Heat Stress Scale | No Boundaries | Radio Is Dead: Long Live Radio

Ignore the small matter of a 24-hour flight to get there, but there’s something rather appealing about Australia at this time of year, isn’t there? As we peer outside to be met with yet another bleak winter’s day, summer is in full cry over there, with temperatures forecast to soar over the coming days. All in time for the start of the Australian Open Tennis which kicks off in Melbourne tomorrow, for what may be Andy Murray’s final tournament. Thankfully, and not before time some might say, the organisers are introducing a new extreme heat policy (as well as final set tie-breaks). The tournament is renowned for being plagued by heat-waves and for the organisers' much-criticised reluctance to suspend matches despite extreme conditions. For example, Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils complained last year after struggling through 39C heat in their second-round match! This year, however, organisers will be using a newly developed "heat stress scale", which considers air temperature, radiant heat, humidity and wind speed. Whilst the players may need a degree in thermodynamics to understand the calculations behind it, the policy will provide some clarity as to when matches should be suspended and roofs closed on the main show courts. One material associated change is that the male players will now join the women players in being permitted breaks during extreme heat…but only after they have sweated it out for at least three sets!!

Early January. The time of year to digest the results of the previous twelve months, as well as a time to consider what might lie ahead. For the Local Authorities, they can look back on their commercial property investment programme of 2018 with a sense of warmth…if they are judging themselves by the amount they invested. According to data released by Savills this week, councils spent a total of £1.82bn on commercial property in 2018, slightly less than the total they invested in 2017 (£1.85bn). Perhaps the more dramatic change was that almost 50% of their real estate spending (£874m) was outside their district boundaries, compared with 21% (£388m) in 2017. The five top investors outside their districts were all councils located in the South East, including Spelthorne, East Hampshire, Runnymede, Portsmouth and Eastleigh. A reflection of pricing levels in this part of the UK? Perhaps. But given that it has been reported this week that Spelthorne BC is in advanced negotiations to buy One Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms for £160m and is also under offer to acquire 100 Cheapside in the City for £136m, we suspect their need to find alternative sources of income to ultimately pay for the services they need to provide to their residents, has never been greater!

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, will see the start of Zoe Ball’s stint as the Breakfast Show presenter on BBC Radio 2, taking on the baton from Chris Evans who is heading to Virgin Radio after thirteen years at the helm. Given Evans’ predecessor, Sir Terry Wogan, spent twenty-seven years hosting the show, Ms Ball can probably forget about a lie-in for a little while! But why the big fuss over her appointment? It’s only a radio show after all. Or so we thought. The Weekly was surprised to learn this week that 48.6 million adults or 89% of the adult (15+) UK population tune into their selected radio stations each week! On average a listener tunes into twenty-one hours of live radio per week. Radio remains a big deal, and in today’s connected world, it has transformed into a truly anytime, anywhere, anyhow experience. With the increasing penetration of devices such as tablets and smartphones, it comes as no surprise that listeners are embracing the multi-platform and multi-device offering. For example, 13% of the UK adult population use at least one Podcast in an average week, whilst 27% of adults now listen to the radio via their mobile phone or tablet. At a time when the digital revolution fuelled a £250m decline in sales of physical copies of films, music, TV shows and video games in 2018, the medium of radio appears to be going from strength to strength.