Dear Busi and Denis- our other facilitator,
Denis, thank you for joining us in this eDiscussion and for sharing the resource about knowing your audience and how to turn the listenership into money.
Now let me embark on Week 2: Knowing your audience - how can you turn your listenership into money?
My experience and ideas:
- What are your top suggestions for getting to know your audience?
Below are my suggestions for getting to know my audience.
a) Doing audience research:-
In doing audience research, I suggest the people in-charge of programming or in charge of some programme like a Farmer programme at the Radio station like Producer, Presenter and or Manager of the station can work out a proposal and they themselves as a team can get down to their audience.
A selected sample of the target audience/listeners within the area of coverage of the radio station can be targeted and be asked about the station. Or if the radio station has finances, it can hire experts that are good at doing such audience research to do it on behalf of the station.
This can better be done by asking general questions like;
• How do you receive information?
• What channels do you listen to for information?
• Have you heard of this Radio station? Asking about your own station…
• What programmes have you heard on this station?
• What programmes do you like most? Why?
• Have you heard about this Farmer programme?.. in case they do not mention this particular farmer programme and when you are interested in knowing about your particular farmer programme.
Know the reach within which the radio station broadcasts and the type of audience/s that listen to it. For example; if the radio station is city based, one has to know who the majority listeners are in the city. Are they farmers, business people, political minded, youth or a mixture of all these categories. But of course in the city, you do not expect many farmers, although farming is embraced by many people including urban dwellers.
Then the programmes or farmer prgramme has to be suited in the best way it can be liked to attract business for instance. But also, if the station is national, a public broadcaster or community based? Then one has to know what the people are- bearing in mind that most of the people in rural areas are mainly dependent on farming or agriculture for their livelihood. So they can suggest what they feel they want to hear in this type of programme.
b) The language or languages that the target audience/s do speak. For instance, if a radio station is a national or public broadcaster, this type of radio has to have a diversity of languages to serve! Even the smallest native language or dialect has to be catered for. So here, the audience becomes for all or for majority of the population. And therefore, the audience here is known for all.
But if the station is rural based or for a specific community, the audience is for the specific location mainly. So the main language or languages in this particular community is identified and known as the listeners or audience. So the programmes are designed in such a way that majority of the population is catered for.
c) Know what the listeners or the audience like to hear during certain peak of the day, duration in the day or during some seasons. For example; listeners have their listening habits.
In my village for example; they listen to some educative programmes like farming between 11:00 hours and 14:00hrs. After this, they are either back to their fields if it is planting season, weeding or harvesting. Or they engage in other activities like selling kiosks, going to trading centres or going to drink for some men and women who drink alcohol.
Even when they go to the gardens or fields with their radio receivers like the case today…they listen to such farmers progarmme in that range of time. After which, they wish to relax their mind by tuning to listen to music on other stations and entertainment programmes.
- Is there a relationship between knowing your audience and how many regular or dedicated listeners you have? Please explain.
Yes, there is a relationship in that my audience is composed of all those that listen to my programmes and i know them or the programmes that go on air. And these are either regular, rare or ardent listeners/regular listeners to the radio programmes or station I work with.
The relationship is that I have for years known the ardent/dedicated/regular listeners who even call in other programmes presented by other presenters especially in the languages that they understand. So i know their listening habits as an audience and as regular listeners.
Okay, I have like 30 dedicated callers who call in the programme/programmes that I present on radio. But once in a while, I get feedback that more than this number listen to me regularly but cannot call-in every time and can even not call at all but enjoy my programmes and listen in whenever i am on air. Also, this depends on how long a programme takes.
For instance if it is an entertainment or musical programme that takes two hours and above, I get more regular listeners in that particular programme.
- What information about your audience helps you attract potential advertisers or program sponsors?
It is when they call-in the programmes or tell us when we go to them that they want to get an organization or groups that can help them or connect them to better markets or sell to them affordable and genuine farm inputs for the case of the farmer programme.
Also, water being a key element in agricultural production, they always tell me that they want water to be able to produce throughout the year. So they say government or other organizations with affordable equipment should help them. And i see potential here to attract sponsors to my programme.
So I feel this information can help me to look for some companies that deal in inputs that are genuine, research companies, agro-input dealers and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) that can support farmers. With this, I can attract them to sponsor the programme. And this can promote their activities in return.
- Do you have any success stories of getting funding for your farmer programs? Please share the details of your experience.
Yes, some years back, I got some sponsors of the farm programme that I used to present like 10 years ago. It was about market information in which farmers, traders were like informed of the best prices, in specific locations, the farm products fetching a higher price and on market at a particular time. We used to get payment monthly for one year. At the same time, we the presenters were also paid each month separately.
The only challenge was: We did not involve the farmers as the centre in this to suggest what would work for them and what they required. The organization that sponsored the programmes could just drop scripts that we used to present in the various languages. We did not do audience researach to know the impact of the programme it created on the audience.