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James Cridland - radio futurologist
Who owns Inside Radio? And a syndicated show with a difference

Who owns Inside Radio? And a syndicated show with a difference

· 6.2 minutes to read

Inside Radio, “The Most Trusted News In Radio”, has published a list of The Most Powerful People In Podcasting 2021. At #1 is Conal Byrne, the CEO of iHeart’s Digital Audio Group - well deserved, of course, since iHeart is the largest measured podcast publisher according to Podtrac.

Inside Radio has also published this breathless look at “Nielsen’s top 25 CHR stations”, where it tells us how wonderful iHeart’s stations are, with one half-paragraph acknowledging the others in the list. Again, very much deserved, given iHeart’s dominance.

But who owns Inside Radio - “the most trusted news in radio” - I wonder? It’s surprisingly hard to discover: it’s only once you get into the site’s terms of use that you see InsideRadio’s corporate name, “M Street Corporation”.

iHeartMedia’s annual report for 2020 is 221 pages long, and you have to go to page 215 to discover that M Street Corporation, the owner of Inside Radio, is a subsidiary of iHeartMedia, Inc.

While Inside Radio itself doesn’t mention its ownership at all, back in April 2020 the iHeartMedia website did mention it owned Inside Radio; but in a refresh later that month it got a little more shy about the connection.

iHeartRadio is, the company says, radio’s most trusted brand, and has a company values including transparency, honesty and integrity. Inside Radio's job is to report on the radio industry; so, it’s odd that they wouldn’t be totally transparent about their ownership: it would help understand the context of some of their stories. Must just be an oversight.

When did a syndicated show come complete with its own playout system?

10 Most Wanted is a clever thing - from Gav Richards, a UK radio presenter who also co-founded Aiir, a company that makes lots of excellent radio station websites.

Gav’s the perfect mix of radio presenter and technologist, who understands how to use technology to work the best. So he’s built a clever tool called SmartVT. Using web technology, it’s a way of delivering a show directly to a radio station: but allowing it to be personalised with the station name every presenter link/break. A bespoke version of the show is automatically delivered to every radio station: and it’ll even work with now-playing information on websites, and integrate with commercial breaks/stopsets.

It’s a massively clever system - this is a little more about how it works.

A client I worked with in late 2019, called radio․cloud, has also produced some very clever technology. Radio Cloud was built to replace expensive satellite distribution: it produces a near-live radio show with lots of localisation. Again, it’s using web technology to deliver the audio and to play it out at each station: and again, it means that each station gets much more namechecks and bespoke elements than you’d get from just taking a sustaining audio feed.

When I met with the company, they showed me lots of clever pieces of technology that they’re using in German radio.

Whether it’s Radio Cloud or Gav’s SmartVT, this sort of technology can make radio sound more “real and relevant”, more bespoke for the station that it’s being broadcast on, and in a continued time of pandemic, is a particularly useful tool for all kinds of broadcasters. I’m excited to see them: I’m sure there’ll be more.

For further reading, try WebAudioWeekly from Chris Lowis; or read up on the Web Audio APIs.

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“Tak skal du have”, Mikkel Westerkam, for buying me five coffees last week - since we were in lockdown last week I’ve saved them up for when we can leave the house! And also a “gee, thanks, buddy” to Arvid Hokanson for your kind donation to my caffeine intake. You might want to take a peek at NPR’s NextGenRadio project which looks like a great piece of work.

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I’m speaking at…

The Smart Business Revolution podcast me on in a recent episode (July 16). I share my experience working for Virgin Radio and the BBC, explains how I got started in podcasting, and apparently I offer advice to new podcasters on building a great podcast.

On Thursday 4th November, I’m speaking at the OAB, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters, on the future of radio.

By early next year, I hope to be able to do these from somewhere else other than my home office - and to that end, I recently gave my professional website a revamp. Quite pleased with it. Please send it to any conference organisers, if there are any left.

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