A Study of Audience Research by Broadcasters: the Case of Radio Fana

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Addis Ababa University


Although audience information and feedback are essential for improvements of media working trends, the values of them have been less appreciated by broadcasters. This is because the broadcasters and their audiences have asymmetric relationship; i.e., often there is one-way communication that has been existed between them. Especially, broadcasters in developing countries have less interested in conducting and processing audience research and least integrated it in the organization structures. Mainly, journalists in the broadcasting media have accomplished their work on the basis of personal hunch by thinking that “what interests them would interest the audience.” Carrying out persistent audience research by broadcasting organizations can significantly undertake the above problems, and using audience data for their activities have paramount importance for the improvements of the media as well as in practicing journalism. Therefore, this study, under the title of “A study of Audience Research by Broadcasters: the case of Radio Fana”, is interested in examining the process and conduct of audience research that are made by Radio Fana. In achieving the above aim, individual in-depth interviews are made with three senior reporters, three chief-in-editors, five-producers and three audience researchers, and document analysis is also employed. Purposive sampling is applied to select documents for analysis and informants for interview. The focus of the study is on the quality of audience research, the appropriateness of the tools, the effectiveness of Radio Fana in practicing audience research and the extent of the application of audience research results. In relation to its quality, measurements are the level of qualification of audience researchers, the support and acceptance of the audience research, the involvement of the journalists and the development of high-quality research environment. In relation to the appropriateness of the tools, there are measurements; such as, the precision of data gathering tools, the chance of producing apparent data for each programme and the acceptability of evidences. In relation to its effectiveness and the extent of the application of the results, the measurements are the contribution of audience research in decision making process, format development, audience development and organizational planning. The results of the study show that processing and conducting audience research has become the culture of Radio Fana. It is also true that the findings and recommendations of audience research have been implemented averagely. The study finds some indicators of the medium improvement which have brought through audience research; such as, the signal quality of the station, the style of programme presentation, the different formats of the programmes, the number of advertisers, sponsors and partners, and the size of staff.



Audience Research