding Carolina Classic Hits a while ago, which has the same radio presenter on-air twenty-four hours a day. The station sounds great, with crunch-and-roll links and an almost relentless up-tempo sound: and Rick Freeman has been on the air every hour of every day since 2012, thanks to a bank of well over 5,000 voicetracks.   But recording voice-tracks only gets you so far. What if you could go a little further. If voicetracked weeks in advance, your favourite radio personality can’t talk about yesterday’s World Cup game. But with this type of technology he can.   Indeed, this could even make famous radio presenters come back from the grave. (Indeed, this has already been done: Bob Monkhouse, a UK comedian, famously did a TV ad for prostate cancer awareness, four years after he died of the disease).   A number of years ago, I saw a presentation by a German radio company, who’d added a personalised clock alarm to their radio app. You’d wake up in the morning to hear the breakfast radio presenters say “Good morning James!” - clever, but it turns out that you only need record a hundred first names to cover the vast majority of your audience.   With voice synthesis, personalised radio could be something else.   “Now, here’s a great new song from Taylor Swift: and you’ve ten minutes, James, before you need to leave for work, so crank this song up while you get ready!”   “Should be a warm day today, but maybe some rain this afternoon. In your task list it says you need to visit the dry-cleaner, so maybe you want to do that this morning?”   The opportunities are endless.   And for television? Well, the technology to produce fake videos - perhaps to make Barack Obama say something he didn’t really say - is already out there - and getting much more realistic.   The preceding column was written by a human being. At least, this week it was.  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/17/20183 minutes, 8 seconds
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Learning from NPR

Transcript:   Learning radio’s future from NPR   NPR’s audience is up.   “The average weekly broadcast audiences of the top 20 NPR member stations continue to grow — from 8.7 million in 2015 to 11.2 million last year”, says an article in NiemanLab. They’re on record highs in terms of total audience.   NPR’s mobile apps are growing in use, too; and paid station membership - part of NPR’s funding - is also increasing, as is revenue overall.   Broadcast radio listening by 25-44 year-olds to NPR programming increased by 26% in 2016 (the company didn’t split ages out in their 2017 release). That’s a significant growth; but it’s also listeners who don’t typically listen to talk radio of NPR’s type.   So what’s making younger audiences listen to NPR?   Obviously, the news is one thing. That’s a large part of NPR’s output in any given week; and there’s certainly evidence that all news media has seen an uplift since the election of President Donald Trump. Whatever you might think of his politics, he’s certainly been newsworthy.   Another thing, though, is NPR’s distribution strategy. Their programming is, literally, everywhere. From podcasting to smart speakers, NPR is almost omnipresent on a connected device.   Podcasts are an obvious part of NPR’s strategy. They’re easily the world’s largest podcaster. Some programs make it directly onto podcast, while there’s a digital-first strategy for some programming - not least ‘Up First’, NPR’s daily podcast, which according to Podtrac is the third most-popular podcast in the US.   A second is their use of smart speakers. Amplifi Media report that between November 2017 and March 2018, NPR member-station streaming from Amazon Echo more than quadrupled; and Amazon and Google smart speakers account for over 16% of weekly total listening hours for NPR member station streams.   Their NPR One app is another important part. A personalised, skippable news radio stream, it delivers a different form of ‘radio’ which is much more suited to an interactive device like a mobile phone. It will, undoubtedly, gain them different listeners than a linear stream.   Back in the mid 2000s, when I was running Virgin Radio’s digital strategy, 20% of our superfans told us that they’d first heard the radio station online; and then found us on additional platforms, too - like broadcast radio. Digital undoubtedly added to the station’s audience figures.   NPR’s success seems to back that up. Be available on as many platforms as you can: and uniquely tailor your product for each of them if you’re able. If fusty old public radio can manage it…. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/10/20183 minutes, 5 seconds
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Are we heading for an all-IP media future?

Article is here: by Ignite Jingles  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/3/20184 minutes, 24 seconds
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What is a radio, anyway?

