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L'opinion publique dans le monde anglo-américain

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Jean-Paul Regis

British public opinion and the new radio stations

Robert Tatham

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1It is often claimed that surveys permit the public to make its opinions known on various issues and thus enable people to influence government plans. It is also said that surveys can help governments to overcome the resistance of vested interests to new policies which clearly have popular support. In reality the relationship between surveys and government policy may be rather different. Our aim here is to study the role played by surveys and public opinion in one particular field the creation of new radio stations in the United Kingdom. These new stations can be divided conveniently into three groups, beginning in the 1960s with the pop stations, continuing in the 70s when 'Independent Local Radio' came on the scene, and concluding with the latest wave of free stations, which are perhaps the forerunners of community radio or simply of a third force in sound broadcasting.

2Our objectives for each of these three periods are threefold. Firstly to measure public opinion expressed on the question of choice of radio programme, evaluating the impact and popularity of the various types of station. Secondly to discover how broadcasters have used survey results in their battle for or against the new radio networks and, thirdly, to determine to what extent surveys and public opinion have really influenced recent British broadcasting policies.

3Obviously it was not an easy task to obtain statistics on such a subject. Many figures have been bandied about at various times but few are the result of truly scientific research. The rest are simply estimates, 'guesstimates' or pure fantasy. Only the more serious studies are included here, although occasionally other data can be useful to confirm certain findings.

4Many of the statistics come from audience surveys. This at least avoids one delicate problem. Many members of the public will tell researchers that they require services of quality and distinction, but only until the moment of choice, when many listeners will immediately tune into services providing, say, entertainment and information rather than culture and educational programmes. In a recent study, 54% of respondents admitted that they would never listen to the kind of programmes they had requested. The ratings at least have the merit of reflecting some kind of reality, informing us which programmes listeners actually tune in to. Of course this is not to say that audience surveys are a perfect tool of investigation. Naturally they tell us very little about gaps in the market - what else people might have liked, if other services had been available. Nor do they reveal how much people have appreciated what they have heard.

Pop Stations of the Sixties

5Our story opens one misty evening just before Easter 1964 when a very strange vessel with an enormous mast anchored off the Essex coast. The ship waited a few hours in pregnant silence. Then on Easter Saturday, the powerful transmitter was turned on and in one stroke Radio Caroline was born and the BBC's monopoly of sound broadcasting abruptly terminated.

  • 1 Aged 17 and over.

6How successful was the station in attracting an audience? It would certainly seem to have been popular and evidence from three sources confirms this impression. Firstly the new station was inundated with mail, receiving some 20,000 letters during its first ten days on the air. The first survey was run by Gallup Polls and revealed that in the Caroline transmission area (which was probably underestimated at 19 million people of all ages living in the South and East) 7 million adults1 had tuned in at some time or another during the first three weeks. Certainly advertisers were convinced and contracts worth many thousands of pounds poured in from mid May onwards.

  • 2 Including those, for example, by Attwoods (October 1964), NOP (March 1966) and Richard Meyer Assoc (...)

7Offshore radio rapidly expanded. By the end of the year Caroline had two ships - one in the North and one serving the South - and four little sisters around the coast. Further surveys confirmed the success of the pirates in general and Radio Caroline in particular. Some were carried out for the stations, others by advertising agencies, which as clients had an interest to minimise the number of listeners and hence pay less for their spots. All the surveys2 pointed to sizeable audiences but the statistics, compiled in different ways, are not that easy to collate.

8In May 1966, a joint research committee was initiated by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the offshore stations. It was able to bring a little order to the scene. The first approved survey of the commercial radio audience was commissioned soon after and was carried out by National Opinion Polls (NOP). The results are summarised in Table 1:

TABLE 1. Offshore radio audiences

On air date

Weekly reach July 1966

Radio Caroline

27.03.64

8,818,000

Radio London

05.12.64

8,140,000

Radio 390

23.99.65

2,633,000

Radio England

03.05.66

2,274,000

Radio Scotland

31.12.65

2,195,000

Britain Radio

03.05.66

718,000

Source: NOP survey of commercial radio audience

  • 3 Number of people listening at least once per week.

