Google, Facebook and the power of Radio

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

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.

About The Author

James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at






Tags: |