Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment

Title chapter: Researching the young radio audience
Author: Maria Gutiérrez
Keywords: radio consumption, young, audience, Internet, methodology
Abstract: In 2008, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) proposed some guidelines to radio broadcasters designed to activate the recovery of younger listeners. They did this after observing that radio’s penetration among the youngest sectors was in decline. According to this report, the key to halting this decrease was to join forces with the Internet, since the latter accounted for the main lack of interest in radio among this particular demographic, especially as far as music radio was concerned. The main focus of the guidelines was therefore on the online environment. What was recommended was that attention should be paid to website development and promotion with particular emphasis on the issue of interactivity. However, taking these steps might not in itself be enough to halt young people’s loss of interest in radio. Understanding and interpreting this disaffection also requires the use of methodological research tools— including the study of quantitative data provided by audience measurement companies, organisations that analyze the listening habits and expectations of young people. In this chapter, the methodological tools designed to address this communicative issue will be examined in some depth. The findings confirm that a new approach is needed for the study of radio audiences.
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