9To put the figures in perspective, the weekly reach3 of the commercial stations, whether beamed into Britain from Luxembourg, ships in international waters or platforms in the North Sea, amounted to 45%, that is more than the total for the three services provided by the BBC.

10As Parliament reassembled in Autumn 1966 to discuss the pirates' future, the BBC entered the fray with its own figures. These purported to prove, first, that more than three quarters of the population "never, or hardly ever" listened to the offshore stations. Next came a radio league table. Top of the charts was the BBC Light Programme, to which 69% of the population listened daily or nearly. In second position was the BBC Home Service, which attracted 38% of adults, whilst the regular audience for all the pirates together was given as only 16%, or just over 6. 25 million people per day. That was less than a quarter of the daily audience claimed for the Light Programme and much, much less than the 27 million listeners that NOP had counted in the Summer.

11The offshore stations and the pollsters were not slow to react and the BBC had to justify its findings. It soon transpired that the BBC had had a postal survey conducted by its own Audience Research Bureau among a sample of about 5,000 people chosen at random from the electoral roll - which in those days listed only those over 21. Next the timing was dubious. The BBC had made its enquiries in January and February 1966 when Caroline's South ship had run aground forcing the station off the air, before the arrival of Radios England, Britain and 270 and in the very early days of Radio 390 and Radio Scotland... At best the BBC results were simply six months out of date.

  • 4 Households possessing a radio set had to obtain a licence, which was only valid for listening to a (...)

12The questionnaire design also left much to be desired. Whilst a number of stations had been listed in detail, the offshore broadcasts had been lumped together as "one of the pirate stations", thus assuming that people knew which stations were pirates. Of course the word 'pirate' itself could also be construed as being derogatory. Respondents were aware that the survey was being carried out for and by the BBC and could therefore be loath on the one hand to disappoint the Corporation and, on the other, wary of openly declaring that they listened to unauthorised stations, an act which the authorities frequently warned was illegal.4 Finally BBC supporters were more likely to send back their replies.

13The BBC was not moved, however. Its spokesmen felt that the weekly reach quoted by the pirates was simply designed to inflate audiences. One executive (Frank Gillard) riposted that if the BBC figures were added to the number of listeners claimed by their competitors, then he wondered how the people of Britain found the time to do anything else but listen to the radio!

  • 5 The number of hours spent listening to the radio were estimated by the BBC at an average of 8 3/4 (...)
  • 6 Research Marketing Bureau data, corroborated by other studies.

14In fact the BBC was both right and wrong. Whilst the daily audience may make sense as a parameter when there is little choice, it probably does not when the audience can choose between several stations. Nor was the BBC really competing with the pirates. There is little evidence, then or later, that the Corporation lost many listeners. On the contrary, the upsurge of interest in the medium probably increased listening in general and the BBC doubtless benefited, too.5 The BBC probably had not realised that radio had changed. The advent of transistors and car radios meant that many people were by then listening to the radio as a secondary activity. We know now that only about one quarter of listeners pay a lot of attention to the radio, the other 75% do something else at the same time.6

  • 7 Caroline Cash Casino.

15The final word came from Caroline. In an effort to prove its popularity beyond doubt, it organised a competition.7 Entries poured in, the millionth letter was delivered during the eleventh week and an amazing total of four million were received in six months. Those who doubted that Caroline had a big audience were shown the mailbags!

16Meanwhile the political situation had evolved. Back in 1964, Caroline had appeared at the end of thirteen years of Conservative rule and only months away from a general election. The Conservatives were thus in an embarassing situation. After thirteen years in power, they could not point to a single development in radio. On the other hand they did not want to discourage potential Conservative voters by stopping Caroline, so they logically opted to forget the question whenever possible.