    What is a radio, anyway? [CLIP of Google] Last World Emoji Day, the UK industry group Radiocentre tweeted that their favourite emjoi ought to be the one of the radio, but radios don't look like that any more - they look like phones, tablets, cars or televisions, so they don't really have a favourite emoji after all. It’s a succinctly made point; and highlights a failing in the English language — radio means, of course, three different things — a receiver, a technology, and a type of audio programming. Radio is now on a variety of different platforms. Broadcast technology, like FM or DAB+; live streaming via IP; and on-demand too, in the form of podcasting and other things. Most, if not all, radio research reflects this. The apparent unsophistication of a paper diary or a web form is actually quite a useful way of understanding how people listen: since it works with every form of radio, not just something delivered on a speaker. Fewer people are buying radio receivers than ever before. Yet, in most markets, more people are listening to radio than ever before — because radio is not a platform, it’s a thing. I define it as “audio with a shared experience and a human connection”. Alexa, however, defines it as this. [CLIP] If we have trouble with defining a “radio”, what about a “smart speaker”, I wonder? In Q1 2018, the Amazon Echo sold 2.5m devices worldwide; but Google Home sold 3.2m devices in the same time period. It’s the first time that Google has out-sold Amazon for smart speakers. But that doesn’t tell the whole story, though: Google’s voice assistant works with over 5,000 devices. My JBL Link speaker that is on my deck has Google Assistant built-in; but it isn’t a Google Home. Where does it fit in the figures? The GPS I use in the car has Google Assistant built-in (very good for sending text messages). The Bose headphones that I take travelling, or the smaller bud headphones I wear on the bus, both have Google Assistant on them as well — I walked over the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane the other day, asking Google about my diary for tomorrow. And of course, my mobile phone has Google Assistant in it, too. If it’s on the table, seemingly switched off, I can still turn it into a radio.[CLIP]. So, you can compare sales of Amazon Echo vs Google Home if you like; but that misses great swathes of the smart speaker ecosystem. And you can define radio as a speaker in a box that picks up FM if you like; but that, too, misses much of what your audience already calls radio. Your challenge is to ensure that your radio output sounds great — whatever ‘radio’ it is playing on.  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/27/20183 minutes, 11 seconds
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Measuring your best customers

There's a full transcript of this at I'm at Music by Ignite JinglesSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/21/20184 minutes, 12 seconds
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A look at a new London radio station

I'm at Music by Ignite Jingles Transcript: A look at a new London radio station   I talk a lot about making the most of your radio station’s content.   The tyranny of the transmitter - something that needs feeding 24 hours a day - means that historically we’re not that good, as an industry, making sure that we capture and re-use our content in other ways.   Much of what we do in radio is informed by our history and tradition, rather than what’s right for today’s program-making. Live radio is one of those things - in the 1920s and 1930s, it was the only way to make great radio. These days, far too much of radio is lazy live content rather than well-polished audio.   So it’s fun, then, to take a peek at new radio stations. They have the opportunity to get things right from the get-go, rather than have to reinvent things later on. Change is hard.   Love Sport is a radio station in London, which focuses on sports talk. It’s on AM and DAB in London, and everywhere from Radioplayer, TuneIn and the Amazon Alexa. They’ve worked hard to make sure that they’re available where the audience is.   One look at the website, at, shows that this station doesn’t just focus on live radio. The “Listen live” and “on demand” buttons are the same size, in the same place. It doesn’t matter how you listen, as long as you do. And, by the looks of it, every single show is available on-demand.   They use clips of what they’ve broadcast on Facebook - a social medium which does rather better than Twitter for short pieces of audio, since it is less “of the moment” and rather better at surfacing posts from the last few days.   One of the more interesting sections of the station is evenings and weekends: and it’s here that Love Sport benefits from being in a city with eleven professional league football teams. The station broadcasts fan podcasts from each club.   Last week, the station announced that it had made those podcasts available on smart speakers, in a partnership with XAPPmedia. It’s another clever way for the station to associate itself with sports fans; and, while smart speaker consumption is still relatively low, it’s a good time to get into these services.   Finally, and for noting, the station is known as “Love Sport” on-air, but “Love Sport Radio” off-air (in logos and online). In the new multiplatform radio world, many brands mistakenly try to drop the word “Radio” - rather than help redefine it. This station hasn’t made that mistake.   It’s tempting, when you launch a new station, to do radio the way it’s always been done.   But better, and braver, to design your programming and distribution strategy based on radio in the late 2010s, rather than the early 1980s. Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/13/20182 minutes, 51 seconds
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Rajar's MIDAS touch

