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James Cridland - radio futurologist
HTTPS websites and iHeartMedia possibly bankrupt?

HTTPS websites and iHeartMedia possibly bankrupt?

· 4.7 minutes to read

This article is at least a year old

Above, Radioplayer’s advertising campaign in the UK includes handsome bus sides. This was photographed by Martin Deutsch, and given an un-natural filter by me.

Articles and things

United States

  • Lots of movement around iHeartMedia, which was “preparing for bankruptcy” last weekend, though at time of typing this, they’ve not announced anything. Liberty Media, owner of SiriusXM, Virgin Media and Formula 1, is busy buying up the group’s debt. It should be remembered, but won’t be, that “radio” itself isn’t the problem here: that remains profitable as far as I can see. The main problem is the massive debt that the company has. Expect lots of lazy Buggles headlines when the news does break.

  • New audience data from the US: radio more popular than TV, and continues to be top choice

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  • Radio Has an Addiction Problem, says Dick Taylor. A contrary view: I think 'habit’ is the thing that’s kept radio alive.

  • Gothamist News Sites Brought Back to Life by Public Radio - a very good, forward-looking thing to have done. It should lead to more content for both. (VISTA Radio, for whom I’m a Director, has local community websites for its stations, too)

  • “These girls dropped out of college and became SiriusXM radio hosts overnight

  • Chicago Radio: WBMX Finds Success Airing Urban Oldies - interesting format

  • Approx 50% of new cars now have HD Radio fitted in the US. DAB is pushing 90% in UK. One reason for the slowness might be the proprietary nature of HD Radio, versus the almost patent-free DAB+.

  • The great big Spotify scam: Did a Bulgarian playlister swindle their way to a fortune on streaming service? - this is fascinating: bots listening to Spotify to get money for fake artists…

United Kingdom

  • From the archive, October 2015: the BBC announces it is to launch a personalised radio service that switches between stations, “in the next year”. One to file in the “what happened to that?” folder.

    • A Twitter commenter notes that the much-vaunted BBC Music app is apparently shutting down in mid-March. It existed for just thirteen months. Wonder what happened there? We used to see blog posts from BBC execs explaining what they learnt: I hope to see one here.
    • They’ve got the talent at the BBC, though. When I worked at the BBC ten years ago, I remember one of my team showing me a rather excellent private Chrome extension they’d built for a bit of fun at work, which automatically switched away from George Lamb on 6music, and automatically switched back again when he wasn’t on. Crafty! And later, in 2013, the BBC’s own R&D team built (and documented!) their “Archers Avoider”, a way for you to get “instant relief from Pip’s whining and Tom’s business plans”. Heh!
    • A BBC exec once took me aside and told me: “We don’t do things first, James. We do them properly.” It’s one of my many regrets that I was unable to change that mindset and aim for both.
  • Meanwhile, the BBC don’t publish their podcast download figures, but I was able to get some UK figures for 2016 and 2017 from the press office. The increase year-on-year was 12%. I don’t give opinion on podnews, but I do here, so… given the general growth of podcasting, isn’t 12% a little disappointing?

    • That said, I’m very much enjoying almost all of the BBC’s The Boring Talks podcast. I suspect that you might enjoy it too.
  • Buried in this announcement from Ford: a new version of Radioplayer, coming soon to Ford connected dashboards; along with Acast bringing podcasts to everyone.

  • Music Week reports how, apparently, UK radio execs are now running away from a government-mandated FM-DAB switchover. I’m hosting two sessions at Radiodays Europe about the Norwegian experience, and am looking forward to new data.

  • Bauer Media to launch Alexa skills for all 69 of its radio brands



Radiodays Europe

I’ll be at Radiodays Europe this year in Vienna Austria in just a few weeks. I’m talking about podcasts, and moderating two sessions about Norway’s national FM switchoff. Want to catch up? I’d love to do that. Contact me on WhatsApp, on Facebook Messenger, or email.

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