Shortcut: Jenny the Apprentice (pp. 221-224)

On Jenny Morgan's first day as an apprentice sound technician at BRMB in Birmingham, she is met by her boss, Mr Johnson. They talk a little about commercial radio.

First of all Mr Johnson explains that radio listening very often is a secondary activity. That means that most people listen to the radio while doing something else.

So the typical listener is not really paying attention to the radio. This means that radio stations must avoid anything that is difficult to understand. Radio hosts use everyday language.

If they do not do this, fewer people will listen to them. For a commercial radio station, this means that they make less money.

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Music is important for all radio station, and they may play music for up to 70 % of the time. They also use music to reach their target group. Different age groups like different types of music. Very few radio stations try to please everyone. So the music a radio station plays is meant to appeal to the audience or age group the station tries to reach.

Finally Mr Johnson explains that prime time for radio is in the morning before people go to work and in the afternoon when people come home. They also have quite a few listeners in the daytime. In the evenings, TV dominates.

Shortcut activity

a Explain in your own words what it means that radio is a secondary activity.
b Why is it so important for a radio station to have many listeners?
c Can you explain what a target group is?
d When is prime time for radio?