Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland
A 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 bureaucrat 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 go away. Of course, I’ll still write about radio – I have a free weekly radio trends newsletter at https://james.crid.land – and Podnews is a daily newsletter at https://podnews.net too if you really want more of me.
Radio is something that touches 9 out of 10 people every week, keeps them company, and makes a positive difference to their lives.
So, don’t forget how much people love what you do, and keep listening.
About The Author
James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at james.crid.land.