Radio programme analysis
COMM3980 Essay 1. Radio programme analysis
This assignment requires you to conduct an analysis of a radio programme. You will be studying
the content of the programme and writing about it in the context of the radio station as a
whole and its place within the wider radio industry.
1. You should record your chosen radio station’s transmission over about an hour. (See below
for advice on recording, if needed.)
? The recording must be made from a live radio stream i.e. not a ‘catch up’ or ‘listen
? It must be a radio station that broadcasts (over the airwaves) as well as streams i.e. not
an internet-only station.
? It must broadcast in English language.
2. From your recording, select a 30 minute segment that, ideally, includes a range of
programming e.g. not just a part of one single news programme. This may mean straddling
the ‘top of the hour’ or half-hour slot, when typically there might be a news bulletin. If your
recording does not contain much variation in programming, you should make another
recording with a different time or station. You should conduct a content analysis of your
programmes using the grid and notes provided in the VLE.
3. You should upload your recording to the Group File Exchange section of the VLE. (Go to
‘My Groups’, then the ‘All students’ group and look for File Exchange.) Name the uploaded
file with your name and student ID number e.g. 200123456_JohnSmith.mp3.
4. You should upload the spreadsheet containing your content analysis to the VLE Assessment
folder. Again, follow the instructions given for naming your uploaded file.
5. The Written Element of the assignment must begin with the following information:
a) The radio station’s name and strapline, if available (how it describes itself).
b) Its geographical location and its website address.
c) The start time and date of the broadcast.
d) The name of the programme(s).
e) A listing of the station’s schedule for that day (if possible) or an indication of
programmes that preceded and followed the broadcast.
6. The next section of your assignment should include your chart (e.g. pie chart or bar chart)
illustrating the content of the programming during your 30 minute selection.
7. You should write about the programme and the station. Describe the programme(s) content
and the station: what elements make up the programme and what is the station’s other
programming? Give an evaluation of both in the wider context of the industry. Consider
issues such as the relationship between this programme and its parent station, the variety
of programming, the nature of the station, and the station’s place within the wider radio
industry. This final written part should amount to 1000-1500 words.
The Written Element should be uploaded to the VLE. Again, follow the instructions for naming
your uploaded file. Note that you must include your student ID number in this document but
not your name, as all work is marked anonymously.
The assessment of the assignment will be a numerical mark based on the Written Element,
graded using the School marking criteria for written work (in the Student Handbook, copy on
the VLE). The submission of the recording and the coding sheet are, however, a requirement for
this assignment since they form the basis of your written assessment.
Appendix: Playing and recording
You can play a radio station’s streams directly from its website, or use one of the countless
programmes available for a computer, or a phone or table app. For UK stations, the UK
Radioplayer is supported by almost all stations. Another popular programme is TuneIn or
iTunes. Remember to ensure that the station you choose is one that broadcasts, not an
Some programmes and apps allow you to record the stream. Or you can use audio recording
software to record the stream as you play it. Rarma Radio, for example, allows you to schedule
recordings. Make sure that you can extract the mp3 audio file of the recording from whatever
system you use.
Audio recording software, which records whatever’s audio is playing on your device or
computer, includes Audacity, a fully featured audio editing programme that’s available on the
University clusters. This is undoubtedly over-specified for the task here, but nevertheless is
straightforward to use.
A list of free audio playing and recording software is available on Wikipedia:
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