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James Cridland - radio futurologist
Radio marketing

Radio marketing

· 6.5 minutes to read

Hello. I know it’s been over a month since my last “weekly” newsletter, but there we are - the day job getting in the way! Here’s some week-before-Christmas reading for you, because clearly you’re just winding down for the holidays and aren’t doing three times the amount of work, are you?

Excited that I’ll be speaking at Podcast Movement Evolutions (March, Las Vegas); Radiodays Europe (March, Prague); the NAB Show (April, Las Vegas again, tbc); the NZ Podcasting Summit (May, Auckland) and Radiodays North America (June, Toronto). The event industry isn’t, yet, fully back on track - but it looks as if it’s having a bloody good go at it!

I’m no longer very active on Twitter, but if you’re in the fediverse (like on Mastodon), then you can follow me over there. I’m - search for me from your own place on Mastodon to find and follow me.

  • As a former ad-writer, I think there’s a great session for a radio conference about radio station marketing. Show some good (and bad) examples, and have ad-creatives rate them as to if they’re any good - is it clear, does it work? As one example of a really, really good one: Virgin Radio’s new TV ad, which succinctly (and repeatedly) hammers home the three points: Virgin Radio is the one with Chris Evans; Virgin Radio is the one with Graham Norton (both big TV and radio stars from other stations); and, by inference, Virgin Radio is the one with the stars. (My favourite example of an awful one? This.)

  • Podnews covered Apple’s Top Podcasts (with details of how they’re worked out - not just total downloads). Here is the list from the UK, with the BBC showing just three podcasts. Desert Island Discs is only top 10 appearance; not, quite, the young and exciting BBC it would like you to think it is. By comparison, Global has only one, Bauer doesn’t have anything, and Acast have 10.

    • In Australia, for interest, the ABC has three; Murdoch’s News Corp has three; LiSTNR has two.
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  • Of interest - the BBC is #26 biggest podcast publisher in the US. This data is survey-data from Edison Research over the last 12 months.

  • The BBC has added rewind functionality to its Alexa radio listening skill. Good plan.

  • UK commercial radio body RadioCentre took the BBC and Ofcom to court in November for launching, they would claim, a new radio station without the proper public interest test. The new station, BBC Radio 1 Dance, is only available online within BBC Sounds - something that the BBC claims doesn’t make it relevant for a public interest test. KISS or Capital Dance, both of whom have a significant online audience, probably have a differing view. I can’t find any details of when the ruling is expected (or, in fact, if it already has been made).

  • A look at the BBC’s inspiring web principles, fifteen years later, notes “I see lots of digital products (like Sounds) which seem to go against the grain of user needs and instead focus on what the BBC wants.” As one example, Garve Scott-Lodge complained to the BBC that its witholding of some podcasts for 28 days after transmission in places other than BBC Sounds could, in some cases, be “be detrimental to public health”.

  • The BBC is to remove Shoutcast streams for their radio stations, so you’ll no longer be able to listen that way. Their advice is to “use BBC Sounds”.

  • Here’s a website containing a database of radio streams - and a full API for your use. Contains the BBC! For now.

  • The BBC’s DG Tim Davie asks for UK regulators to be faster and more proactive with their regulation.. Wholeheartedly agree; and this is certainly one for Canadian regulators to look at, not just the UK’s. Davie also suggests that Radioplayer was one of the highlights of the BBC’s collaborative work: I’m proud to have been involved in the early days.

  • In November was the WorldDAB Summit; this year, the whole event was filmed and is available over here. Worth a watch, remembering that Norway turned off FM five years ago, and Switzerland will be doing the same in 2024.

  • Fascinating listen to some numbers stations. Who needs the internet?

  • A good piece in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about Boom Radio, with some excellent interviewees (wink). Phil Riley also spoke at WorldDAB about Boom Radio.

  • Simulcasting the telly on the radio can occasionally get you into hot water. As one example: the (UK) rules are, in a by-election, that you have to mention all parties and candidates standing, at least initially. GB News did that - on the telly. You couldn’t hear that on the radio. Whoops.

  • “Chris” is running Midtempo Radio online playing what he calls an eclectic library but with AI running the segues. The segues all sound good to me (getting timing right as well as volume); indeed, quite often I don’t notice them, being unfamiliar with the “eclectic” library. I do wonder what work is being done in this area, and why online music services are still so bad at it.

  • LBC journalist Charlotte Lynch was arrested for doing her job - covering a protest, by the Hertfordshire Police. Good to see that the story was repeatedly covered by the BBC (see the bottom of the page for more), who have previously been a bit sniffy to even acknowledge the existence of commercial radio journalists.

  • If you pretend you have used a thing that you haven’t used for an ad, the FTC is cracking down…

  • Edison Research continues to produce some fascinating numbers. In-car (in the US), radio is king, even for young people, they say. And, over here, they have a graph for the US showing AMFM over-the-air listening vs streaming, which I find fascinating how far behind the US is to other countries. The latest figures claim 12% of listening to AMFM stations is online. (For the UK, the figure is 23.6%; I’d like to quote the CRA’s figures in Australia, but they don’t publish them: I’d lay a bet they’re somewhere in the middle though.)

  • But, enjoy AM radio in your car while you still have it - the New York Times has woken up to AM’s removal by many US auto manufacturers, who can’t get the waveband working well with their electric motors. “But what happens in an emergency?” asks the radio industry - though perhaps they should have thought of that when they turned many of their AMs to a rebroadcast of some satellite-delivered audio from hundreds of miles away, respond a number of people on social media.

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