Audiences: How to find them

enadmin, 21st November 2011

Community broadcasters together produce thousands of hours of radio weekly. So how do we know if anyone is listening? Where do we find new ways of reaching them? 

There are many challenges for community stations when it comes to finding out who is listening, how many are listening, and why they are listening. 

These difficulties stem from the fact that 4% of stations find it hard to maintain community support and engagement, and 7% find audience development a challenge.

To alleviate these issues, McNair Ingenuity Research conduct the National Listenership Survey and Station Census, in collaboration with CBOnline, every two years.

This research is a vital tool for community stations to use for marketing purposes, to attract sponsors, and to determine audience numbers.

Matt Balogh of McNair Ingenuity Research spoke at this year's CBAA Conference for the 'Counting the Ears - Audience Research session'.

Matt spoke about the techniques used to conduct the Census and listenership surveys, and touched on how stations can determine their audience figures in cost-effective ways.

"The secret to it all...the number one thing is designing the questions, people don't realise how critical that is...", Matt says.

Listen to the full interview with Matt Balogh here.

The 'Community Engagement Forum' at the CBAA Conference raised the question of how community radio stations can accurately measure if and how they are reaching their desired audience through online outlets.

Ben Teoh, the Graduate Project Officer of Online Content with Connecting Up Australia, believes that global technological advancements make it easier to create and connect with communities of people.

“Each platform tends to cater for a certain kind of audience, so you can use Facebook differently to the way you would use Twitter” he says.

Teoh says stations need to consider using video sites like Youtube and live streaming as well as using popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

“Because we’re going to see higher broadband speeds, more people are going to be using video as a means of communication” he says.

“For radio broadcasters, it’s going to mean mixing things up in terms of content and thinking about how we can engage people outside of the regular time slots”.

 Listen to the full interview with Ben Teoh here

Finding ways to reach audiences that we know exist from these surveys and online outlets then becomes the challenge.

Emma Johnson, the Marketing and Sponsorship Manager at 3DMR, has developed a program as a new way of reaching audiences in the community sector.

In the 'Relationship and Revenue Building' workshop, Emma talked about the '3MDR Live Sessions' project that she has recently launched at 3MDR this year through her show The Hills Hoist

The project aims to bring artists from 3MDR's license area into the studio weekly for live performances. 

"Sponsorship seems to be magnetised to the strong concept and the revenue it produces has been beneficial to the stations development," Emma says.

 (Picture courtesy of cogdogblog)

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*Past webinar - click through to view webinar recording*
This session will instruct participants on how to read the results of the most recent National Listener Survey and translate this data into information that can be used to accurately describe their listenership to their community, the regulatory body and prospective sponsors.


*Past webinar - click through to view webinar recording*

The Station Community Engagement Survey is a do-it-yourself, affordable audience research program for community radio stations.


The National Listener Survey has been carried out by CBAA in partnership with McNair Ingenuity Research since 2004. The surveys provide invaluable feedback to the community broadcasting sector and local community stations about trends, listeners and the sector itself. This information is freely available to the community broadcasting sector via a series of Fact Sheets, and can be used as part of marketing & sponsorship proposals.