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Host AMAsAMA with James Cridland, Managing Editor of Podnews
AMAs >  James Cridland

James Cridland

organization Podnews
When December 6 2019 @ 07:30PM (EST)

James is a radio futurologist – a writer, consultant and public speaker on radio’s future. He is Managing Editor of podnews.net, a daily podcast newsletter, and runs media.info, the media information website.

James has worked in radio since 1989 as an award-winning copywriter, presenter, and internet strategist. In 2001 he joined the original Virgin Radio in London, where he was Digital Media Director: launching the world’s first streaming radio smartphone app in March 2005, and working on the station’s podcast strategy (launched in January 2005). In 2007 he joined the BBC to work on the BBC iPlayer for radio, achieving a dramatic increase in the service’s audio quality, and being part of the team that laid the foundations for the UK Radioplayer. Since leaving the BBC in 2009, he has worked for a variety of businesses, including the receiver and silicon manufacturers Pure and Frontier SiliconRadioplayerFuturi MediatalkSPORT as well as a variety of media companies in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia; helping them focus on the benefits and challenges that new platforms bring to their business.

He is one of the organisers of Next Radio, the UK radio ideas conference each September, and has worked with the world’s largest radio conference, Radiodays Europe, since its inception.

He writes for publications including his own media.infoAllAccess, Australia’s radioinfo.com.auRadio AssistantRadioszeneRadio Magazine and Radio World International. He writes a daily news email for the podcasting and on-demand industry, podnews.

He was a founder of the hybrid radio technology association RadioDNS and was an Elected Trustee of the UK Radio Academy, serving the maximum term. He is an Associate Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and was made an Honorary Life Member of the UK’s Student Radio Association.

He has served as a judge for a number of industry awards including The Webby Awards, the RAIN Awards, the UK’s Sony Radio Academy Awards, and the Australian ABC Local Radio Awards, the CBAA Awards, and the Australian Podcast awards.

Born in the UK, James lives in Brisbane, Australia with his partner and daughter. He likes beer very much.

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Questions now closed.

14 Questions
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asked this question 4 months ago

HI James, as a podcaster with little to no budget, is there a platform that you would consider spending a little money to promote your show? Thanks for all you do! ~Greg

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Hi, Greg! I hear good things about Overcast. ThePodcastHost wrote up a thing about it: https://www.thepodcasthost.com/websites-hosting/overcast-advertising/

That said, I think the best form of marketing is to find people who are interested in the same thing as you, and help them as much as possible. That’s usually a plan. Might not always work for every podcast though.

James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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You might also consider using QR codes on leaflets – https://podnews.net/podcast/1135093105 contains yours – as something that could open the default podcast app on a phone. So at beer festivals or the like, that might be a cheap way of promoting podcasts.

asked this question 4 months ago

HI James, what is your understanding of podcast world outside English spoken podcasts? Do you have any curiosity about them? Do you listen to podcasts in, let’s say, French or Spanish? I think we still have to see a huge development in podcasts in other languages. 
 
Thanks. 

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Je suis desolé, mais, a l’êcole, pas d’attention. So I don’t understand spoken French, sadly (I understand written French quite well).

I think from my point of view, the podcasting ecosystem in countries that don’t speak English are behind those that do. (“Countries that speak English” = US, Canada, UK, Australia obviously, but also Sweden, Denmark and other places.) I try to write about them as much as I can, since I think there’s plenty we can learn from other countries. (And I’d like to keep learning about them, too).

I’m at the European Radio Show in Paris at the end of January, doing a day about podcasting there – I’d like to learn more about how the French are doing podcasting. The culture is very focused on home-grown solutions in France, and I’m not sure how compatible that is with global standards. (I’ll not mention SECAM if you don’t)

Toni Rodriguez asked this question 4 months ago

Hi,
I’m very new to podcasting. I originally started filming a documentary on Mp4 files (from a GO-PRO) but now want to just use the audio from the footage and tell a story via podcast. However, I’m on a limited budget. Do you have any recommendations on what kind of programs or services I should consider using to combine my voice overs with the audio? Thank you for your time. 😊

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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I use Hindenburg Journalist Pro for audio editing. I believe that a music editor like Audacity or Audition is the wrong tool for editing podcasts: for the spoken word, you need a distinct set of tools that are built for that. You can just drop an MP4 file into it and it’ll extract the audio. It’ll set the levels for you and all that – you just have to focus on telling the story.