Music in this episode from Ignite Jingles. Typing sound effects in this episode by Sally Walker. I'm at Podcasting news is at or wherever you got this podcast.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/6/20183 minutes, 59 seconds
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Digital radio's tight targeting

Music by Ignite Jingles. Bad editing by me.Hear this on the Radio Today UK podcast, and, um, here on this podcast app.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/28/20183 minutes, 1 second
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Will podcasts eat radio?

I'm at Music is from Ignite Jingles  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/22/20184 minutes, 19 seconds
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Editing and polishing live radio

Some people agree, or not, with my thoughts that live radio isn't always best. Thanks to Tommy and to Peter for their voices. Thanks, too, to Ignite Jingles for the music. And to you for listening. And especially to you for visiting to get my weekly newsletter.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/16/20184 minutes, 48 seconds
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Radio station swag

What works? What doesn't? And can I avoid mentioning Viking FM's "Erik the viking" knickers by name? Music from Ignite Jingles. I'm at https://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/9/20183 minutes, 43 seconds
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Live radio is lazy radio

No, really. is where I live. Ignite Jingles made the intro. is worth subscribing to. Auphonic made this sound (even) nicer.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/2/20183 minutes, 17 seconds
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Is radio dead? This futurist thinks so

I'm a radio futurologist, not a futurist, of course.My website: https://james.crid.landMusic by Ignite JinglesSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/25/20183 minutes, 39 seconds
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The great Norwegian experiment - switching off FM

Live, from Vienna Austria...My weekly newsletter is at https://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/18/20183 minutes, 46 seconds
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Digital-first radio

Music is by Ignite Jingles, while I live at https://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/11/20182 minutes, 47 seconds
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We can learn lots from European radio

Music in this episode is from Ignite Jingles (my introduction) and stolen without any permission at all from Reelworld (the other two loud boom-bang-a-bang jingles). My weekly newsletter - - and my daily podcast news website - https://podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/7/20184 minutes, 6 seconds
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Is your website HTTPS? And should you care?

I'm at Podcasting news is at Nice music like this is from Ignite JinglesSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/26/20183 minutes, 47 seconds
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AM: death by a thousand transmitters

Music: Ignite Jingles I'm at https://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/22/20184 minutes, 11 seconds
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The UK: almost ready to switch off FM?

Music from Ignite Jingle Voice columnists's own Newsletter: Podcasting news: https://podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/11/20184 minutes, 6 seconds
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Broadcast radio - are data-driven ads the future?

Music by Ignite Jingles. Hair by the podcast host. My weekly newsletter: Daily podcast news: https://podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/4/20183 minutes, 19 seconds
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Young people don't listen to the radio

It's true, young people don't listen to the radio, a man in the bar told me. Links: is by Ignite Jingles Weekly newsletter here: https://james.crid.landDaily podcast news here: https://podnews.netThis episode was edited on REAPER which is a rather good editing thing. It was uploaded at -19.4 LUFS which is a bit quiet. Sorry.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/28/20183 minutes, 59 seconds
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Should radio take podcasting more seriously?

Music is from Ignite Jingles.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/23/20182 minutes, 53 seconds
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How are we listening to audio in 2018?

Weekly radio trends newsletter: Daily podcast news: Music used in this episode: Ignite Jingles Flavour noodles ate just before recording this: Katsu currySupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/15/20183 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Brits are turning off AM - SHOULD WE PANIC????!!!1

My website - My podnews website - Music in this episode is from Ignite Jingles  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/9/20183 minutes, 14 seconds
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Australian radio’s christmas-time sabotage

I have no idea what Aussie radio is doing, but it works anyway. Weekly newsletter: Daily podcast news:  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/21/20174 minutes, 10 seconds
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FM licences will be worth less - but it doesn't matter

My weekly radio trends newsletter is at Daily podcast news at Music is from Ignite Jingles It's a Rode Podcaster that I use for this.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/14/20174 minutes, 20 seconds
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Presenters and blogs - make it stop

My weekly radio newsletter has a new home at My daily podnews newsletter doesn't. It's at Music for this week's episode is by Ignite Jingles.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/10/20173 minutes, 1 second
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Smart speakers for smart listeners

Music in this episode is from Ignite Jingles. My weekly newsletter is at My daily podcasting newsletter is at My favourite beer is IPA.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/28/20173 minutes
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Is it time for radio to tune out of TuneIn?

