FEEDBACK AS A PROGRAMMING TOOL ON FM RADIO A STUDY OF MALONEY FM
1.1 Background to the Study
Radio programmes intended to serve the audience are expected to generate feedbacks. According to Onabajo (2003), programme is a broadcast material created to meet certain specific needs or attain some sets of objectives and transmit to some predetermined target audience. Programming has to do with determining the kind of programme to make, the belt or slot in which to bring them out, the target audience, the ratio of programme type in relation to the ones being produced, the general objectives that programme sets out to attain and also specific objectives (Bittner, 2005). Broadcast programming involves articulate and strategic selection of programmes for desired purposeful ends, functional programme mix, appropriate scheduling, and a good timing, targeting functional result-oriented presentation on radio or television. Generally, broadcast stations air thousands of hours of programmes each year and the amount of people watching or listening to specific programme depend on the extent to which the programme appeals to them.
Audience remains a key concept in the media. This is because radio are produced with audience populace in mind. Radio producers need audience for their programmes. Since electronic media generally thrive on commercials, their viability is usually determined by the number of audience they are able to present to prospective advertisers. Hence, the interest of advertisers in a medium hinge on the level of audience patronage such a medium enjoys. Radio attract and retain audiences by the quality of programmes. Radio programmes are usually planned with particular audiences in mind. Thus, a producer has the responsibility of explaining to the broadcast institution, who is the likely audience for a particular programme. Because of this, a lot of resources are usually committed to audience research. Oftentimes, programmes are shaped or reshaped based on audience reactions (feedback). Apart from the imperative of audience research, generally, broadcast media do feel the pulse of the audience through feedback mechanism such as audience participatory programmes (phone-in programmes). Other feedback channels include: text messages, letter, e-mail, audience interaction forum, focus group discussion and social media.
In the past in Nigeria, radio and television were regarded as unidirectional media. This is reflected in the popular Yoruba appellation for them “A soro ma gbesi” that is, he who speaks and wait for no reply. However, with modern advances in information and communication innovation such as satellite technology, telephony and the Internet, it has become possible for the electronic media to know their audience spread and to interact and to receive instant and delayed feedbacks from them.
Historically, in Nigeria, electronic media had a close link with cultural and political factors unlikethe print media which came through missionary activities Anyawu (2011).The development of radio was by intent and purpose to strengthen the hold of the British colonial master of the colony. Besides, broadcasting was aimed at selling the culture and economic system of the British to the colonies. The development of radio came under two eras; that is the era of wired and wireless broadcasting. Wired broadcasting was commissioned in Lagos in 1935 and was known as Radio Distribution Service (RDS) or rediffusion. By rediffusion or radio redistribution method, programmes were relayed from the monitoring centres of the empire service of the British Broadcasting Corporation by means of wires connected to loud speakers installed in the homes of subscribers. Programmes relayed by rediffusion were programmes of the BBC.
Apparent from the foregoing are three basic factors. One, the era of wired broadcasting in Nigeria was meant to serve the interest of the colonial officers, that is, it was designed with no local audience in mind. Two, since RDS was not designed to serve the local audience, it had no local programme with which local audiences could interact nor react to. Thirdly, until the era of wireless broadcasting, RDS subscribers had no radio set but mere loud speakers attached to the corners of their houses and over which they had no control. Evidently, radio broadcasting under the era was actually a unidirectional medium. Although the era of wireless broadcasting witnessed a dramatic turn of events – all RDS stations became fully operational radio stations and thus marking the beginning of local radio programme production in Nigeria, the availability of limited technology for audience involvement made source-receiver interaction impossible, hence the status quo of unidirectional flow of information remained under wireless broadcasting era.
Following the arrival of digital interactive media, social media and the global system of mobile communication, public perception of radio and television broadcasting changed. The audiences can now interact easily with both producers and presenters, send in their views, comments, opinions and concerns through text messages, e-mail, phone-in programmes, Facebook, Twitter or visit the stations to express their minds Asemah (2013). This drastic change occasioned by new communication technology, no doubt, must have impacted on programme quality and general efficiency of media outfits. However, this area has not received much attention of investigators in Nigeria, thus the challenge this research effort is designed to address.The study aims at examining the various feedback channels as a programming tool on fm radio
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Public perception of radio broadcast has changed tremendously in Nigeria. Broadcast media which was once regarded as unidirectional media in the traditional setting is now dynamically interactive. With the floodgate of various channels opened, audiences participation and involvement in broadcast programmes have increased significantly. Audiences get back to the broadcast stations through channels such as phone-in programmes, social media (face book, twitter, Skypeetc.), e-mail, discussion group, direct visit to stations, letter and text messages to express their opinions, feelings and views not only about public issues raised by the media but also about the media programmes which they are exposed to. Broadcast stations also see great opportunities in harnessing audiences‟ feelings, views and opinions as necessary feedbacks to improve programme effectiveness. With these increased audiences‟ involvement and volume of feedback, one would expect effective programme output from the stations. However, this can only happen if actually such feedbacks harnessed are incorporated into radio programmes. This constitutes the focus of this investigation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine if there are any feedback channels available Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi
- To analyze the frequent use of feedbacks in Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi
- To investigate whether broadcasters in Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi believe that feedbacks affect programmes positively
- To investigate the composite contribution of feedback channels to the effectiveness of radio programmes in Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi
- To find out the relative contribution of feedback channels to the effectiveness of Radio programmes Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi?
1.4 Research Questions
To address the specific demands of this investigation, the study sought to provide answers to six questions:
- What are the feedback channels available Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi ?
- How frequent are the feedbacks from the channels being used by Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi?
- Do broadcasters in Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi believe that feedbacks affect programmes positively?
- What is the composite contribution of feedback channels to the effectiveness of radio programmes in Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi?
- What is the relative contribution of feedback channels to the effectiveness of Radio programmes Maloney FM 95.9 Keffi?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant to three groups of people in the society:
Broadcasters and media managers and
Mass communication students.
To the listener who is the ultimate consumer of media message and whose reaction and attitude towards broadcasting messages are under analysis, this study will provide answers to question which mechanisms, it working in FM broadcasting.
For the operatives, this study will have an unbiased focus on their success and failures in the areas of educating informally and entertaining and failure in this assignment based on in effective use of feedback as a yardstick for determining audience participation and the effectiveness of communicated messages. This study will also point areas of lapses and suggest measures of improvement.]
On the part of mass communication students, the study will ai m at putting them on a sound footing for the chosen carrier or think its relevance to broadcasting.
There is a general misconception that very little use is made of feedback, the media managers always run the risk of bombarding and disturbing the listeners comfort, state of mind with programme packages which the listeners deems irrelevant. Also programmes and presenters remain unchanged. One may at this point say that the listener does not have choice as to the pattern and style of programming.