For the next chapter in discussion about the recent Community Radio Listenership figures radioinfo went to the source, and has received this response to Joan Warner’s comments from McNair Ingenuity Research.
The Community Radio National Listener Survey was conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research between March and May 2004 and comprised a national sample of over 5,000 people aged 15 and over.
The sample was generated from a national listing
of all residential phone numbers on a random basis, and a thorough callback system was used to ensure
that the sample was representative of the whole population according to McNair Ingenuity Research.
McNair Ingenuity’s Matt Balogh says the Community Radio National Listener Survey “was funded by the Federal Department of
Communications, which reviewed the methodology and sampling, and monitored the progress of the
study through a committee established to oversee the study.
“It is statistically incorrect to suggest that the sample of 5,014 people is insufficient. The margin of error
(at the 95% confidence level) is less than 2%.”
The survey found that 24% of Australians aged 15 and over listen to community radio at some stage in a
typical week. On average these community radio listeners spend 7.7 hours per week listening to
community radio. Among community radio listeners aged 55+, the average time spent listening to
community radio is over 12 hours per week.
In some areas of Australia, such as the Northern Territory, community radio is listened to by 42% of the
population aged 15 and over in a typical week.
Throughout Australia, 4% of people aged 15 and over
listen only to community radio, and not commercial radio or the ABC. In many areas this is because
there are no or limited commercial radio services.
Balogh says: “In order to obtain their information, the Nielsen Media Research surveys use diaries which list only the subscribing
commercial and ABC stations that are in each market. We have no reason to believe that the NMR
audiences for these stations are unreliable.
“However, if a respondent listens to a non-listed station, he/she has to tick the quarter-hour(s) under the
‘other AM/FM’ heading. There is no ‘prompt’ of individual stations.
“Because community radio stations
are not listed in the diary, any listening to them is clearly under-reported in the NMR surveys.
“In the Community Radio National Listener Survey, the call-signs and positions on the dial of all
community radio stations in a market were read out to all respondents. In other words, there were
‘prompts’ of individual community stations (in the same way that there are ‘prompts’ of individual
commercial and ABC stations in the NMR surveys).
The resulting total audiences of community radio
stations are reliable according to McNair Ingenuity Research.
Contrary to the statements made by Joan Warner, the Community Radio National Listener Survey is accurate and representative says Balogh. “The survey does not make ‘exaggerated claims’ and these claims are not ‘erroneous’. Her comments are not accurate.”