Radio Expert, Podcast Pioneer, and Bleeding Edge of Podnews | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Radio Expert, Podcast Pioneer, and Bleeding Edge of Podnews".
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Tis I, Lord Podcast. Are you yearning to equip yourself with the confidence to record? Elijah, the skilled podcast professional, is preparing himself for a tale of tools and skill that only a mighty podcaster may employ in one's podcast journey. Elijah, I do believe that we shall teach our weary wanderer the confidence that they strive to achieve. Shall we start a podcast? We shall. It's settled. Let's start a podcast. Let's start a podcast, shall we? James Cridlin, the Mr. of Pad News, 30-year veteran. James, welcome. Thanks for joining. Thanks for having time to talk shop. I appreciate it. Well, it's a great pleasure to be here. Thank you very much. Obviously, I'm not a 30-year veteran of podcasting because that would be impossible, but certainly a 30-year veteran of audio, yeah. I knew you would clarify once in a while. It's night time for me, day time for you. You're fresh. I'm still trying to figure out if I need a nap, so thank you for that. That's good. That's great. May I ask if you always sign up for podcast interviews after your 14 hour flights? Like, is this just life for you? It's pure craziness or? Yeah, well, you know, um, yes, I have. Yeah. So I've just come off a 14 hour flight from LA. Um, and before that, a three hour flight from Mexico. Um, so obviously, um, I, i i'm uh top of the world uh completely awake and everything else but there we are um but yeah so i was down in mexico for um for a podcast conference down there um it was fascinating it was my first time in the country and um yeah and there's a real movement there and real sort of you know excitement about what podcasting can, can be all about. So yeah, that was really good. Good. And then you had the, um, the podcast movement that was recent. I know on your highlights and something exciting to hit Denver. Does that compare?
Historical Evolution Of Podcasting & Its Current Trends
Podcast evolution (01:54)
Are they all the same in every country or do they have their own little flares? Oh, I think, you know, there are two big events that I go to every year, podcast movement, podcast movement evolutions. Um, but I also go to every year, podcast movement, podcast movement evolutions. But I also go to the podcast show in London, which is again, a very large event, lots of people there. And to be honest, the first time I went there, you can tell that I'm a Brit, even though I'm speaking to you from, from Australia. But when I went there to the podcast show in London, it kind of almost made me feel patriotic that, you know, we see, you know, America thinking that they invented podcasting and, you know, thinking that, you know, podcasting is us. And then finally, actually seeing a really big event run in the UK where I was born, where I grew up. And, yeah, that was a really exciting thing. But yeah, there are events all across the world these days. And it's great to be at some of those, whether they're podcast events or radio events, which I still do a fair amount of. So yeah, it's always good to go around the world and see some of those. Do you think that you'd still be doing radio events even if you didn't get the – I think it's a Foster's box of cereal where you got the radio back when you're six or seven years old? Oh, the Frosty's box. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you think that would change the world that happened if you didn't save up those tokens?
The first podcast (03:20)
Or do you think it'd still be the same? or do you think it's to be the same i think well you know so i mean i i've i've found um you know that little that little free radio that i got with some frosties uh i found absolutely fascinating you know it was it was i couldn't work out where the voices were coming from um and um and so of course being a uh being a six or seven year old boy i I had to take the thing apart to find out where the voices were coming from, which was really interesting. But I actually didn't listen to it as much as perhaps I should do, because I was worried that I would use up all of the content that was inside. I didn't really fully understand how radio worked back in those days. But yeah, so that was certainly a thing that got me involved and interested in audio and interested in, you know, all that sort of stuff. So yeah, you know, it was a great first, you know, toy, I guess, into understanding what audio is all about and understanding the sorts of things that you could do with that. And now you've understand how things click, I hope. Have you counted how many guest appearance you've had on radio and podcasts or is it just forget it? It's too many. Oh, you know, I mean, I always enjoy being a guest on other people's shows. That's always good. But I also, you know, I mean, I write about radio every so often, I write about podcasting every single day. And, you know, so I'm always in contact with lots of different people. And I think that that's one of the most exciting parts about, you know, being involved in an industry, particularly the audio industry for over 30 years, means that, you know, there's a lot of people who I can help put other people in contact with and can, you know, and a lot of experience from across the world. And I think, you know, possibly that's one of the differences between radio and podcasting, whereas radio is very much focused on where you are. It's focused on your city or your state or maybe the country, but that's about as far as it goes. No one is really very interested in the radio business. If you're in the US, why would you be interested in what's going on in Norway or what's going on in other parts of the world as well? So I think from that point of view, I think there's an awful lot to be learned from different people across the world as well so i think from that from that point of view i think there's an awful lot to be learned from um from different people across the world and podcasting has always been a little bit more global a little bit more open but uh you know but i think that radio is very very much focused on just itself and i think that's a bit of a mistake it's nice to not have to have a short wave or ham radio license to hear someone across the world either. It's a tech. All the barriers are gone. You just push a button and I can hear you across the pond. It's wonderful. Yeah. Yeah. No, indeed. Indeed. I mean, if you were asking me whether I would have expected to be just having a chat with somebody across the internet when I was 30 years ago.