  • 8 The Act was to make it an offence for a Briton to be connected with offshore radio, either by work (...)

17The Labour Party were obviously against radio services involving private companies and profits, and unenthusiastic about advertising. They won the 1964 elections, but only by three seats, so they continued their predecessor's double policy of threats but no action. In 1966 they won a comfortable majority at the polls and took advantage of a violent feud between rival pirates battling for possession of Radio City to introduce a Bill designed to force the offshore stations out of business.8

  • 9 In November 1966, Radio 390 claimed an audience of 4 million listeners (source - and accuracy - un (...)

18The following year the pirates had climbed to new heights of popularity9 and other surveys inquired into public opinion on the subject. Table 2 gives overall percentages for the different points of view, together with breakdowns for men and women and according to people's political preferences:

TABLE 2. Offshore radio and public opinion"

19"Do you think commercial radio stations should be banned or allowed to continue?"

Men

Women

Con.

Lab.

Lib.

Banned

19%

22%

16%

23%

21%

20%

Allowed to continue

69%

71%

67%

63%

68%

66%

Don't know

12%

7%

17%

14%

11%

14%

Source: NOP Survey of adults (over 16)

20Notice incidentally that the highest proportion of people wanting to ban the pirates was to be found in Conservative ranks.

21MPs were also polled. 65% of Conservative members were in favour of the offshore broadcasts, whilst a majority of Labour members wanted the stations closed.

  • 10 In fact the Marine, & c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act, to give it its full, though rather clumsy, (...)

22The Marine Offences Act10 came into force in mid August 1967 and one by one the stations closed, and their disc jockeys bade farewell to their fans and announced their imminent return to Britain. Strangely, it was only then that the pirate crews realised the real power of their medium, for they were greeted by thousands of supporters on arrival in the ports and in London. Possibly a more concerted and more aggressive campaign might have allowed public opinion to make itself more felt. As it was, only Caroline continued to defy the authorities.

  • 11 Quoted by Paul Harris: When Pirates Ruled the Waves, London & Aberdeen: Impulse Books, 4th edition (...)
  • 12 Up from 25 million to a daily average of 27 million. The BBC was always strangely reticent about p (...)

23That Autumn the BBC set up Radio 1, introduced local stations and revamped the old Light Programme as substitutes for the different pirates. The Corporation unashamedly set about producing carbon copies of the offshore formats. Robin Scott, a top executive, admitted that some of the techniques of commercial radio would be used and added "we have professional admiration for what the pirates have done".11 The audiences surveys, though, were somewhat disappointing. Radio 1 only added a couple of million extra listeners to the BBC's total.12

Independent Local Radio

  • 13 Radio Caroline and Radio NorthSea International (RNI), broadcasting from off the coast of Essex.
  • 14 B. Clement: "The LBC News... A Drastic Profits Drop," Sunday Telegraph, 16 August 1981.

24With a little help from the pirates13, the Conservatives won the 1970 elections and immediately undertook to start an "alternative service" of independent local radio (ILR) stations. Ivor Richard, a Labour spokesman, considered there was no need for another network and promised to reverse government policies when Labour returned to power, but to no avail - the Sound Broadcasting Act was passed in 1972 and the first two stations came on the air in London in October 1973. Capital Radio and especially LBC (the all-news service) got off to rather a shaky start. One observer later remarked about the latter that "everything that could go wrong, did"14 and audiences and surveys were no exception. Table 3 recapitulates some of the statistics compiled at the time.

TABLE 3. Independent radio audiences in London weekly reach, 1973-75

L.B.C.

