IT’S the early morning of another significant revolution in media. Mobile media is mainstream and the more people who move around with phones in their pocket, the more they want to take their favourite media with them. Around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week.

That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year – and more than double over the past five years. On average, regular podcast users listen to around seven podcasts each week, so we are at the beginning of growth curve with much more to come.

One of the biggest shifts in consumer media habits is the rise and rise of audio-on-demand: music, the weather, uplifting stories and up-to-the-minute news. We want them as we go. Ofcom’s annual audit of media trends reports that as many as half of listeners have only joined the podcast wave in the last two years.

The pioneering hardcore of technology early adopters has now been joined by surge of more mainstream consumers. Audio-on-demand is at a tipping-point and is now as important to the way we listen and think than traditional radio or television. Scotland needs to move now.

Although radio is thriving, the devices on which we listen to speech and music is revolutionising too. Increasingly the phone, rather than the conventional radio, is the host and as many 22% of people who own a smart speaker use them to listen to podcasts. One in five homes in the UK now own one or more smart speakers.

READ MORE: Why the next generation of podcasts signals the erosion of the notion of niche

Entertainment is the most popular podcast genre, followed by comedy, then discussion and talk shows.

Last week the plates shifted again. In the aftermath of announcing their move into radio, The Times newspaper poached veteran broadcaster John Peinaar from the BBC, the first of an inevitable power struggle which will pit the cunning Rupert Murdoch against the lumbering giant that is the BBC.

With a free-market and decidedly “weird” Conservative government in place, there is already talk of privatising Radio 1 and stripping the BBC of all its radio output, with the exception of the gold-standard speech station Radio 4 and its suite of regional radio stations. One thing is certain – change is inevitable.

In days gone by, the radio bosses at the BBC could afford to look down on the fragmented commercial radio station as they tried bundle music into demographics and prescribe a computer generated playlist that would unite the UK.

But increasingly commercial stations are finding more distinctive voices. Under the flagship motto ‘‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’’ LBC, the London area radio station working from studios above TGI Fridays in Leicester Square, seized on the binary and emotional debates around Brexit and built a schedule from opinionated hosts who included Nick Ferrari, James O’Brien and Eddie Mair.

Famous for “muscular conversations”, the station has made a virtue of being free from the BBC’s tangled notions of impartiality.

To add more spice to the mix, this week saw the launch of a new Scottish network – The Big Light – owned and managed by the radio broadcaster Janice Forsyth and her business partner, the television producer Fiona White.

They have ambitious plans to aggregate great podcasts and speech radio from Scotland and take them out there to global audiences. It is a real opportunity for the first wave of independent podcast producers to join a bigger network and for Scottish speech to be aggregated into a movement.

America already has a range of similar networks, among them Gimlet and Wordery, and another new podcast giant Luminary has secured $100m of venture investment and is pursuing a subscription model not unlike Netflix and Sky Sports.

The Big Light is much more modestly funded but it is a huge opportunity. It has the same hopeful aspirations that once triggered the emergence of the television independent production sector in Scotland in the 1980s, around the launch of Channel 4.

I should declare an interest. I will be contributing to the network with a strand of podcasting known as Talk Media and providing advice and strategic thinking. My driving motivation is to encourage an innovative and risk-taking media venture owned and based in Scotland in the first days of a better nation.

The days of Scotland waiting for London to invent or shape our media are over and although the Big Light network will face substantial challenges in the years to come, we should at least try to help it on its way.

One of the rules of what makes a great podcast is that there are no rules. It can be local, global, obsessive, passionate, polemical, big broad brush strokes or finely crafted words. It can be intellectual or proudly superficial. However, some trends are emerging. One of the charming innovations of The Big Light is that it has commissioned the oldest podcaster in the world Ida Schuster, a 101-year-old former actress whose life story as a Jewish migrant into Glasgow is awe-inspiring. She was a founding member of the Jewish workers’ theatre movement of the Great Depression, befriending and collaborating with left-wing playwrights such as

Clifford Odets, Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller, many of whom were blacklisted by Hollywood in the McCarthy era for their radical beliefs.

According to Podcast Movement, the world’s largest community of podcasters, true crime and crime fiction are hugely popular in almost every market. This is in part due to the American success of Sarah Koening’s true crime podcast Serial a multi-award winning 12-part series of true crimes stories told with care and precision.

The opening series about the murder of Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior in Baltimore, set standards that suggest the podcast audience want complexity, cliff-hangers and carefully planted clues that change the investigation. To tap into this vein for high-value true crime, The Big Light is launching Unspeakable Scotland, with among others Denise Mina and Val McDermid, and has a dedicated Tartan Noir show presented by Theresa Talbot which will keep listeners informed about Scottish crime literature.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already weighed in with an interview with author Ian Rankin, the creator of Rebus.

In a week when the licence fee has come under threat from a vengeful Tory government, one fact remains true. The BBC dominates audio-on-demand in the UK. Three quarters of people surveyed by regulator Ofcom said they’d listened to a podcast of a BBC radio programme, the highest of any type of podcast.

BBC iPlayer radio was cited as the most popular audio-only service for accessing podcasts across all age groups and the speech app, Sounds, is buoyed by cross promotion from popular BBC shows on radio and television.

Something unprecedented is happening to our media. Firstly the rise of the so-called SVOD services, streaming video-on-demand channels such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, is eroding traditional viewing patterns, whilst the rise of AOU, audio-on-demand, is chapping away at what we once thought was the settled world of speech radio. To paraphrase WB Yeats “the centre cannot hold”, and the planned schedules of the past are no longer suited to life on the move and a more capricious market place where people make their own choices.

As broadcasting changes and faces periods of unimagined turmoil, it is incumbent on Scotland’s creative producers to navigate their way through change and to ensure that we have the framework for a new era, no matter what. The Big Light is one small initiative among many and if you like to listen to intelligent talk about a wide range of subjects, listen to their podcast and turn the light on for others.

The Big Light is a podcast network. Its shows are delivered by Apple and Spotify. Stuart Cosgrove hosts the media debate programme Talk Media with Eamonn O’Neill. It’s available every Thursday.