Monday, June 11, 2007

Commercial radio asks listeners what they think

Because they're always grumpy about their regulator - even a regulator which, really, is about as in control as the titular babysitter in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, the commercial radio sector in the UK is trying to fight against Ofcom's latest set of proposals by holding a big debate, called The Big Listen.

The survey is being promoted on commercial radio - which means it won't really be very good at finding out what people who don't already listen commercial radio want to hear on the radio - and appears to only be online, at a stroke disenfranchising the 16 million Britons who have never been online.

Those who do make it on might feel the questions are somewhat skewed. Take, for example, this proposition with which you are asked to agree or disagree:

I like to hear well-known personalities and celebrities on my local radio station

Is it just us being suspicious, or does that seem a little bit like they're expecting everyone to say "yes", thinking the question means "do you enjoy it when David Essex is interviewed on Radio Little Rissington", only for the statistics to be used to justify simulcasting one programme across many networks - "statistics show that listeners love being able to hear the big names on their stations..."

The agenda is slightly less hidden on this question:
As long as my local station gives the information I need, I don’t mind where it’s broadcast from

but still, it's not as honest as phrasing the question "It makes no difference to me if my local station is actually broadcasting from outside the area", is it? And the sort of people who get annoyed that their 'local' voice is actually coming from a tower block in central London have abandoned the stations where the survey is being promoted anyway.

Then there's this question:
In the future radio should be available on as many devices as possible

Since it's technically possible to broadcast radio through a toaster, does strongly agreeing with this mean you're signing up for a receiver to really be built into anything possible?


1 comment:

James said...

Will this survey be as open and interactive as the average commercial radio Request show? If so, I don't think I'll bother voting. The results were probably chosen by a computer program some time last week.

"For question 1, can I say that I like hearing well-known people interviewed on my local station, but that I don't want you to give presenting jobs to ex-Big Brother contestants who know nothing about music?"
"Sorry, that's not on our answerlist."

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