Capital Radio

November

1973

1,000,000 (1)

871,000

540,000 (2)

Jan/Feb

1974

580,000 (3)

1,677,000

April

1974

490,000 (4)

June

1974

671,000 (5)

September

1974

846,000 (6)

Oct/Nov

1974

1,000,000 (6)

1,600,000

May

1975

1,623,000 (7)

3,074,000

Sources: (1) Small NOP diary survey
(2) Fuller NOP aided recall survey, not published at the time
(3) NOP
(4) Aided recall survey commissioned by Capital
(5) Quota sample, 1,000 street interviews
(6) VHF area only
(7) JICRAR, Spring 1975

  • 15 The area receiving a good quality FM signal, the marketing area, the total survey area (TSA) etc.
  • 16 Number of listeners per day, per weekend, per week, percentage reach, listening time, audience sha (...)

25As can be seen the results are a researcher's nightmare. The surveys investigate two different stations, were conducted by different firms, using different methods, different sample sizes in different areas15 at different times (or even at the same time, but with wildly varying results). Whilst the table only sets out the weekly reach for the two stations, the data published at the time includes a host of other parameters16 for a variety of broadcasters.

26Furthermore, few people in the UK had any experience of local commercial radio and the figures were regularly quoted, misquoted and misunderstood.

  • 17 Terry Smith, managing director of Radio City, quoted in AIRC News, 7 December 1974.

27New independent stations came on the air at regular intervals but fortunately they were generally far more successful than in London. This was not to the liking of the BBC which retaliated by publishing its own research findings, which in every case greatly reduced the audiences of the commercial stations. Matters came to a head on Merseyside where Radio City commissioned no less than three NOP surveys before declaring that "apart from getting our own audience figures completely wrong, the BBC have underestimated the audiences of Radios 1 and 2 and BBC Radio Merseyside and grossly exaggerated the audience of Radio 4".17

  • 18 Quoted by Tony Stoller: "As Millions Hear", Independent Broadcasting (11), April 1977, p. 24-25.

28Once again the BBC had to justify itself. This time it was discovered that their surveys were national and therefore did not include enough people to furnish reliable estimates for local areas. It was not until 1977 that the BBC could announce the completion of "the revisions to the suite of computer programmes needed to incorporate ILR listening"18, tacit acknowledgement that its earlier work was probably inaccurate.

  • 19 £ 100,000 for a survey in 1977, when there were only 19 stations on the air.

29The independent sector had by then established its own research programme. If the commercial stations were to sell advertising time, they had to convince the advertisers that they were getting value for money. A joint industry committee on radio audience research (JICRAR) was once again the answer, bringing together representatives from the advertisers (the ISBA) and the advertising agencies (the IPA) as well as the radio companies (the Association of Independent Radio Contractors or AIRC). This committee sets standards and scrutinises each research project. The contracts are then offered for tender and are carried out by a major independent market research company (generally Radio Surveys of Great Britain or RSGB). These surveys use the diary method, which, whilst it may have flaws, has been proved in America to produce data which is very close to the median result compared with other methods. It should perhaps also be pointed out that such surveys, paid for by the radio stations themselves, are quite expensive19 and are a good deal more thorough and far more scrupulous than research on, for example, local newspapers.

30The first set of JICRAR approved figures were published in 1975 and are summarised in Table 4. A couple of other results have been added to make the top ten more complete.

TABLE 4. Commercial radio audiences in 1975 weekly reach, Spring 1975

1.

Radio Caroline

3,600,000

(1)

2.

Capital Radio, London

3,074,000

3.

LBC, London

1,623,000

4.

Piccadilly Radio, Manchester

906,000

(2)

5.

Radio City, Liverpool

876,000

6.

BRMB, Birmingham

774,000

7.

Radio Forth, Edinburgh

413,000

8.

Metro Radio, Newcastle

394,000

(3)

9.

Radio Hallam, Sheffield

345,000

10.

Swansea Sound

175,000

(4)

Sources: JICRAR approved surveys, March, April or May 1975 except
(1) NOP
(2) November 1974
(3) VHF/FM zone only
(4) dipstick survey

31Radio Clyde (Glasgow) does not appear to have surveyed its audience at this time. It would probably have ranked between LBC and Piccadilly.

  • 20 Labour Party Study Group: "The People and the Media", 1974.