Why we podcast (06:19)
I mean, obviously not. I mean, it's made a tremendous change to all of us, hasn't it? Absolutely. Have you made any tremendous changes since 2005 in podcasting? Have you been a part of any grandeur or exciting things that have kind of changed the evolution of podcasting?
What exciting things are currently going on in podcasting (06:43)
or exciting things that have kind of changed the evolution of podcasting? Well, I mean, you know, early 2005, I was part of the team that made the first daily podcast for a radio station where I was working in London. And also in the same month, actually, we also, the radio station launched the first, well, we called it a 3G tuner. It was the first mobile phone app that you could stream a radio station from anywhere in the world. And it was available on, I think, four Symbian phones. So, you know, so there you go, there's a thing. But it was quite fun in terms of, you know, in terms of getting that going, but then very interesting in terms of being able to move that on and to, you know, work with some pieces of technology to make, you know, radio and audio available in lots of different forms. And I think that that's been a really interesting time. Is that where you get the nickname, the futurologist, or is this something you just stamped on a business card in college one day? Well, I talk about the radio futurologist as if it's a thing. Of course, the word is really futurist, not futurologist, but I've always fancied anology. So I thought I would get that. Someone actually said to me one day, oh, you should call yourself a radio futurologist. And I thought, well, I quite like that. So yes, I will do that. But certainly my last 20 years in the industry, I've been a radio DJ, I've written radio commercials, but the last 20 years in the industry has been really very much around helping people understand what's next. And particularly in terms of radio, helping them understand what's next, particularly in terms of radio helping them understand what's next looking at the consumption of radio looking at how people are consuming audio and whether that's live radio or on demand or podcasting you know it's been very much focused on that sort of on that sort of thing so you know if if anything calling yourself a radio futurologist means that you'll be the only one. There is, in fact, one other radio futurologist who is a nice man who I know in Ghana who decided that after I did some training, he would call himself a radio futurologist as well, which I thought was quite funny. That's nice. Yeah, yeah.
Highlights of the last 20 years in the audio production industry (09:04)
But it's a good, you know, it's a good you know it's a good it's a good name isn't it so uh yeah i think that that works that plays a part in the community presence in podcasting that that we feel right you teach somebody something they absorb your title and think it's okay it's great and then everybody's happy and nobody seems to get upset about it which is kind of funny yeah but but i think also you know podcasting is a very open and friendly industry. I mean, as so we should be, we're still tiny and actually growing is a very important part of what we can do to the industry to make it better. And so, you know, I think if you go to a podcast movement, if you go to, you know, the podcast show, it seems a much more friendly experience than if you go to, you know, a bit more of a legacy medium where you get people who aren't very keen on sharing, sharing much, if anything. And actually, you know, sharing your successes, but but also frankly sharing your your failures is probably a good thing for all of us and so i'm you know always really excited when you hear so much working together in podcast conferences that's always a good thing any blunders you care to share am i leading down a path to get me punched in the face, James.
