The type of audience you are set to broadcast to is very crucial and necessary to any right thinking and creative broadcast programs producer or presenter. One of the very early steps in radio programmes production is identifying the audience towards which the programme is targeted.
A clear understanding and knowledge of the targeted audience will assist you in generating contents for the programme effectively. Audience Research and Consideration is so important in media production; so much that India as a country has a stakeholders body of Broadcasters, Advertisers, Advertising & Media Agencies to oversee the audience measurement system in India named BARC.
The audience refers to the general body of free citizens of a given society or some smaller geographical space. The connotation of an audience is strongly influenced by democratic theory since freedom and equality of rights are generally only available in a democracy.
The members of a genuine public in a democracy are free to associate, converse, organize and express themselves on all subjects. This large notion of what constitutes the public is one reason why public communication has certain claims to protection and to respect in a democracy.
Responsibility of the Producer/Presenter to a Broadcast Audience
As a programmes producer, you have to make efforts to recognize various audiences and appeal to them in order to win support and a favorable image among your general public, usually by ways of news/contents management and carefully planned initiatives designed to foster positive impressions in the society your audience belongs.
Ethical, ideological, political and legal considerations may also lead to much stronger definitions of an audience as in the case of interest groups or numerical majority. In any case, the media should always meet the needs of their audiences. Historically and in certain context each time the media overlooks her publics it runs into severe problems.
Importance of an Audience to a Broadcast Station
The audience is by conventional wisdom the most important of the clients of a broadcast station. It influences the environment of any media organization. This is the conceptual space that exists in a society outside the immediate circle and the walls of enclosed institutions and organizations pursuing their own goals to give the producers something to think about.
The audience is also a strong and high determinant for the commercial of any programme. Programmes on sectors with high financial prowess are more chanced to remit more returns to the broadcast station through sponsorship and commercials. The oil and gas, banking and finance, housing and investment as well as telecommunication are the highest money-making sectors for broadcast stations.
Also a commercial on kids’ products such as Pampers, toys and games, children events should not be placed on political programmes. Logic will argue that it is not a bad choice since the elderly audiences listening to the political programmes are indirectly the target market since they possess the financial strength to patronize such advertisers on behalf of the direct target market.
Advertising experts would however explain that the psychology and interest of such elderly audience listening to that programme is at the moment not inclined towards such product and else would not take as much interest as it would if the commercial was on a children show.
Hence, the most important and challenging part of programming is thorough and proper understanding of the various audiences. As stated earlier, audiences are groups of individual people clustered in a bunch. The general public is the totality of such grouping of people with shared ideology.
Broadcast audiences are segmented into target and general audience. The target audience is the main audience which you have to research what interests them and weave your programme around such. They are the reason for the program while the general audience are all the audience in whole or put together.
Determinant of the Types of Audience for Radio Programmes
- Social Status
- Active Audience
- Inactive/Latent Audience
- Informed Audience
- Equally Knowledgeable Audience
- More Educated
- Physically Challenged
- Emotionally Hurt
Any information churned out of the radio is seen as sacrosanct and truthful. Therefore, the producer/presenter bears the responsibility to understand that at the other side of the radio are people with diverse interest, diverse identity, diverse thoughts and diverse intellect.
There are some who even understands the topic of discussion on your radio show more than you as the producer/presenter does. And this is more of the reason why you have to ensure that your research is well conducted so as not to come off as being half-informed.
This often becomes a challenge especially when you on the flipside have a less informed audience as well to whom you still have the responsibility to break down the topic of discussion to the minutest bits so as to ensure that they also have a clear understanding after listening to your show.
To balance both sides, it is advised that you always have resource person. While you understand a fair bit of the topic, your resource person have a better grasp and together you create that balance. In the real sense, your audience tends to benefit more using this strategy; who understands PTSD more than someone who has suffered from it? Who understands Stock Exchange more than someone in that industry?
Key Factors in Understanding Your Target Audience
Programming is likened to a factory. Hence, it has to be filtered in order to churn out different shades of broadcast products. When you get the product, you need to know or discover your target audience or public.
When you are given a certain time space to run a programme, engage in the following in order to understand your target audience.
This is where ideas begin to show up. You get reminded about people, places, themes that could aid your ideas.
At this point you need to ask questions. Understand the boundaries and the guidelines, name the programme and give it a format.
What sort of people is this programme meant for; their make-up, customs, beliefs, religion, ideology? What language do they speak? It is important to realize that your number one target audience is your competitor. This can be in the form of a Radio station with the same broadcast theme as yours or a show with the same programme philosophy as yours. Either ways, always ensure that you dazzle them with your aesthetic appeal.
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