32Back on the political front, 1974 had seen the return of a Labour government. That year a party study group reiterated bleakly "we see no future for commercial radio as such".20 Roy Jenkins took responsibility for broadcasting and faced the awkward decision of what to do with a developing system of advertising financed stations. Finally, Labour limited ILR to 19 instead of the planned 60 stations and resuscitated the Annan Committee to study broadcasting and make recommendations for the future.

  • 21 The Annan Committee: Report of the Committee on the Future of Broadcasting. London: HMSO (Cmnd 675 (...)
  • 22 The Annan Report, p. 205, § 14.2.

33The Annan Committee published their report on 24 March 1977. Two quotations are of interest. The most famous, at the beginning of the chapter on our subject states bluntly "at present local radio is in a mess".21 The other, an assessment of public opinion on the matter, warned that "unless plans are made to make local radio available more widely, we think Governments will be faced with intolerable pressures".22

34Labour ministers were still not sure what to do with the medium and asked members of the public to send in their ideas. By far the greatest number of replies concerned the future of local radio. By that autumn a decision on commercial radio was overdue in view of the need to present Labour policy during the forthcoming election campaign. The following March the long awaited White Paper was published announcing that both local radio networks would be allowed to expand. The fact that ILR attracted about half the listeners in the areas it then served doubtless had some influence on the government. Table 5 lists the audiences for the different stations in 1977 and traces developments from then on.

TABLE 5. Radio audiences, 1977-84

35Weekly reach

1977-80:

18 areas

(10 BBC local radio stations)

1982:

28 areas

(27 BBC local radio stations)

1984:

40 areas

(28 BBC local radio stations)

Stations

Spring 1977

1980

1982

1984

ILR

49% (13.6M)

52%

52% (17.2M)

42% (15.0M

BBC Radio 1

48% (13.5M)

48%

45% (14.9M)

44% (15.7M

BBC Radio 2

41% (11.5M)

42%

39% (13.0M)

35% (12.5M

BBC Radio 4

30% (8.2M)

24%

24% (7.8M)

21% (7.4M

BBC Local Radio

19% (5.3M)

18%

18% (5.8M)

16% (5.7M

BBC Radio 3

10% (2.7M)

9%

8% (2.7M)

8% (2.7M

Any other station

7% (2.5M

RTL 208/Radio Luxembourg

7% (2.0M)

6%

4% (1.4M)

4% (1.3M

Source: JICRAR Surveys of adults aged 15 and over

  • 23 The Home Secretary has recently agreed to another four conventional ILR services being advertised. (...)

36The expansion of ILR recommenced under Labour and continued under the Conservatives after their victory in the 1979 polls. Applications for the last station (Oxford & Banbury) were invited last summer.23

Free Radio in the Eighties

37However, the politicians have once more been overtaken by developments and yet again the state approved broadcasting system - now a duopoly - has been directly challenged on the airwaves. To tell the truth, offshore radio, in spite of government action, shipwrecks, hi-jacks and bad weather, never completely died. Against all the odds, 'the good ship Caroline' struggled through the seventies broadcasting mainly album tracks. In January 1984, she was joined in the North Sea by another pirate, Laser 558, which pioneered the 'all hit radio' format and built up a tremendous following.

  • 24 A clause may well be added to the next Broadcasting Bill to make this a specific offence.
  • 25 168 raids were made on 41 London stations by DTI officials between January and June 1988.

38Other loopholes in the law were exploited on land where pirates realised that by moving quickly, they could outwit the law. With no specific legislation to stop advertisers from announcing their wares,24 the unauthorised stations could even earn their keep and have flourished in the big cities and even some of the rural areas. The authorities are strong enough to bother such stations25 but powerless to stop such activity entirely. As one station is closed, another one or two pop up elsewhere. It is estimated that there are some 40 free stations operating in London alone and about three dozen in the rest of Britain. There are more pirates broadcasting regularly today than there are legal commercial stations in the UK.

