Super Hi-Fi’s radio in a box; Norway and Australia radio stats

There are a number of stations now without any broadcast studio facilities at all - I wrote about RCS’s cloud-based systems in 2018.

Just in time for the NAB Show, Super Hi-Fi have pivoted into broadcast radio. A while back, I noted that they’d been working on technology for online radio services: now, they’ve announced an intriguing tool - a radio station in a 1U rack Optimod unit for your transmitter. The system replaces playout, music scheduling, PPM encoding, and processing: and could run your entire station (if you wanted to) from it. Alternatively, this Barix box will connect to your Super Hi-Fi playout in the cloud.

The company has also launched an aggressively-focused voicetracking tool, which does network and localisation, and not just voicetracking but talent management as well (so you know what they’ve voicetracked and where). Many playout systems don’t seem to have changed interface or hardware since the dawn of time; but this looks like some genuinely new ideas for the medium.

They’re speaking at Radiodays North America in Toronto at the beginning of June. As am I! I’m rather interested to learn more.

Kantar Media were one of those taking part at the Norwegian Local Radio Conference in Oslo when I was there last month. Knut-Arne Futsæter gave a full presentation showing how Norway has embraced digital transformation, which he shared with me. We learnt that 20% of Norwegian adults use podcasts daily. Audio accounts for 27% of all media time spent. Audio is especially popular with younger audiences - 18-29 year-olds are listening 29% more in just twelve months: in that age group, 36% listen to podcasts daily (the same number as who listen to the radio).

In Knut’s “Oppsummering” at the end of the presentation, he issued a challenge for the audio industry: “More and more people are listening to radio via the internet, and the use of foreign podcasts is increasing. The audio market is now digital and global, and Norwegian media are facing increasing competition from foreign audio content providers. Local radio stations have never been exposed to greater competition for listeners’ ears than they are in 2024.”

Some fascinating data.

Also, I’ve found some fascinating data from Australia: not their radio listening figures, but from the media regulator, ACMA: a report called “How we watch and listen to content”.

Unlike the CRA figures, it breaks out AM, FM, DAB+ and online listening, and shows weekly audience to each. It also shows total hours spent listening to each platform, including podcasts and online music.

Since 2017, the report suggests, the number of weekly AM listeners has declined 33% (now at 23%); weekly FM listeners have declined 25% (now at 56%); DAB has remained steady; and, concerningly, radio over the internet has also dropped (from 12% to 9%).

The “time listening to audio content” chart also shows data that is new to me. It suggests that podcasts are listened-to for about the same length of time every week as FM radio. Both DAB and AM radio does better than both of those.

(As a side note - I really like the way that ACMA have presented this data - a nice interactive report allowing you to dig deeper, and the full methodology.)

More news of AM radio being turned off in the UK.

BBC Radio 4’s medium wave transmitters closed today. Global is turning off a number of AM transmitters including Gold in Manchester, the UK’s second largest city.

AM has already been effectively turned off in almost all of continental Europe (Spain and Romania remain outliers). Only the Americas, Australia and India still seem to use it in significant numbers.

Kyle and Jackie O, Australia radio’s biggest stars (certainly in terms of take-home pay, it would seem) are about to launch into Melbourne as well as their home town of Sydney. An excellent podcast called Game Changers: Melbourne Radio Wars, hosted by Craig Bruce and Irene Hulme, is worth a listen: two seasoned radio professionals keeping an eye on the market as K&J move in.

Yes, I am the guest in episode one - suggesting that Christian O’Connell will remain #1 at the end of the year. We’ll see.

Steve Martin shares some research about the good old days; suggesting that it might be interesting for music radio programmers. I’ll say.

  • The website for this newsletter has now changed: it’s part of my main website now, at Please forgive the dust: but it does mean all my writing is in one place now.

  • I’m unusually in Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York in the coming weeks, and have some free days to catch up. See below!

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…


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