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Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Where is the best-sounding radio in the world?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

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

17 April 2017

Radio is rubbish at marketing itself - except for this station

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’m fascinated by marketing for radio stations.

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

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

08 April 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

02 April 2017

What’s the point of a radio conference?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

26 March 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

19 March 2017

What Volkswagen can teach us about radio’s future

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

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

12 March 2017

Get out of the studio with a USB microphone

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

05 March 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

26 February 2017

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

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

A small box, professionally fitted behind the...

20 February 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

19 February 2017

Making your radio content go further

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

12 February 2017

The great AM radio switchoff

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

The national broadcasters in France and Germany...

05 February 2017

4BC was hacked. Your station could be next

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

Four large radio stations in Australia were...

31 January 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

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

29 January 2017

Is the sun going down on live overnight radio?

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

BBC Radio 2 is a station that confounds radio consultants.

It has an annual programming budget of US $53m

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

22 January 2017

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

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

10 January 2017

Barking mad - radio for dogs

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

However, The Barking Hour on BBC Radio...

18 December 2016

Making “digital-first” radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

11 December 2016

NPR One - making news radio better

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

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

04 December 2016

Radio in the car - popular everywhere

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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

27 November 2016

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