My weekly newsletter is at Daily podcast news at Music for this episode is by Ignite Jingles.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/21/20174 minutes, 51 seconds
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Why UK radio is doing so well

Music is by Ignite Jingles. My weekly newsletter is at Your free daily podcast news briefing is at https://podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/16/20173 minutes, 30 seconds
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What to put in your top-of-hour ident to make people listen longer

In which I pretend to be an authoritative voiceover. Music by Ignite Jingles is where I liveSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/5/20174 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Main Studio Rule - US radio’s biggest opportunity in years

Where I talk about local radio for local people - and how the FCC's abolition of an outdated rule is the best news for radio you've ever, ever, ever had. Music: by Ignite Jingles Get my weekly newsletter at  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/31/20174 minutes, 25 seconds
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A visit to Q Radio in Belfast

You can get my weekly newsletter at james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/5/20173 minutes, 26 seconds
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The UK’s slow road to AM/FM switchoff

You can get my weekly newsletter at and daily podcast news at podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
10/1/20175 minutes, 2 seconds
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OzPod 2017- the state of podcasting in September 2017

From the ABC Australian Podcasting Conference on 8th September, here's an extra: my speech, covering everything that's going on with podcast consumption. Find it with pictures at the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/10/201725 minutes, 19 seconds
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The thing most radio station websites forget

There is a thing that you'd be surprised is left off most websites. Allow me to tell you what. is mine; is also mine but kind of different.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/5/20173 minutes, 36 seconds
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Shopping with the radio

Coles Radio is pretty clever. So is - my own website - and for daily podcasting news.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
9/3/20172 minutes, 31 seconds
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Radio should go where the speakers are

A theory. Prove me wrong at [email protected] - or get my newsletter, http://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/15/20175 minutes
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Saying thank you

I rather like Tony Blackburn's politeness on Twitter. As should you!Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/8/20173 minutes
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Social media goes massive for Slovenian radio hosts

A clever thing from Slovenia's Hitradio Center.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
8/8/20173 minutes, 7 seconds
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Is zero-rated data good news for radio?

My weekly newsletter is james.crid.landMy daily podcast news website is podnews.netMy favourite colour is green.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/13/20173 minutes, 38 seconds
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Lazy Buggles Headlines

Daily podcast and on-demand news is at podnews.netMy weekly newsletter? That's at james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
7/8/20172 minutes, 35 seconds
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Smart ads aren't so smart - so when will we fix streaming?

In which I watch some telly and see the same ad six times. My weekly newsletter is at - and daily podcasting and on-demand news is at  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/28/20174 minutes, 41 seconds
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Radio engineers need to talk too!

I go to the Technorama conference in Campbelltown NSW, and learn things. My weekly radio trends newsletter: My daily podcast and on-demand news service:  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/22/20172 minutes, 46 seconds
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Radio and young people - is it an on-demand future?

I have a radio newsletter at and also do daily podcast news at podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/15/20173 minutes, 49 seconds
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Learning from China

Asia's capacity for change is enormous - is that helping their radio industry? You can get my weekly radio newsletter at and daily podcast news at podnews.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
6/6/20172 minutes, 34 seconds
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Get your tech right for an emergency

After the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester this week, I look at some things you might want to consider to help you prepare for next time. My weekly newsletter is at  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/23/20173 minutes, 55 seconds
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Lessons on radio's future from 1941

Pic from Scientific American's archives.My newsletter is at    Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
5/21/20174 minutes, 2 seconds
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Simple radio marketing that works

I noticed one station in particular on a recent long drive. My newsletter is jolly good. It's at if you want it. Or, frankly, even if you don't.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/19/20173 minutes, 19 seconds
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Where is the best radio in the world?

