The FoR3 Blog
The quarterly RAJAR listening figures are always good for plenty of press coverage. We are not immune and tend to attempt a regular analysis of the tiny amount of data that is published.
The Controller of Radio 3 posed a good question: does it matter whether the listening figures are up or down? To which the answer might be, Yes, no, perhaps.
It would depend why they were up or down. For example, if Radio 3′s reach shot up substantially as a result of vigorous ‘marketing’ at classical concerts, in music colleges, in schools; or concerts and recitals became once more a regular part of mainstream television, with information and tie-ins to programming on Radio 3, that would be ‘good’, wouldn’t it?
But if Radio 3 had been targeting a ‘broader public’, researched what they didn’t like about current programmes, and what kind of programmes they would like, modelled its programmes on popular radio, dropped the challenge and breadth of repertoire, introduced ‘easy listening’, that would be ‘bad’ wouldn’t it?
A fall in listenership is probably never welcome; except that if Radio 3 alienated its core audience by trivialisation, by tiresome chat, by repetitious repertoire, and many listeners switched off as a result, it might be ‘good’ in saying to management ‘not this way’.
But does management ever know exactly why new listeners start tuning in and existing listeners switch off?
Let’s hope so, as how can you have any sort of strategy at all if you have no way of comprehensively assessing the results, beyond ‘up’ good, ‘down’ bad?