It isn’t free. Indeed, it’s quite expensive. They advertise with Podnews, and give Podnews readers three months free trial and a discount (though I haven’t the faintest idea what the discount is). https://hindenburg.com/podnews is the link – I don’t earn anything if you use it, and I paid in full for my copy.

Alternatively, Descript seems like an astonishing tool to have a play with: editing using a word-processor. I was deeply impressed with a test of it. https://podnews.net/update/descript-tryout

Toni Rodriguez asked this question 4 months ago

Thanks so much for the help! 

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Tom Slack Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hey James, thanks so much for coming on. You seem to consume and distribute more about the podcasting industry than anyone else on the planet. How do you keep up?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Good question, Tom – and thanks for the invite!

I have a full article about how I make Podnews over here – https://podnews.net/article/tools-used – and it mentions details about my story research. There’s quite a lot of it! My main tool is a decent RSS reader and a voracious appetite for social media – I find a lot of interesting stories while watching what others are talking about. I’d always like to hear more, though – I’m at [email protected] with any tips! 🙂

Kerria Porland Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hi there James, good to hear from you. I am interested to know what trend in podcasting scares you the most?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Hey, Kerria! I guess I worry about people getting into podcasting for the wrong reason.

Podcasting, to me, is a service to your listener. It isn’t a tool to grow your business. It’s not an excuse to ask people for an interview and to network to them. It’s not a money-making opportunity. It’s a service for your listener, and I worry that some podcasters forget this. (Declaring an interest, though – I do come from a public-service broadcasting background, and this kind of thing has been ingrained in me from a very early age).

People who proudly claim they “never edit” a show, or seem to forget that the aim is for a listener to have fun (not just the host), worry me. But the good news is that, in the main, these types of shows don’t seem to last.

Sherri Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Did the sponsors on Podnews just reach out to you to advertise or did you have to do some initial pitching? Any tips for getting advertiser interest from a standing start?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Hey, Sherri. That’s a really interesting question.

I started doing a similar newsletter – you’ll find it at https://james.crid.land – about radio trends (and if it looks quite similar to Podnews, there’s a reason for that!). I pushed this quite hard in terms of trying to get advertising, but failed miserably at that. So I wasn’t really expecting it to succeed for Podnews.

Podnews reaches a lot of US people, who are culturally more used to giving to media sources that they like. That coincided with Patreon beginning to really get their act together: and that meant a great start.

Initial title sponsors (like RedCircle this month) came to me and asked. I didn’t have the faintest idea about how to set rates; but my dim and distant past is a radio advertising copywriter, so I hope I was able to use that knowledge to give something that works for them. As of August last year, I have Kristy, who is excellent, helping me with sponsorship and clients: she’s at [email protected] and allows me to maintain my editorial independence.

Kalla Yokes Staff asked this question 4 months ago

When do you think the tipping point will be for all the major brands that advertise on radio to start putting their spend into podcasting?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Kalla – that’s a great thought. I don’t think it’s a binary choice: and you can (and should) advertise on radio as well as podcasting. They both do great things for businesses. As one example: Geico is a top 3 radio advertiser in the US, and also a top 3 podcast advertiser too.

I’m sure that as radio gets more involved in podcasting, we’ll see advertisers using a mix of both. In Australia, the big three radio groups – NOVA Entertainment, SCA and ARN – all sell podcast advertising alongside their radio stations. (NOVA sell it for Acast; SCA has PodcastOne here, and ARN has the iHeart app).

However, let’s be realistic: radio reaches 93% of Americans every single week: podcasting reaches 22% of Americans in the same time period (and for far less time). In 2020, radio should bring in $16bn in revenue – podcasting might get $1bn. We’ve a long way to grow.

