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Re-inventing public service radio : mixed-method study on digital talk radio

Kristin Van Damme (UGent) and Sarah Van Leuven (UGent)
Author
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Abstract
Historically, public service broadcasting has three central aims: pass on information, provide entertainment and promote cultural activities. The traditional approach of broadcasters to meet these goals yet needs to be redefined in a context of digital media and convergence, as reflected in the changing conceptualization of public service broadcasting (PSB) to public service media (PSM) (Van den Bulck & Donders, 2014). This study focusses on how digital audio might meet with the informational value of PSB. Under impulse of the government, the Flemish PSB plays an innovative role within the newscape, broadening their scope in terms of technology (e.g. radio and TV broadcasts are accompanied by websites and mobile applications), content (e.g. linear watching or listening is accompanied by online audio and video fragments) and PSB as a brand (e.g. PSB channels are accompanied by cross-over initiatives). Yet despite these efforts, PSB is struggling to connect with a changing audience that has the ability to be active media produsers (Bruns, 2003) instead of passive media consumers. This is especially apparent in the group of young adults with strong digital skills and busy lifestyles (Digimeter, 2015). This study aims to answer the question how PSB can use digital platforms to rethink their informational value so that they can reconnect with the busy audiences of settled pre-families and families with young children (25-45y). More specifically, this study investigates by means of a mixed-method design how a new digital audio service might serve as an interactive and personalized informational platform. We expect that the potential of digital audio to reconnect with this group is significant because of (1) their active, lean-forward news use, (2) their familiarity with various technological devices, and (3) their busy schedule and changing family situation. New habits of media use are developed within this group, since personal media use is challenged by these recent changes of the family situation: either by living together (ref. settled pre-families) or having children. A first exploratory phase aims to map how digital audio serves as a worthwhile media outlet and fits in their everyday life. Four - internally homogeneous and externally heterogeneous - focus groups (N=31) were organized, bringing together settled pre-families, young families, commuters by car and by train. Results show that a smartphone application which offers personalized content that combines editorial selection with a user recommendation system is perceived as a useful information source. In contract, a social recommendation tool (i.e. sharing via social media platforms) is not considered as important. Second, a survey (N=400) is launched - and currently running - to measure the value of audio via information (e.g. audio is a flexible medium and can easily be combined with other activities) and the importance of interactive features to personalize audio (e.g. topic or duration). Based on these research steps, a framework of an informational tool will be presented, both to the first pool of informants from the focus groups and new informants. Results will allow PSBs to gain a better understanding of the busy lifestyles of settled pre-families and families with young children. Moreover, the value and potential of an informative innovation will be tested and validated. Bruns, A. (2003). Gatewatching, not gatekeeping: Collaborative online news. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, 107, 31-44. Digimeter (2015). Adoption and usage of media & ICT in Flanders. Unpublished report, Ghent, iMinds.Van den Bulck, H. & Donders, K. (2014). Of discourses, stakeholders and advocacy coalitions in media policy. European Journal of Communication, 29(1), 83-99.
Keywords
radio, public service broadcaster, public service media

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Van Damme, Kristin, and Sarah Van Leuven. “Re-Inventing Public Service Radio : Mixed-Method Study on Digital Talk Radio.” Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts, 2017.
APA
Van Damme, K., & Van Leuven, S. (2017). Re-inventing public service radio : mixed-method study on digital talk radio. Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts. Presented at the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap : innovative methods in communication research, Tilburg, the Netherlands.
Chicago author-date
Van Damme, Kristin, and Sarah Van Leuven. 2017. “Re-Inventing Public Service Radio : Mixed-Method Study on Digital Talk Radio.” In Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Damme, Kristin, and Sarah Van Leuven. 2017. “Re-Inventing Public Service Radio : Mixed-Method Study on Digital Talk Radio.” In Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts.
Vancouver
1.
Van Damme K, Van Leuven S. Re-inventing public service radio : mixed-method study on digital talk radio. In: Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts. 2017.
IEEE
[1]
K. Van Damme and S. Van Leuven, “Re-inventing public service radio : mixed-method study on digital talk radio,” in Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts, Tilburg, the Netherlands, 2017.
@inproceedings{8506616,
  abstract     = {{Historically, public service broadcasting has three central aims: pass on information, provide entertainment and promote cultural activities. The traditional approach of broadcasters to meet these goals yet needs to be redefined in a context of digital media and convergence, as reflected in the changing conceptualization of public service broadcasting (PSB) to public service media (PSM) (Van den Bulck & Donders, 2014). This study focusses on how digital audio might meet with the informational value of PSB.
Under impulse of the government, the Flemish PSB plays an innovative role within the newscape, broadening their scope in terms of technology (e.g. radio and TV broadcasts are accompanied by websites and mobile applications), content (e.g. linear watching or listening is accompanied by online audio and video fragments) and PSB as a brand (e.g. PSB channels are accompanied by cross-over initiatives). Yet despite these efforts, PSB is struggling to connect with a changing audience that has the ability to be active media produsers (Bruns, 2003) instead of passive media consumers. This is especially apparent in the group of young adults with strong digital skills and busy lifestyles (Digimeter, 2015). This study aims to answer the question how PSB can use digital platforms to rethink their informational value so that they can reconnect with the busy audiences of settled pre-families and families with young children (25-45y). 
More specifically, this study investigates by means of a mixed-method design how a new digital audio service might serve as an interactive and personalized informational platform. We expect that the potential of digital audio to reconnect with this group is significant because of (1) their active, lean-forward news use, (2) their familiarity with various technological devices, and (3) their busy schedule and changing family situation. New habits of media use are developed within this group, since personal media use is challenged by these recent changes of the family situation: either by living together (ref. settled pre-families) or having children. 
A first exploratory phase aims to map how digital audio serves as a worthwhile media outlet and fits in their everyday life. Four - internally homogeneous and externally heterogeneous - focus groups (N=31) were organized, bringing together settled pre-families, young families, commuters by car and by train. Results show that a smartphone application which offers personalized content that combines editorial selection with a user recommendation system is perceived as a useful information source. In contract, a social recommendation tool (i.e. sharing via social media platforms) is not considered as important. 
Second, a survey (N=400) is launched - and currently running - to measure the value of audio via information (e.g. audio is a flexible medium and can easily be combined with other activities) and the importance of interactive features to personalize audio (e.g. topic or duration). Based on these research steps, a framework of an informational tool will be presented, both to the first pool of informants from the focus groups and new informants.
Results will allow PSBs to gain a better understanding of the busy lifestyles of settled pre-families and families with young children. Moreover, the value and potential of an informative innovation will be tested and validated. 

Bruns, A. (2003). Gatewatching, not gatekeeping: Collaborative online news. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, 107, 31-44.
Digimeter (2015). Adoption and usage of media & ICT in Flanders. Unpublished report, Ghent, iMinds.Van den Bulck, H. & Donders, K. (2014). Of discourses, stakeholders and advocacy coalitions in media policy. European Journal of Communication, 29(1), 83-99.}},
  author       = {{Van Damme, Kristin and Van Leuven, Sarah}},
  booktitle    = {{Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2017, Abstracts}},
  keywords     = {{radio,public service broadcaster,public service media}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  location     = {{Tilburg, the Netherlands}},
  title        = {{Re-inventing public service radio : mixed-method study on digital talk radio}},
  year         = {{2017}},
}