Lazy Buggles headlines

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

YouTubers killed the radio star, says the London Daily Telegraph.

Video killed the radio star – will automation kill the labor force? asks some legal company.

Will it be streams that kill the radio star? asks a media conference.

Digital killed the radio star, says the Denver Post.

A technology website asks the slightly unweildy question: Instagram Stories Now Have More Users Than Snapchat Stories: Has Video Killed the Radio Star?

Spotify killed the radio star, says a student news website.

It’s not difficult to find rather more examples. Horn, Downes and Woolley clearly wrote a very catchy song – even if it barely made the US top 40.

But it’s lazy journalism – and, indeed, fake news. Because, however you cut it, radio is not dead.

Pew Research Center highlights Nielsen’s research since 2009. That year, 92% of all Americans aged over 12 listened to the radio at least once a week. In 2016, that number was 91%.

Weekly online radio listenership (including both online-only stations and AM/FM simulcasts) is now at 53% of all American adults, say Edison Research.

Financially, while the troubles of iHeart and Westwood One take center-stage, the actual revenue figure for radio including both AM/FM and satellite radio together – live radio – is actually up. Total revenues grew 1.6% in 2015, for example, to $21.9bn in the US.

And when you have stories like this from the Washington Post, highlighting the sheer hard work that music artists undertake to get radio to play their songs, it’s clear that even the music industry don’t believe radio has been killed by anything.

Perhaps we, as the radio industry, can show how “not killed” we are: by not letting these lazy posts exist without vociferous complaints, comments and letters to the editor. They’re lies, they’re damaging, they’re fake. We deserve better.

About The Author

James Cridland is a radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business across the world.

A former radio presenter, James has worked for stations and companies across the world, including the original Virgin Radio in London, the BBC, Futuri Media, Imagination Technologies and Seven Network. He has judged many industry awards, including the CBAA, ABC Local Radio, RAIN and the UK’s ARIAS.

He writes for publications across the world, and runs the worldwide media information website. He also runs a free weekly newsletter with news of radio’s future.  

British by birth, James lives in Brisbane, QLD and is a fan of craft beer.