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New project tunes into the power of listening to local radio

Date 24.02.2021

Listening Locally, a new project by University of Northampton academic, Dr Alison Hulme, aims to measure the benefits of listening to community radio.

The well-established RAJAR measurements are used for commercial and BBC radio stations to gauge listener numbers and patterns, but surprisingly community radio doesn’t have any way of measuring who is listening.

Dr Alison Hulme, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, and seasoned radio host aims to change that with her new research project, listening locally, which she hopes will finally create a measurement for the impact of community radio.

Dr Alison Hulme said: “There is much anecdotal evidence that community radio has hugely positive impacts for local communities, from reducing social isolation and division, as well as helping to reduce certain types of crime. Despite this context, there is still no comprehensive understanding of the listener numbers for community radio stations; neither is there a robust and comprehensive methodology that can be implemented across the country to collect and release audience data. Through this research project, and funding from the University’s Business Ideas & Innovation Grant, I hope to change that.”

NLive Radio listeners will be leading the charge in the research project, working with Dr Alison Hulme and the University of Northampton to establish an innovative way to study and chart the way the community radio sector can measure its impact on local communities.

Martin Steers, NLive Radio Station Manager, said: “We look forward to this fantastic opportunity to work with a distinguished and experienced academic on the real benefits and impact of listening to our station and everything that we do to support our listeners and community and the wider benefit for Northampton.”

The University’s Business Ideas & Innovation Grant (BIIG) enables organisations in the county to work with University of Northampton academics, to develop new products, processes, services, gaining new insights, or generating ideas to increase and sustain business growth.