In this episode I annoy lots of people, particularly the entire non-English speaking world. Sorry about that. You can get my newsletter at james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/18/20174 minutes, 23 seconds
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Is Beats 1 really “the biggest radio station in the world”?

Is it really the biggest station in the world? That's what they claim - so do any numbers point to that being even vaguely true? Or is it another Apple reality distortion field? (Damn, I wish I'd have used that phrase in here. Still, too late, it's recorded.)My newsletter is very good and you should get it. Go on. james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/2/20176 minutes, 15 seconds
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What's the point of a radio conference?

I go to Radiodays Europe, and wonder why more people don't go too. My newsletter is at james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
4/2/20172 minutes, 55 seconds
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I listened to lots of podcasts and this is what I learnt

A great article from NPR here: A great newsletter here:  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/14/20173 minutes, 57 seconds
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What Volkswagen can teach us about radio’s future

This was recorded on a Google Pixel, using the Bees Recorder. You'll probably notice some strange audio artifacts in this, and I'm not quite sure where they've come from. It's also distorting a little. You can get my weekly newsletter at http://james.cridland.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
3/8/20173 minutes, 13 seconds
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Getting out of the studio with a USB microphone

I take the Shure MV51 USB microphone for a test drive. Quite literally: it's what I used to record this. (No processing was applied). In Australia, Shure is distributed by who sent me this for review. My weekly newsletter is at and you should get it.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/26/20172 minutes, 33 seconds
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The state of podcasting today - from the award organisers

I spoke to the Cast Away Awards for podcasting in Australia: and the British Podcast Awards: Music is from the excellent Ignite Jingles - My website for my newsletter is You can support this podcast at the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/14/20172 minutes, 47 seconds
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Making the most of your content - the Super Bowl edition

In this podcast, I talk about a sport I don't understand. You can get my weekly newsletter at - please do, it's ace.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
2/8/20173 minutes, 3 seconds
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Hacking radio stations - the new normal ##EXPLICIT LANGUAGE##

"The following podcast contains explicit language" (if we're being exact, five F-words in relatively quick succession. Brace yourself!)You can get my normally non-sweary newsletter at Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/31/20173 minutes, 15 seconds
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Did the iPhone really destroy radio?

I look back at the iPhone's destruction of the radio industry, ten years after it launched. My weekly newsletter is at and if you want a daily media news email, that's at The image is of Tokyo FM's iPhone app, the first radio station streaming app in Japan, taken in 2010. I bet you're not really interested.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/24/20173 minutes, 54 seconds
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Is it all over for live overnight radio?

BBC Radio 2 budget: BBC Press announcement: BBC Radio 2 audience figures: BBC Radio 2's playout system problems: You can get my weekly newsletter at http://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/15/20174 minutes
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Norway switches off FM. Why don't they just stream everything?

