Audience research

[2nd Feb 2017 – *PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SOFTWARE PLUG-IN REFERRED TO BELOW IS BEING RE-DESIGNED TO WORK WITH NEWER VERSIONS OF WORDPRESS AND IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE.  The rest of the advice given here does not require such an up-date and should still be helpful]

Prove It is a resource for community radio stations to enable them to conduct their own audience research. It has been developed by Radio Regen working with a number of community radio stations in the Greater Manchester area, supported by an Ofcom Community Radio Fund grant.

The Prove It manual – which you can download here * – contains step-by-step information about an evaluation technique that will help you to find out more about your listeners and the effectiveness of your station in achieving its goals. It provides information and expertise to measure audience listener figures and to assess the impact that you are having on your community of listeners.

If you would like to conduct Prove It research, you will need to:

  • commit some staff time to the process
  • organise a group of local volunteers to help with a street listener survey
  • and – if you can deliver the project in partnership with a community radio station near to you, this will give your results added credibility.

The Prove It manual contains:

  • a template for the audience research questionnaire
  • guidance about conducting audience research on the street
  • details of a software ‘plug-in’ which has been developed to input and analyse the data from the listener survey
  • a template for interviewing key stakeholders
  • instructions for organising a listener focus group
  • report templates to present the results of the street survey, interviews and focus group.

Undertaking Prove It requires a commitment of staff resources, but the manual aims to make the process as easy as possible, and the results should be invaluable to station managers and for potential funders, project partners, and advertisers. The cost of similar research undertaken by an external agency would probably be far beyond the reach of most community radio stations.

The table below summarises the various steps in the Prove It process and the resources you will need to commit at each stage.


Summary of the Prove It process

First step … Ideally, find a nearby ‘buddy’ station who wants to work with you to collect audience research information about both of your stations. Alternatively, find some independent local volunteers who can help you with the project – perhaps students from a local college. The value of Prove It will be greatly reduced if your own station volunteers collect the data.
Then …  

What you have to do ….


Prove it provides ….

Listener survey
  • Find around 6 volunteers to carry out some on-street questionnairing, over 2 days in 1 week
  • Identify 2 or 3 good locations to carry out the street survey
  • Arrange a brief training session for your volunteers, and provide transport or expenses for travelling to the street survey locations
  • Collect up the questionnaires and enter the survey results into the Prove It number crunching ‘plug-in’ [see note at top]


  • The street survey questions and instructions and survey badges for volunteers
  • The Prove It ‘plug-in’ which will analyse the questionnaire results and automatically produce a survey report [see note at top]
One-to-one interviews
  • Identify a number of key community figures and stakeholders relevant to your station
  • Conduct ideally 6 one-to-one interviews over a week with these people
  • Listen back to and make notes on or transcribe the interviews, and then interpret the results. Allow several days to do this.


  • Questions for key stakeholders and community figures
  • Instructions on how to analyse the interview data
Listener focus groups
  • Produce and play a radio advert calling for your listeners to participate in a focus group
  • Take calls from people wanting to participate in the focus group, and arrange a date and venue for this
  • Run the focus group, with the help of a volunteer
  • Listen back to and interpret the focus group data.   Allow a couple of days to do this.


  • Instructions on how to set up a focus group, including a script for an on-air advertisement, focus group recruitment poster, a consent form, and focus group questions
  • Instructions on how to analyse the focus group data
And finally
  • Put together the data you have collected above into a Prove It station report


  • A template and instructions for writing the Prove It report