Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Interview with James Cridland
James Cridland is an english radio expert and a conference speaker, he's managing director of Media UK and he blogs at James Cridland's blog.
I had the chance to interview him.
1) When and where you born?
I was born in London in 1971: the year that the mandatory radio licence was abolished in the UK. It was another two years before commercial radio started broadcasting.
2) How and when did you discover your interest in the radio?
I saved up vouchers from a box of breakfast cereal, and sent off for a free radio. It arrived (in the shape of a box of breakfast cereal itself). I used it for a few hours on the first day I got it, and was very disappointed as I went to sleep: I thought it had ran out. "How does the latest news get in there?" I wondered. "How will it get the latest music? I'll have to buy a new one." The bug had bitten me: and from then on, I was determined to work in the industry.
3) When you were growing up, which radio stations were you listening to?
Radio 4, like my parents - it's a serious news and speech radio station and I felt very grown-up listening to it. Then I listened to a small local private radio station, Signal Radio, when it first launched: and I was hooked on the idea that this station was coming from just down the road.
4) What is your opinion about the transition towards digital radio (DAB,DAB+,DRM, etc)? Do you think that FM-band should be switched off by law (like the british government suggests)?
It's helpful that the government has indicated that simulcasting between FM and DAB should cease. However, in my opinion, the only people who should decide whether analogue radio should be switched off, I believe, are the radio broadcasters. It is not the government's place to commit mass-murder on an ailing commercial radio industry by forcing them to switch off their FM frequencies.
My post in the blog has more on this.
I believe that the future of radio is a multi-platform future: one that includes FM, DAB, and the internet. I also believe that broadcasters should take far more of an interest in the receivers, since it is in their interest to ensure that these are "platform-blind". The listener should not care whether their favourite radio station is on FM, DAB, DRM or the internet: they should just be able to listen. It's silly, in this era of content, to expect listeners to know whether their favourite radio station is on FM or DAB: it should just appear, by name, on their radio.
Apple, Sky, Canal +, Freeview, and many other broadcasters and content providers are working hard to ensure a standard, simple user interface to access their content. It appears odd that radio broadcasters are not doing so.
5) How do you imagine the future of radio?
The future of radio is a multi-platform future.
We have to have broadcast radio to reach hundreds of thousands of people at the same time: the internet can't do that.
We have to have more than one broadcast standard to offer the choice people expect.
We have to use the internet to deliver on-demand content and personalisation; and niche, out-of-area content.
And we have to have all this in one, easy-to-use, device that we'd like to call a "radio".
The future of radio isn't on-demand over live; internet over FM; personalisation over a linear stream - it's all of these things. That'll help keep radio fresh and exciting.