39It is not that easy to gauge the support that these unauthorised stations enjoy. By their very nature, their broadcasts are liable to sudden interruption, which renders audiences more difficult to count. A series of studies was eventually tracked down and these at least shed some light on public opinion on the subject. Data produced for other purposes also gives some indications. In all cases there is reticence about publishing the results.

  • 26 This category excludes the local ILR service (s), the BBC national and local stations and Radio Lu (...)

40The figures from 1984-85 are particularly interesting, partly because of the presence of three offshore stations in the Thames Estuary, partly because several landbased pirates had been broadcasting continuously for several months. The JICRAR survey (see Table 5) shows that 7% of the British population, that is 21/2 million people listened to "other stations"26. However, when one looks closer at particular areas, the scores are much higher. In Essex, no less than a quarter of adult inhabitants tuned in to "other stations", which obviously included Caroline and Laser558 anchored nearby. The highest level was 33% in Surrey. This gives some indication of the drawing power of Radio Jackie, probably one of the most famous unauthorised broadcasters. Its regular audience would appear to have been in the region of 300,000 people. Other above average percentages for "other stations" were recorded throughout the South and East as well as in other areas of the United Kingdom.

  • 27 Broadcasting Research Unit (BRU) study of The Audience for Community Radio in London partly conduc (...)

41Various studies confirm the public's enthusiasm for "community radio".27 The breakdown of these percentages revealed no marked differences according to class, place of residence or age, though those aged over 55 are known to show much less interest in new stations. The concept of community radio is obviously rather vague. In fact public opinion is split on the kinds of community radio desired. On the one hand there is demand for neighbourhood or "inclusive" stations, serving a community clearly defined by geographical boundaries. All programmes would be in English, yet would minimise the differences between races whenever possible. Formats would be similar to Radio 1, Radio 2 or Radio Jackie, that is, music and news with an emphasis on what is happening locally. Such stations would reflect local concerns, such as current affairs, traffic news, entertainment and so on. This is the kind of community radio largely favoured by most whites.

42Many ethnic groups would prefer "exclusive" stations, each designed for a particular minority, managed and run by them and dealing with their problems. Programmes would be produced in their own language if necessary. Such stations are favoured by the Asians, who apparently dream of services like those of India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, playing their music, broadcasting in Hindi or Urdu and with little or no contact with mainstream culture. These stations would promote and protect their languages, culture and religion. Conflicts between Sikhs and Hindus, even amongst Islamic co-religionists (Pakistanis vs. Bangladeshis) mean that several stations would probably be needed. Nevertheless many Asians are also keen on the "inclusive", neighbourhood type station. This reflects their desire to be a part of the local community and would enable them to show how their views and behaviour often differ little from those of other groups in British society.

  • 28 So important that GCR, the unauthorised Greek Language station in London, struggles on despite hav (...)

43The Greeks and Greek Cypriots are deeply committed to securing a legal future for a Greek language station, especially to serve the needs of older members of their community who have never learnt English. The Greek landbased pirates have proved very successful and their historical programmes, news from Cyprus and job advertisements are felt to be particularly important.28

  • 29 Black music provides the format for half or more of the London stations. Apart from soul and regga (...)
  • 30 Or what some term "a variant on standard English".

44The Afro-Caribbeans also show enthusiasm for new stations but propose several formats. Black professionals stress the political aims (e. g. items on the Third World, black success stories, etc.) whilst the working class debate music policy, some clamouring for soul stations, others for reggae.29 There is no consensus and probably they would also need more than one station. However, all agree on the importance of black atmosphere and the English language.30 Many whites also greatly appreciate the black music stations currently operating in London.

  • 31 Such action extends beyond English shores. The British authorities escorted Laser 558 into port in (...)

