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Programming Causes Audience

"Programming causes audience" is public radio’s shorthand for the direct relationship between the programming decisions we make and the listeners we have. It reminds us that our audience is no accident, and that its size and composition are always under our control.

Programming is a lot like bait. What we catch depends on what we set out. Honey draws bees, worms catch fish, and a hunk of liver will bring stray cats to your door. But the liver won’t do much for the bees or the fish, and the cats won’t come around for honey or worms.

In the same way, certain kinds of listeners are attracted to certain kinds of programming. So when we choose what we air, we select who will listen – and also who won’t.

Of course, listeners aren’t prey, but we do want to capture their attention and loyalty. We can do that best when we understand as much as possible about their interests and qualities.

In this first chapter, AUDIENCE 98 offers key characteristics of public radio’s listeners and demonstrates how different programming causes different audiences.


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Audience Research Analysis
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Revised: September 01, 2000 12:38 PM.