Caped Crusader Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Should people who think they’re gonna make it big in podcasting rethink…everything?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Are you Joe Rogan in disguise?

I think I’d tell people who think they’re going to make it big in podcasting to go for it. There are plenty of people who have turned their passion into their business like that. But I’d probably also say that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Tash Kiely Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Thanks for joining James. What is missing in the world of podcasting?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Interesting question, Tash.

I’d suggest that a micropayment platform to allow me to pay for and subscribe to podcasts would make sense. Apple is best-placed for doing this, and I think could turn it into a big revenue stream if they wanted to. I wrote https://medium.com/@JamesCridland/podcasting-what-apple-should-do-next-986ab5fd1026 in March, and I think it’s just as relevant now (in fact, even more so).

On a more general scale – I think an understanding what listeners want is missing from many podcasters. I come at this from a world of radio, which has had research in almost everything (and that’s sometimes bad, but you need to learn when to ignore the research of course!)

Liam Shawl Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Any view on major news outlets leaning into the true crime podcasting craze to build brand awareness and new subscribers for their news publications?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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What I found interesting about the susbcription data from PocketCasts that I was able to carry here – https://podnews.net/update/us-podcasts-across-uk-australia – is that true crime isn’t universally popular. Brits listen to half as much as the global audience. As a Brit, though living in Australia, I’ve little interest in the blood-spattered true crime genre, to be honest.

True crime is also actually quite hard to monetise. It turns out that quite a lot of brands don’t want to put their name next to a gruesome story of dismemberment. “And then he calmly placed her severed arm in the freezer. Now, let’s take a break and let me tell you about Blue Apron!”

So I guess I’d answer that if a company starts up yet another true crime podcast, are they doing so because they’ve a great story to tell – like Teacher’s Pet in Australia recently – or are they doing so because they lack the talent to think of one?

Emma Parken Staff asked this question 4 months ago

What are the benefits/drawbacks of podcast advertising over traditional radio???

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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I go into a bit of the differences between the statistics for podcasting vs radio at the bottom of https://podnews.net/article/understanding-podcast-statistics

Podcasting is “lean-forward” listening, so you’re almost guaranteed that people will hear your ad. But it’s hard to get the frequency that you need by just using podcasting. (The generally-accepted wisdom is that you need to get your message in front of people at least three times during their buying cycle. So if I decide I want a new car, I might be thinking for a month or so about that, and you, Mr Chevrolet, need to tell me why your car is the best at least three times during that time).

Radio is good for mass-market, and for frequency. But it’s also hard to cut through the other ads in the adbreak, and many people have the radio on as a bit of noise but not to actually listen to.

Tracie Perry Staff asked this question 4 months ago

With all the news you cover do you have time to listen to podcasts? Which ones do you like?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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What’s a podcast?

(grin)

I *loved* “The Missing Crypto-Queen” recently. A great podcast with some clever production techniques from the US.

I listen to “The Bugle”, a satirical news podcast, almost every week. It’s very good.

I used to devour “The Daily”, but Michael Barbaro’s delivery has turned into a pastiche of himself, and he needs to be told to stop and talk normally.

I enjoy “The Signal” from the ABC in Australia, but since I’m currently using Spotify as my podcast app, I’m missing out on that podcast at the moment.

…and I do listen to many more too!

James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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Oh, the Missing CryptoQueen was from the UK, by the way. Slip of the keyboard.

Kelvin Tse Staff asked this question 4 months ago

What genre do you think lacks the most quality content?

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James Cridland replied 4 months ago

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All of them – would be the cheap answer. There’s a lot of crap out there. But a lot of great stuff too. The hard part is to sift through the crap for the diamonds.

I think some podcasts are lazy or a bit dull: and perhaps some of that comes from copying the types of things we’ve heard in other podcasts or on the radio. I sometimes think the NPR-a-like production techniques of some of the US podcasts I hear make them a bit less interesting than they could be: it’s almost like the NPR process can sometimes take a story and cover it with lots and lots of beige paint so it sounds as identical to any other story they’ve covered. But a lot of that comes from my up-bringing in a country with (dare I say it) rather better radio than the US, I guess.

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