Small-scale DAB in the UK - how should it work? And good radio station branding

It’s been a busy week for my new baby, Podnews, a free daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand.

On Tuesday, I released an investigation into highly-inflated figures for iHeartMedia’s podcasts - it turned out that Podtrac, the analytics company, was merely measuring page-impressions to websites like Z100 or KIISFM, rather than actual listens. I’m quite proud of the piece, and I’m grateful to those who helped me unearth the facts and check the lengthy write-up.

Podtrac have since removed iHeartMedia’s figures completely from their ranking charts. iHeartMedia made a statement to a US radio industry website, too.

I don’t believe there was any deliberate inaccuracy involved; but it’s been interesting to see how the news has been reported: or, mostly, not reported. Perhaps that’s a comment on industry websites being unwilling to anger large companies; or, probably more likely, a lack of interest in analytics. Either way, I’m enjoying my work on Podnews - if you’re interested in the future of podcasting and on-demand, you should pop over and subscribe.

North America

United Kingdom

  • Connect FM leaves DAB due to price increase - while multiplex owners need to charge a “fair and non-discriminatory” price according to UK law, that doesn’t stop them charging more for everyone as the medium becomes more popular. The UK essentially has a monopoly provider for local DAB multiplexes (since only one company can operate one in most areas), and has a virtual monopoly provider for transmission facilities (since Arqiva is the only at-scale company for transmission). It’s probably important, therefore, that the small-scale DAB project comes to fruition as quickly as possible to offer competition. Which leads me to…

  • How should small-scale DAB work in the UK? Now’s your chance to tell the government. (This will result in new laws for DAB multiplex provision - is there time, what with Brexit and everything?) Anyway, here’s Matt Deegan’s comments on it which are worth reading.

  • Title changes for BBC Local Radio managers - if you’re a station manager, you switch from being a Station Editor or a Managing Editor to being a “Senior News Editor”. This is being driven by BBC management who wish to ‘reduce the number of job titles’; but it seems to me that it is helpful to a) have an external job title that people understand, and b) have a job title which isn’t just about “news”, since BBC Local Radio isn’t just about news. It’s also apparently true that a “News Editor” is actually more senior than a “Senior News Editor”…



  • Tunisia’s first LGBT radio station on air despite death threats

  • Ireland: a monthly programme about Irish radio, Wireless on Flirt FM. “On the December edition of Wireless on Flirt FM, we feature the radio activist Margaretta D’Arcy, founder of Galway’s Radio Pirate Woman, who recently donated her archives to NUI Galway. We hear from Margaretta D’Arcy and from Maureen Maguire who was also involved in the station. As festive station Christmas FM goes on the air, we interview its co-founder Daragh O’Sullivan. We also feature more material from the National Student Radio Conference held in Galway in November and we learn about the newest arrival on the radio scene, Community Radio Kilkenny City.”

  • An automatically updating list of every new album available on Spotify, categorised into micro-genre.

  • One for your bookmarks - when different countries start listening to Christmas music, according to Spotify data. Worthwhile noting: Even on Christmas day itself, Christmas music is 0.4% of all music voluntarily played by people - i.e, if left up to our own devices, 1 song in 250 is a crappy Christmas music classic. On the 20th of December, normally a place where awful christmas music is all over the bloody radio, it’s 0.10% at maximum for most countries - 1 song in 1,000 plays. I am clearly not in the target market.

  • The broadcast regulator in Trinidad and Tobago doesn’t like a song about chutney.

What did you miss over the holidays?

Thanks to the wonderful supporters on Patreon, this newsletter is now being archived on the web. So, if you were away during the holidays…

  • Here’s December 25th’s update, with UK radio deregulation as the big story.
  • And look, here’s January 1st with the sad news that Dick Orkin has died, and the tyranny of the target audience.

Thank you to Allyson Marino, Jason DeFillippo, Robbie MacInnes and Mirko Lagonegro, Pat Hannon, Andrew Davies, Alexander Laurin, Brad Smart, Jake Shapiro, George Bradt, and Andy Maher for your support via Patreon over the past month. Also, thank you and “hello!” to our new silver supporters - Simplecast, Geller Media International, and acast. I now have 62 patrons. You can be like these fine people and suppliers.

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