Norway has started switching off (almost) every FM transmitter, replacing it with DAB+. But why aren't they just streaming everything? I do some tedious maths. And here's the maths written down, because, heavens, this was a difficult podcast to make even approachably interesting.   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 tower, being received on an antenna. But why bother with broadcast radio, people are asking, when streaming is all we need? Let’s do the maths. In many countries, you rent your FM (or DAB) broadcast equipment from a transmission provider, who deal with maintenance and the electricity bills. A station I picked at random in the UK spends US$6,000 a month on their FM transmission to cover 2,500,000 adults. It has a market share of 5%, and at their peak time, 43,000 listeners are tuned-in. Now, with FM (and DAB), it doesn’t matter how many people are tuned in: it makes no difference to the cost of the transmitter. But with internet streaming, you pay for enough capacity to cope (servers and bandwidth). Now, 43,000 is a LOT of concurrent listeners for internet streaming. Most stations won’t be doing anywhere near that - I know of a few running about 15,000 peak concurrent listeners, though most are in the hundreds. But, I spoke to an internet streaming company which specializes in radio streaming for large companies. Their rough costs are $55 per month for 100 concurrent streams - a maximum of 100 listeners at the same time. To turn off FM and have to stream a station to 43,000 listeners at peak would cost $23,650 a month: internet is four times more expensive than an FM transmitter. The station has 11m total listening hours a month, by the way, if you want to go and do some other rough costs. In bandwidth costs alone, one CDN I checked would charge $65,000 a month for the 343TB a month your audience would use. So the proper radio streamers I spoke to earlier have a good deal. There’s then the cost to the consumer. That station is listened-to for 32 hours a month by each listener, which is about 1GB of data per month. That isn’t entirely free. There’s the reliability of a data signal for live streaming, too; and streaming uses seven times more battery than listening to FM on the same device. And music rights. And so it goes on. In Bodø, the capital of Nordland, the county in Norway where they’re first to switch, a typical FM listener might get ten radio stations. When they turn on their DAB+ radio, they’ll find 30 stations there: a significant increase in choice. Perhaps that explains the global trends. Live internet streaming for radio is growing very slowly: far slower than DAB take-up in most countries, including Norway. So, even when people are being forced to change their radio sets, they don’t start using streaming: they stick to broadcast. And why wouldn’t they? It’s free, reliable, and it works. Internet broadcasting is great. It’s definitely part of radio’s future. But it isn’t - can’t be - a replacement for broadcast. Not yet, anyway.    Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/8/20175 minutes, 26 seconds
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The great radio switchoff

Broadcasting on AM? You might want to think about your future strategy. Sorry. Music for this episode from Lee Rosevere. I have a newsletter which is very good and now reaches over 2,500 people. Subscribe at So, then. Happy New Year and all.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
1/3/20173 minutes, 11 seconds
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Why radio matters

Here's why radio matters - and why I hope your local station was live, not voicetracked, on Christmas morning. Audio is from Luke Grant on 2GB and 4BC, via radiorewind.comSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/24/20162 minutes, 23 seconds
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The radio station in a pub, and other company-run stations

Lee Rosevere does the music for this, while I write a very good weekly newsletter which you should get, from https://james.cridland.netSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/19/20162 minutes, 22 seconds
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Barking mad - radio for dogs

BBC Radio London's Barking Hour lives here on Thursdays: Pedigree K9FM showreel at You can get my weekly newsletter at and daily media news at the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/12/20163 minutes, 36 seconds
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Making digital-first radio

Here's Michael Mason's memo in full: Music from Leo Rosevere's Music For Podcasts. Podcast clip from All In The Mind: You can get my weeekly newsletter, go on, treat yourself, at http://james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/6/20162 minutes, 59 seconds
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Boom 97.3's Christmasizer 2000 - a podcast extra!

Try it out at - it's fun! For about ten seconds. But still, fun. Music: Leo Rosevere's Music For Podcasts 3. I found another album of his. Also: get my newsletter, at james.crid.landSupport the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
12/4/20161 minute, 51 seconds
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NPR One - the future of connected radio?

Is NPR One the future of connected radio? I think so. It uses atomisation and Lego-bricking to produce a great, personalised, listen. In this podcast I'll explain those nonsense terms.Music by Leo Rosevere. I run a free newsletter at which you should get. Also, get daily media news at which is also very good.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/29/20163 minutes, 18 seconds
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Radio in cars - popular everywhere

Clip of Michael Hill from of Tony Kendall is from is by Leo RosevereFor even more figures, read You can get my weekly newsletter at  Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/21/20162 minutes, 31 seconds
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The lazy antique radio photo - and what we need to do to eradicate it

In this podcast, I get a bit irritated at websites and newspapers using lazy antique radio photos, and propose something to fix it. Music credit: Leo Rosevere, Music for Podcasts, track 1. You can get my weekly newsletter at Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/15/20162 minutes, 33 seconds
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Malaysia: where radio is even more popular

You can get my weekly newsletter at or get daily media news at the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/14/20162 minutes, 49 seconds
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The one-man radio station with 35,000 listeners

You can get my weekly newsletter at - and sign up to daily media news at the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/14/20165 minutes, 21 seconds
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The radio station with no studios

I went to Vista Radio in Canada, and learnt about their strategy for making their stations more involved with the community.Support the show.This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 -
11/9/20163 minutes, 4 seconds