KBOO Surveys & Community Meetings
December 2007-May 2008
Through our surveys and community meetings, we reached core listeners and members who value KBOO’s independence, progressive views, diversity and local community connections. These listeners asked for better program and production quality with well-prepared, well-presented hosts and fewer technical mistakes: improve the radio basics. They’d like new programs with new voices, positive attitudes and exciting music mixes along with a better schedule—while preserving their favorite shows. The website should have the basics like multiple streams, playlists and podcasts. More outreach and promotions was a frequent request.
We asked specific questions about Democracy Now! and learned, not surprisingly, that people who currently listen like to listen at the current time but there are a number of options for morning and evening drive-time slots. We did learn that Democracy Now! is much more popular than previously estimated.
Please find more survey details at http://kboo.fm/node/7935.
Why do you tune in or out?
Listeners tune in for progressive views, political analysis and debate. They also enjoy learning something new, connecting with local communities and hearing diverse voices.
Listeners tune out because they don’t like the music, they don’t like the next program that comes on, or the host is preachy, unprepared or boring.
Members asked for an improved air sound with new voices, improved quality and professionalism, and more local & positive items.
How would you describe KBOO?
Our core listeners believe that we are true to our mission. Top picks were: independent, diverse, progressive, community and informative. The negative categories (such as irrelevant, monotonous, etc. ranked low). In community meetings, free speech, community connections, culture, local news and progressive politics were valued.
What would you change about KBOO?
This question drew rich responses with 547 participants offering 1,343 responses. The common themes were:
Program and Production Quality: Hosts should be objective and prepared, with a better presentation: not preachy, ranting or rambling. Hosts need to improve on radio basics including back announcing, controlling callers, introducing guests, cueing recording and mikes correctly, and—especially—speak clearly with a good radio voice. Listeners request more local news and “positive solutions.” The community meetings reflected the same desire for improved quality as discussed above, along with the idea of reaching more groups and combining local and global perspectives.
Format: With our format split, we often find that listeners either want more music or more public affairs. While 546 respondents tune in for hear progressive politics, 522 tune in for music. In the written comments, a common response was more music with a more interesting music mix. Stale programming came up in response to several questions: new shows, new hosts and/or new music mixes. Better organized programming but also more variety came up. This is a question for KBOO: how can we offer variety, but make the station listenable.
Promotions: Listeners and volunteers want to see more outreach, advertising, events, work with community organizations and outreach volunteers. Virtually all respondents heard about KBOO through word of mouth or by randomly scanning the dial. This speaks to opportunities in advertising, outreach and Web. Outreach was a huge issue at community meetings.
Technical: While respondents generally favored KBOO over other radio stations, we were ranked lower on web presence and technical quality. Respondents would like better signal coverage (which is not available), and more online options. Many of the technical problems reflect training issues for on-air personnel and others are due to the fact that we cannot expand our signal strength or coverage area. For the web, respondents want first streaming, music playlists community calendar, archived show search and podcasts.
When would you like to hear Democracy Now?
Current listeners, want to hear it at the current time, no surprise.
Looking at the Democracy Now online and paper survey: After 5pm, 8am and 7am are the second, third and fourth choices, but the choices are close. One question that this survey did not ask is whether the respondents listen to any radio at 7 or 8 am. The group is curious about this because the results do not match radio listenership or KBOO listenership patterns. Respondents broached several possibilities that we are considering such as going head-to-head with NPR, broadcasting outside of working hours or broadcasting twice per day.
In the member phone survey: 61% of our members listen to Democracy Now. If the program is moved, 8am and 6pm drive time are the top picks, but there is not one clear choice
. 42% would listen to news & talk at 4pm, but only 32% would listen to news & talk at 7pm. About half would listen to folk and roots at 7am.
While there are preferences for particular slots, 7-9am and 5-7pm slots all score relatively close to one another. However, we also learned that our listeners, like most radio listeners, are more likely to tune in during the morning than the afternoon or evening.
What are your five favorite programs on KBOO?
1. Democracy Now! 224
2. Music From the True Vine (Bluegrass) 145
3. Joe & Abe (Talk Radio) 90
4. Grateful Dead 87
5. Presswatch (Public Affairs) 79
6. Positively Revolting (Talk Radio) 74
7. Evening News 73
The surprise here was Democray Now! because it doesn't do particularly well during the drive, but it was far and away the top choice among online survey respondents, and 61% of the members surveyed by phone listen to the program. As a side note, pledges for Amy Goodman tickets constituted 10% of our Spring Membership Drive total.
Most other KBOO shows appeared somewhere in the responses, but the top-tier responses are listed below. Overall, news/talk and music both appeared to do equally well. A more extensive analysis would involve membership drive analysis, Arbitron tune in/tune out data and other items from program staff.
About the Respondents
The Survey For Change drew 822 responses. This is a self-selected group. Promotions included KBOO website, e-mail, listener guide and airwaves as well as CNRG and IndieMedia mailing lists. The survey was also picked up by blogs at local newspapers.
Respondents are primarily dedicated core KBOO listeners. The largest number of respondents listen 4-10 hours per week (as opposed to many casual KBOO listeners who tune in fewer hours) and have been listening more than ten years. Overall station listenership is dropping, but respondents are listening to KBOO more than they have in the past and generally ranked KBOO superior to other stations. Furthermore, respondents listen at home throughout the day, and not just in their cars or during drive time. At the community meetings, most attendees were current programmers, volunteers and staff with some long-time non-volunteer members.
Respondents are traditional radio listeners as who surf the web but are less interested in podcasts or mp3 players.
Half the respondents were 45-64 and 78% were European-American, and most earn under $40,000 per year. 18% identified as LGBTQ.
The Democracy Now! online and paper survey was distributed at the Amy Goodman event and on the website. This survey drew 421 responses.
Two community meetings attracted about 150 people. Current programmers, volunteers, staff and board made up most of the audience with a few member-listeners and a few non-members. Again, this was a core audience. Not surprisingly, their views largely followed the Survey For Change results (with even greater emphasis on community and outreach).
Finally 107 members (97 were current members) were polled in a random phone survey. This was an older and whiter group (91% European American and 61% ages 45-65).
About the Survey Group
Board Member Judy Fiestal led the survey effort based on input from KBOO staff and working with volunteers Patrik McDade and Genevieve Matthews, consultant Carri Munn and Station Manager Arthur Davis.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The station Program staff are developing on-air changes for this summer and winter. In addition to the surveys and community meetings, we are looking at non-listener surveys, focus groups, a Station Assessment by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, competitive analysis, programmer peer evaluations, staff evaluations, a variety of retreats and listenership and membership data. There will be a many factors, but we are committed to reaching more listeners while maintaining our mission and core values.
Democracy Now change ranked by members in phone survey: 7am-15%, 8am-24%, 9am-15%, 5pm-14%, 6pm-23%, 7pm 9%