45It need hardly be added that Conservatives traditionally support free enterprise and have consistently followed policies to encourage business in Britain in the eighties. Radio, however, is a glaring exception, which is all the more surprising since so many observers have underlined the enterprise culture that dominates the pirate scene. Rather than encourage what has been called an "in demand sector of the economy", "a burgeoning industry" or "a better media YTS than any in existence", the government has responded by increasing the budget of the Radio Investigation Bureau to over £ 1. 5 million and the pirates are regularly seized and forced off the air.31 Harsher anti-pirate legislation has been introduced and more measures are expected in the next Broadcasting Bill.

46The Home Secretary has nevertheless listened when the creation of a third force in radio has been mooted by politicians and businessmen. Official policy has evolved. A community radio experiment was promised - but cancelled without explanation in 1986. Then a discussion paper was published and now plans have been announced for three new national services and hundreds of local stations. Nothing has actually materialised yet, though.

47As far as sound broadcasting is concerned, despite the surveys showing how enthusiastically the British public has welcomed many of the new radio stations, only one network has been added to supplement the BBC in the last 25 years. Those in power have tended to dismiss such survey results and to reject calls for any major changes in broadcasting policies. It would thus appear that governments, whether Conservative or Labour, have defied British public opinion altogether.

48What can explain this refusal to open up the airwaves in Britain? Firstly, feeling within the political parties should be noted. We have seen evidence of this several times in the Labour Party. A similar, even if less marked trend is to be found within Conservative ranks. It was perhaps most visible in Conservative opposition to commercial television (ITV) in the early 1950s. It was still there in the 1960s - indeed Conservative voters were the most opposed as well as the most favourably disposed towards the pirates. After nearly ten years in power, that reticence has still prevented legal recognition of a third force in radio.

49Secondly, after analysing the figures for those in favour of new stations, one can look again to find those who are against. Though not in a majority, they are particularly numerous amongst Radio 4 listeners. There are more in London and the South East, in the over 55 age bracket and in the middle classes, particularly the As and Bs. In other words, many of the people from the groups that formulate policy and control the institutions. One can only wonder how long they will be able to resist change.

SOURCES SURVEYS AND STUDIES CONDUCTED for/by

50AGB Research, Association of Independent Radio Contractors (AIRC), Attwoods, BBC Audience Research Bureau, Broadcasting Research Unit (BRU), Gallup Poll, Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), Joint Industry Committee for Radio Audience Research (JICRAR), Marplan, Market and Opinion Research International (MORI), National Opinion Polls (NOP), Radio Audience Measurement Ltd., Research Marketing Bureau, Richard Meyer Associates Research Division, Radio Surveys of Great Britain (RSGB).

Bibliographie

BOOKS

Broadcasting Research Unit. Keeping Faith?: Channel 4 and its Audience, London: BRU/John Libbey, 1988.

HARRIS Paul. When Pirates Ruled the Waves, London & Aberdeen: Impulse Publications, 4th edition, 1970.

VENMORE-ROWLAND John. Radio Caroline, Lavenham, Suffolk: The Landmark Press, 1967.

Notes

1 Aged 17 and over.

2 Including those, for example, by Attwoods (October 1964), NOP (March 1966) and Richard Meyer Associates Research Division (May 1966).

3 Number of people listening at least once per week.

4 Households possessing a radio set had to obtain a licence, which was only valid for listening to authorised stations. To my knowledge, no one has ever been prosecuted for tuning in to an unauthorised programme. Indeed, as only about half the stations operating in Europe during the 1960s were legitimate, i. e. using internationally allocated frequencies and respecting power limitations, one could consider that British listeners to the others, including Radio Luxembourg, Europe Number One and Radio Vatican, were all committing offences!

5 The number of hours spent listening to the radio were estimated by the BBC at an average of 8 3/4 hours per week before ILR came on the air. In the early 1970s, the independent stations more than doubled this total, attracting listeners for more than 10-12 hours per week.

6 Research Marketing Bureau data, corroborated by other studies.

7 Caroline Cash Casino.

8 The Act was to make it an offence for a Briton to be connected with offshore radio, either by working for a pirate station, supplying one, advertising on their airwaves or publicising their activities.

