On-demand overtakes live

A big day last week, as Americans are listening to more on-demand audio (like podcasts and music services) than live, linear audio (like radio), according to data from Edison Research. The graph is above, nicked from Podnews last week, which reported it.

It’s at times like these that we really should sit back and reconsider WHY people listen to the radio. Too often, we forget that the world has drastically changed since the 1980s or 1990s, and the way we market radio really ought to have changed with it.

I’d humbly suggest that the music is not the #1 reason any more.

It’s easy to forget the connection that listeners have to their favourite radio stations.

I liked this story today from ABC Radio Brisbane - it was recently Book Week (my daughter dressed as a banana), but one student wanted to dress as one of the co-hosts of the ABC Radio Brisbane breakfast show.

The only problem was, Loretta Ryan isn’t actually in a book. So, a children’s writer wrote one, someone else made a dress, and it was all rather lovely.

Try doing that with AI.


Media Realm’s MetaRadio has reached v2. Now-playing data… everywhere. The company is a sponsor of this newsletter, but the tool looks like something I ought to be writing about anyway!

Congratulations to Matthew Rudd, who presents the Forgotten 80s show on Absolute 80s - owner Bauer has added a premium radio station (ad-free and you can skip tracks) based on the show.

Having met Matthew at Hallam FM, I enjoyed his show Q The 80s on Q Radio, a DAB radio station run by Bauer from Sep 2010 to May 2013. It played a mix of familiar tracks and songs you very rarely hear on 80s stations, and I rather enjoyed it. For a while I compiled a Spotify playlist for each show.

When Bauer closed Q Radio closed down in May 2013, I slightly randomly suggested to Absolute Radio’s programme director, Tony Moorey, that this might be a show that could live on a weekend evening of the new spinoff Absolute 80s station, as something a little different to the daytime fare; and that Matthew was a good egg who also understood how to use the internet for self-promotion.

To my surprise, that was an unsolicted programming suggestion that someone listened to! Matthew was hired for Absolute 80s, and started on the decidedly more eclectic Forgotten 80s a few weeks later on May 26 2013; and he’s still there, ten years later. And he still posts his weekly playlists on a Blogspot website. And even now, I’m looking through the playlists and thinking “this would make a very good Spotify playlist”.

Anyway - delighted that he’s had the success he deserves.

So, vale, Michael Parkinson - star of BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Five Live; but also a host of Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 for three years, and, for a while, on London’s LBC 97.3 - a fact curiously not just missing from the BBC’s website, but also from, um, LBC’s article too.

Unlike everyone else on social media, I’m afraid I don’t have any stories about when I worked with Michael Parkinson, on account of the fact I didn’t.

A fact I learnt from Wikipedia is that he’s on the front cover of Band on the Run.

  • One of the good guys in radio, Larry Gifford is one of the casualties of a reorganisation and set of cost-cutting at Corus.

  • The continued closure of AM in the UK, and a big one - 194m/1548kHz, once the home of London’s Capital Radio, the UK’s first legal commercial radio station, is to be turned off (and, who knows, might already have been).

  • Some fascinating research from the BBC about the graphics they use for live radio on Freeview, the TV system. Changing the screen’s colours have almost halved the amount of power consumption used by TVs to listen. The article doesn’t calculate the full savings - but if you wondered, I’ve calculated it to be an annual saving of £5.1mn in British radio listener electricity bills. (Mind: if they stopped listening on the TV and only listened on a DAB radio, the saving would be £10mn)

  • It was lovely to catch up with so many radio friends at Podcast Movement 2023, especially Steve Goldstein and Kurt Hanson. Next week, I’m off to Radiodays Asia, in KL Malaysia. Perhaps I might see you there?

Want to supercharge your radio show? Here’s a £1 week-long trial of Show Prep - from a world class radio consultant and the best show-prep writer in the UK. Great for UK stations, or for English-language stations everywhere, too. (ad)

Coming up…

I’m speaking at the following events…

  • Radiodays Asia, KL, Malaysia (Sep 5-6)
  • Podnews Live, London (Sep 27)
  • tbc (Sep 29)
  • Medientage München (Oct 25-26)
  • tbc (Oct 27)
  • Podcon MX, Mexico City (Nov 9)

Would be excellent to see you at one (or more!)


Thank you to Broadcast Radio, Clyde Broadcast. Richard Hilton and James Masterton, Brun Audio Consulting, Soma FM and Media Realm’s MetaRadio.

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