James Bareys biggest Podcast No No. (10:06)
So now that you're talking about failures, I thought I'd ask. I'm curious. Yeah, any blunders? I don't think so. I mean, I think, you know, I mean, I think from a point of view, everything is a learning experience, isn't it? And even if you, you know, even if you do something that probably wasn't the right move, you know, eventually, you still learn an awful lot of things out of that. So, you know, I'd worked, I'd been, you know, relatively successful working at the original Virgin Radio in the early 2000s and was headhunted to go and work for the BBC. and work for the BBC. And, you know, if you've ever, you know, followed media, you'll know, my goodness, you know, the BBC, it's a tremendous place. And you should definitely work there. And, you know, and so I jumped at the chance. And, you know, in retrospect, probably that was a bit of a mistake. I lasted a couple of years there. But it wasn't a great time for the for the corporation. a couple of years there. But it wasn't a great time for the corporation. It wasn't a particularly good time for me either. And, you know, I've certainly learned a lot about my skills and some of my lack of skills. And that's probably a useful thing. But I certainly wouldn't be, you know, I wouldn't be doing what I do now, you know, had that gone a little bit differently anyway. So I think you learn from everything, don't you? Absolutely. I know Top Gear, the three gentlemen, Jeremy Clarkson, he always had his stick, his personality, and very far out there. And he had the issues with BBC. And I thought that may be just a bit of drama in the media but perhaps there's something about it some bigger companies they don't always have the the right frame of mind for the people who work there i suppose i don't know no and i and i think it's different uh you know i think the bbc um looks after its talent very well, but is full of red tape. And anything that you do has to go through 400 different people. All of one can turn around and say no, no, you can't do that. And so I think it's just a very large, as that happens with, you know, with Google, as that happens with Microsoft, it's just a very large organization, and it's quite difficult to make changes. And I think, you know, having moved from Virgin Radio, where we had a total employee count of, I think, 83, moving over from Virgin Radio to the BBC, moving over from Virgin Radio to the BBC, which had 23,000 employees, you know, it's a different world. But I think that what you can do, you know, at the, you know, at a company that's as large as that, once you've, once you understand how to, you know, get rounded and how to get things actually done in that sort of organization, then you can clearly affect far greater change because it's such a large organization. There are so many things going on inside it. May I ask if PodNews is approaching BBC size or do you still have some way to go?
What episode are you on now? (13:40)
Oh, in terms of what in terms of employees success i mean there's 30 000 followers and and subscribers right you gotta be there yeah i mean it's it's lovely to it the the strange thing about pod news we've got about 20 um about 29500 ish. But the strange thing about that is that we're quite sensitive to cuts in the industry. So we've gone through this year, we've gone through some periods of cutbacks in the industry, whether that's from spotify whether that's from public radio in the us or other companies as well and actually that has impacts on the amount of people that are getting the pod news newsletter every single day which is which is fascinating so you know you look at that and you go oh well you know um uh may maybe maybe this has reached a natural reach figure, and it's probably going to stay here for quite some time. But also, you know, of course, as a business, it doesn't necessarily matter how many people are getting that particular newsletter. Because once you're a particular size, you know, you're not going to get another another five thousand dollars if you've got another hundred people you know getting it it doesn't it doesn't work that way so you know there is a there is a fine out size to all of this but certainly you know what what i find quite humbling is you walk through the um you know the halls of of um of podcast conferences and i'm normally wearing a Pod News branded shirt, and people stop me and they say, you're the guy, you're the guy from that newsletter that I read every single morning. And that's quite, you know, quite sort of humbling and exciting that there is so much recognition for a brand that I basically came up with after a chance conversation in a pub in in in LA weirdly enough so yeah so it's nice to to actually see that seven or eight years later that's pretty cool you can go into any bar in the western hemisphere and say hey everybody knows this that's that's kind of nice that. That's a legacy that you're starting, perhaps. It's not a bad feeling. Yeah, but I think, I mean, I'm trying to help the industry. I'm trying to move parts of the industry forward. I think I understand enough about what drives the industry and what drives creators, having been a a creator radio presenter myself a long long time ago but also being a podcaster myself you know i think i