9 In November 1966, Radio 390 claimed an audience of 4 million listeners (source - and accuracy - unknown). Britain Radio estimated it had 1.4 million followers by early 1967. By the summer of that year, Radio 270 (off the Yorkshire coast) had built up a weekly reach of 4 3/4 million (NOP, June 1967). Radio London was reaching 12% of Britons and 24% of those residing in the South East. The Caroline ships were boasting (NOP, 1967) 10 1/2 million (19% of the total British population). In the South East, despite strong competition, Caroline reached 27% of the inhabitants.

10 In fact the Marine, & c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act, to give it its full, though rather clumsy, title.

11 Quoted by Paul Harris: When Pirates Ruled the Waves, London & Aberdeen: Impulse Books, 4th edition, 1970, p. 139.

12 Up from 25 million to a daily average of 27 million. The BBC was always strangely reticent about publishing any precise figures for its local stations which at that time were confined to the FM band. The fact that only around a quarter of the radio sets in Britain could pick up FM transmissions (Gallup Poll Monthly Purchase Index) undoubtedly limited their audience to a tiny percentage of the population in the early days. By 1976 ILR sponsored research showed that the BBC local stations had built up a reasonable audience reach, though a low share of listening in the ILR areas. Radio 1, incidentally, never seems to have built up the kind of enthusiasm generated by the pirates, nor the loyalty bred by the independent stations.

13 Radio Caroline and Radio NorthSea International (RNI), broadcasting from off the coast of Essex.

14 B. Clement: "The LBC News... A Drastic Profits Drop," Sunday Telegraph, 16 August 1981.

15 The area receiving a good quality FM signal, the marketing area, the total survey area (TSA) etc.

16 Number of listeners per day, per weekend, per week, percentage reach, listening time, audience share, awareness of the existence of the new stations, satisfaction, etc.

17 Terry Smith, managing director of Radio City, quoted in AIRC News, 7 December 1974.

18 Quoted by Tony Stoller: "As Millions Hear", Independent Broadcasting (11), April 1977, p. 24-25.

19 £ 100,000 for a survey in 1977, when there were only 19 stations on the air.

20 Labour Party Study Group: "The People and the Media", 1974.

21 The Annan Committee: Report of the Committee on the Future of Broadcasting. London: HMSO (Cmnd 6753), March 1977. p. 205, par. 14.1.

22 The Annan Report, p. 205, § 14.2.

23 The Home Secretary has recently agreed to another four conventional ILR services being advertised. They will serve Yeovil and Taunton, the Borders, South-West Scotland and Milton Keynes, areas for which outline government approval had already been given. The Home Secretary has also asked the IBA to devise specific proposals for new radio services to be set up before new broadcasting legislation can come into effect and the IBA published its proposals for 20 such stations this autumn.

24 A clause may well be added to the next Broadcasting Bill to make this a specific offence.

25 168 raids were made on 41 London stations by DTI officials between January and June 1988.

26 This category excludes the local ILR service (s), the BBC national and local stations and Radio Luxembourg.

27 Broadcasting Research Unit (BRU) study of The Audience for Community Radio in London partly conducted by Marplan. MORI surveys in Richmond and Greenwich commissioned by the Greater London Council (GLC).

28 So important that GCR, the unauthorised Greek Language station in London, struggles on despite having been raided no less than 20 times between January and June 1988. The station was fined £ 14,000.

29 Black music provides the format for half or more of the London stations. Apart from soul and reggae, hip-hop, jazz and 1970s soul ('rare groove') are also played.

30 Or what some term "a variant on standard English".

31 Such action extends beyond English shores. The British authorities escorted Laser 558 into port in 1985 and had the Boulogne based RBL closed (after six years of broadcasts) in May 1988. The latter was attracting too much support in South and East Kent.

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Université de Savoie

© Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 1989

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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