Community Radio Audience Research (Thematic stream: „Researching Community Media Audiences“)
Abstract: There are a number of debates as to the merits and validity of conducting formal audience research in the setting of a small community radio station.
It has been suggested that the small numbers involved may invalidate quantitative audience research at a small community station. Furthermore, the high social value and impact of community radio is not well measured by the same audience ‘number crunching’ techniques relied on by larger commercial radio stations. However this paper suggests that both quantitative and qualitative audience research are applicable to the community radio sector. This may be within the audience members of individual stations or also more generally across the community radio broadcasting sector. In particular it urges community radio stations to conduct their own audience research using simple techniques, which produce data that other researchers may have confidence in. The paper details some tested practical quantitative and qualitative techniques that may be used by even the smallest community radio stations.