i would hope that i understood you know what what drives us what we find interesting um and you know and the things that are bad and need to be talked about yeah absolutely are there things that you have reported on that are hitting the internet airwaves on pod news before industry experts got a hold of it? Have you been at that sort of cusp of news? I mean, I think quite a lot of the time I'm breaking a fair amount of news. And I think what was interesting in early 2018, I did quite a lot of technical work on looking at the iHeartRadio podcasts and trying to understand why they were so high in the PodTrack data, particularly their short-form podcast. There used to be a short-form podcast chart, which iHeart was number one in. And I was looking at that chart and I was going, I literally don't understand why some of these shows are as successful as they claim to be in this chart. I wonder whether there's anything going on. And after doing a fair amount of digging around, found out that iHeart's very successful commercial radio stations were all linking to the audio and getting it played on every single page load of every single website, you know, on the iHeart network. So if you went to visit Z100, website um you know on the iHeart network so if you went to visit Z100 um then uh that um would silently download the the audio for this particular show um and that was another tick onto the onto the pod track numbers and so I thought to myself wow uh you know that is that is a proper story um and uh I think you know I was lucky that, you know, that was about four, five months into what I was doing. And all of a sudden, that was a story that no one else had seen, no one else had completely understood. And I was very lucky to be able to break that then. And, you know, and to help people understand, yeah, you know, that actually those numbers that you were seeing weren't necessarily as correct as you might have thought that they were. And lots of, and, you know, we've changed the industry in terms of that, in terms of how you embed audio, you know, how you count a, you know, a download. you count a, you know, a download, all of that kind of information has really changed after the reporting of, you know, this was clearly bogus, bogus numbers, and advertisers weren't being served, nor was with the public in terms of those particular numbers. So, you know, I think that there's been a few big stories like that every year that I've been able to break and been able to slightly change the industry, but hopefully for the better, I think. Hopefully. I mean, if somebody is taking SEO backlinking to a whole new level and you can uncover that, it's kind of nice. But what about the future? I know YouTube is pretty good at figuring out when, say, videos can trail off. And I haven't seen great podcast stats to do that. Do you find that that would be something coming up? Or is there maybe a hope or dream? And that would maybe take us past the niche and into mainstream once and for all? Yeah, I mean, you can get that information, by the way, in both Apple and in Spotify's data. So if you go and have a look at your show in the Apple Podcasts Connect, I think they call it, or in Spotify for podcasters, then both of those will show you where people are skipping and where people are just sort of, I can't be bothered to listen any longer um and all that kind of stuff so you can grab that from apple you can grab that from spotify and also grab demographic information and everything else i think that's probably one of the um one of the the of the fake stories about podcasting is that its
Faking fake story of podcasting (21:07)
analytics is bad um actually we've probably got better analytics in the podcasting world than any other media in terms of being able to see a lot of a lot of consumption detail both from apple and from spotify and from download numbers to be able to actually look at all of those different pieces of pieces of information you can put that information public if you want so that other people can actually see, you know, some of that too. And if you compare that to something like, you know, broadcast radio, which is so much bigger in terms of revenue. But what you're measuring with by measuring broadcast radio's numbers is you're measuring a tiny amount of, you know, 1% of the people out there who are carrying around a little electronic device. And then those numbers are timesed up by how many people live in that particular area. And you get this sort of estimate, which is not a bad estimate, but there again, you can compare that with where we are in podcasting and you can see that we are in actually a tremendous place. So, you know, so I think that that's, you actually a tremendous place um so you know so i think that that's um you know analytics isn't necessarily a thing i think from my point of view where the future is going is um the future is a bit of a of a dangerous place some somehow in that we've got three ways forward we've got one way forward of spotify being being the market leader and controlling everything we've got youtube snapping at its heels and indeed apple podcast actually snapping at spotify's heels in some way launching their own proprietary systems and and different ways of doing podcasting or you you've got open podcasting.
