Introduction to Radio’s Future

The public sphere has a huge impact on the success of media. Or does it? In other words, does the public sphere influence the development of a media type, like radio, in order to build a successful market? While the public sphere affects societal norms and views, it also affects how radio listeners can determine the survival of radio. Radio stations are evaluated by ratings that are based on the personalities, interests, and lifestyles of a listening audience. Therefore, these qualities, or psychographics, prompt the media to dismiss programming in order to sell whatever people will buy. (McKee, undated) While a common complaint in western countries is that the public sphere is too commercialized in search of profits, a review of the history of radio and its importance within a community supports the use of psychographics of the public sphere even though the down play of commercialism can prove to be effective in the success of the Chicago radio station, WTMX.

According to McKee, the definition of public sphere is “a metaphorical virtual space where people interact similarly by having an open discussion that would be available to the public that requires certain means of dissemination and influence by the public: newspapers and periodicals, radio and TV being the media of the public sphere” (Habermas, 1997). The public sphere becomes the term drawn from a collective group of like-minded people brought together by location: the community.

In order to confirm that there is a viable audience who appreciates radio programming, I will research and discuss radio’s role in regards to the public’s outlook. I will discuss a popular Chicago morning talk show: “The Eric and Kathy Show.” In addition, I will examine the dynamics between the different personalities of morning talk shows and how those affect the ratings and keep radio alive. Furthermore, I will create a survey, explain the results, and present the public’s opinion regarding radio’s future. The sample population will consist of 4 age groups: middle schoolers, high school students, college students, and adults no longer enrolled in an educational program. The survey will be conducted among random participants throughout the Chicagoland area. The survey will consist of questions that will relate to how and when listeners use radio. The purpose of this project is to provide evidence that within a community there is an audience for radio; the survivorship of radio is apparent.

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