Not only what you do, but how you do it

Date of publication: July 1, 1995

Author: Tony Twyman


Radio listening varies widely in terms of context and therefore, in quality and importance to the respondent and in accessibility to memory. On top of the core listening associated with regular behaviour choice and high motivation is a great deal of casual listening initiated by other family members or out of home. Techniques vary in their ability to capture the latter. The other main dimension of variation is the representativeness of the sample obtained; those very readily available tend to listen more. Generally, diary techniques yield higher levels of listening than recall and where studies are well conducted it is the higher levels that correspond most closely to validation by coincidental surveys. The evidence reviewed here identifies factors affecting response and shows that both techniques are very sensitive to variations in procedure. Generally it is important to make the diary as simple as possible and the station choices relevant and brief. For recall the more effort that is made to reconstruct the day's events the more listening is likely to be recalled. In Germany a thorough reconstruction of daily routines captured more radio listening than diaries. Sampling must be designed to capture the busier respondent and a correct demographic profile. Local broadcasting conditions are likely to interact with some of these findings and 'harmonisation' may not be easy. Possible electronic developments such as a personal meter identifying signal source are awaited with interest.

Tony Twyman


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