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Recap: The Who, What, and Why of Audience Research

By November 14, 2014January 4th, 2017Industry News

In the day-to-day of running a radio station questions of who listens to your stations and why can get put on the back-burner. Engaging them may seem like a luxury that you – in the face of having too much to do, not enough time, and constrained resources – just cannot afford. In her webinar “La Hora del Radioescucha: Audience Research and Measurement,” Ginny Berson delivers a compelling case that will challenge you to reconsider. If you are a member of NFCB or LPRC, you can find a full video recording of the presentation by clicking the link above. For the highlights, read on …

So what’s the value of audience research in the first place? It provides a service to your community and your station.

  •  You need to know if you are fulfilling your mission and providing a valuable public service – audience research can tell you if you are on the mark
  • Underwriters and foundations want data to quantify impact and reach – audience research gives you this
  • Systematically surveying your listeners and/or community gives you valuable information to inform programming decisions
  • Audience research enables you to make sure you are actually reaching who you think you are (you may be surprised)

What can audience research give you?

  • Quantitative demographic data
  • Insight into why people listen to your station, what they listen to, what your community cares about, what kind of programming balance appeals to your target audience

How do you do it? Suggested steps:

  1. Decide what data/information you want to gather. What do you want to know?
  2. Once you decide what you want to know, you can determine who you need to talk to. Do you need to survey the community at large or just your listeners?
  3. PIck your method – focus group? surveys? conduct your own research? partner with a university and/or researcher? buy data from an entity like the Radio Research Consortium or AudiGraphics (look up other stations who have done audience research to capitalize on what others have learned)

Tips and Tricks for Success

  • Find a partner to do research. If available, approach your local college or university – students and professors need projects and you may be a perfect fit
  • Look at examples and get in touch with your peers to learn from others
  • In your research tool, ask specific questions
  • Keep surveys short
  • Be very clear about WHO you want to talk to
  • Don’t base decisions on anecdotes and don’t make programming decisions from one survey alone
  • Write money for research into grants you apply for, and budget for at least two years worth of research
  • Remember that it’s a self-selecting group of people who respond to surveys and so be careful how much you read into the data

And most importantly, do it. What you stand to learn is worth the time, effort, and money.

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