Marketing for public radio in competition

Date of publication: June 15, 1993

Author: Josef Eckhardt


The paper consists of two parts. The first one describes the quantitative use of radio on the basis of representative surveys in Germany. According to topical data radio listening in the eastern part of the country is significantly higher than in the western part. The percentage of public radio programmes’ daily reach is decreasing. People between 14-49 years of age listen more and more to commercial radio programmes. The second part outlines motives for programme preferences, gratifications of listening to the radio and image developments of competing public and commercial radio systems. This part of the paper is mainly based on group discussions in the western part of Germany. Listeners of public radio service programmes appreciate the high quality of information, but they are not as happy with the personal approach in programme presentation. Followers of commercial radio programmes justify their preference by the argument that speakers are spontaneous and make their topic sound not as complex. Especially young people enjoy programmes which do not demand whole attention. The marketing strategy of public radio system in competition must cope with a dilemma, if importance will be given to the high value of the programmes, the legal task of the companies will be fulfilled, but listener ratings would decrease. If the stress will be laid on popular aspects of the programmes, fulfilling of the legal task could be queried. In both cases licence fee system, the main financial resource of public broadcasting, would be endangered. The paper discusses the chances of a marketing strategy which considers both aspect.

Josef Eckhardt


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