Three ways forward (22:00)
What podcasting was conceived at being 20 years ago was something which was open, something where you have a direct connection with your listener, something which is available on any number of different uh of different apps um and is you know an open and growing industry and i think um we kind of need to remember that podcasting is open and that's one of its strengths that's why it's as big as it is and it wouldn't be anywhere near as big as it as as it currently is if it was just hidden away in some, you know, in some app somewhere, I don't think that that would be particularly helpful. I do see that it's unfortunate, even though the barriers are dropping, right? The tech barriers are not a thing anymore, just press and go. But there's so many people that show up and then all of a sudden, seven episodes later, this is a lot of work, I'm out. Do you think that there'd be an opportunity for people to maybe be more educated and plan and understand what they're getting themselves into or who cares, just have fun and figure it out? Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, there are a lot of people who are really helping podcasters understand how to avoid, you know, that issue where you make something and then after seven episodes, as you say, you just run out of steam. I think, you know, a lot of the good podcast hosts are spending some time, you know, helping people, holding people's hands, moving people on. But I think, you know, what we certainly saw during the pandemic, for example, was lots of people getting involved in podcasts because they knew that they could, because this was something that you can do from your house. And then realizing that actually podcasting is quite difficult. Spotify has found that. Spotify thought that if you just piled some money in, signed up some big names, that that would guarantee people a big podcasting hit. It doesn't quite work that way. And what I think comes as a surprise to people who are new to the world of audio is that actually, you know what, it's quite difficult.
Is there too many podcasters? (24:44)
It's quite difficult to do a really good job with this um and so you see lots of people having real success but you of course see lots of people not having particular success but i don't think it's necessarily different to any other industry you know i mean there are more than a million books published in the u.s alone every year um nobody says that there are too many books um nobody looks at, yeah, nobody looks at, you know, the fact that, you know, so-and-so has only written two books and that's it and says, well, that's book fade. It's book fade for you. So I think, you know, we should cut ourselves a little bit of slack, you know, as an industry, I guess guess absolutely and and i know you're a big fan of reading your newsletters because uh they people may not feel like reading them where can they go to to learn more about things and where you read things to people like bedtime stories yeah i don't quite read bedtime stories but um yeah i mean you know, the reason – so PodNews is obviously a newsletter, and please sign up.
Online presence of Podnews (25:26)
PodNews.net is free, and you can get hold of that. There is a podcast version of it, which you'll find in your favorite podcast app. And the reason why it's there, by the way, is nothing to do with the fact that, you know, it might be fun to do a podcast. I mean, it's got something to do with that. But it's actually part of the workflow of producing a newsletter is that final read through. I've got to do a final read through anyway, I've got to read it aloud. Because if you read something aloud, that you've just written, if you read it aloud, then chances are you'll spot far more mistakes than if you're just reading it to yourself. So read it aloud. And then I thought, well, I'm reading this aloud, I might as well record it. So, you know, so there we are. So it's available as a podcast, if you want to end up doing that, then that's good. I would say that the podcast is good, but the newsletter is better. And then there's a hour-long version of that. Well, it's not really a version of the newsletter. It's an hour-long, you know, opinion and an interview show called the Pod News Weekly Review, which, again, is available in your favorite podcast app.
Audience Engagement Platforms
Patreon_ [/INST (26:59)
And that contains a bunch of interviews, a bunch of conversations about some of the big stories over the past week and so on. And that's great fun to do, too. And if people aren't in the space or the privilege to advertise, maybe they can just try the Patreon instead. Throw a few bucks at James and Podnews and at least support in their own way, right? Get it out there and help you do your thing. Yeah, I mean, always grateful for that. I think, you know, it's been very interesting seeing the support from individuals, the support from, you know, from companies and so on, and actually seeing how that works alongside advertising. Because obviously the newsletter contains advertising, whether it's classifieds or whether it's big sponsorships and things. But I think it's been really interesting having that nice balance and quite a healthy balance in between people that are desperate to advertise stuff and people who just want you to succeed and are helping you with, you know, whether it's one or two dollars a month through Patreon, everything helps. And I think it's a really nice, healthy balance to have a good mix of that kind of income, yeah. Absolutely. Thanks for dispelling all the myths about seasoned veterans, James. It's been great. I opened it up and learned a few things. It's nice. Yeah. It's been a great pleasure. Thank you. Thank you very much. We should do it again. Let's start a podcast.