More than half-listen to the radio

More than half-listen to the radio

As the use of digital technology has increased, so has the number of old-fashioned radio listeners. According to a survey conducted by ShareCast, the number of people who have never listened to radio is 50.9 percent.

According to Madhu Acharya, founder and radio expert of ShareCast, the number of listeners for information, news and entertainment has come down to 50 to 60 percent from 80 percent in the past. Radio listeners are surveyed on the basis of radio mapping.

Why don't many listen to the radio?

A total of 1,903 people were surveyed in 77 districts across the country. The main reason for not listening to the radio (55.5 percent) is that the radio is not set.

In addition, 10.6 percent of respondents said they did not have time to listen to the radio, while 15.6 percent said they used other means of information.

Radio listener survey. Source: Sharecast Nepal

In addition, 9.2 percent have listened to the radio in the past but have stopped listening to it now. Similarly, 2.4 percent have responded that there is nothing worth listening to on the radio.

A nationwide media survey was conducted in 2014 and 2018 at the initiative of Sharecast Initiatives. According to ShareCast, the number of regular radio listeners increased from 24.2 percent in 2019 to 40 to 50 percent during the Corona virus epidemic.

According to Acharya, the number of radio listeners is gradually decreasing. "Radio seems to be more of a medium of communication than a means of regular communication in times of crisis and disaster, and in special situations in the country," he says.

According to a report by ShareCast, the number of radio listeners at certain times of the week is 18.40 and the number of radio listeners at certain times of the month is 6.7 percent.

Most of the listeners are from mobile

ShareCast's report shows that the number of people listening to radio from mobile phones is more than the number of radio sets. The number of radio listeners from mobile sets is 56.2 percent while those using radio receivers are only 48.6 percent.

Most regular radio listeners (48 percent) spend between one and two hours a day. The remaining 22.2 percent listen to the radio for less than an hour, 13.1 percent for three to four hours, and 15.1 percent for more than four hours a day.

This is how radio coverage is measured

 Modern technology has been used to measure radio coverage in Nepal for nearly a decade. FM radio coverage is measured with the help of radio mapping (RM) software.

For this, the height of the radio tower in a place and the antenna placed in the tower (vertical, circular, yagi, panel polarization) are connected to the transmitter. Community and private radios are operating in Nepal with a transmitter capacity of 100 watts to 5000 watts.

With this technology, it is possible to measure the distance and quality of radio from one place to another. It is a kind of virtual method developed according to the FM broadcasting standards of ITU (International Telecommunication Organization).

The software maps the quality of the radio transmitter and the quality of the transmitter in the place where the tower is, with the help of the feeder cable connected to it, and the antenna (dipole) hanging on that feeder cable and the cavity filter between them.

It broadcasts radio virtually on frequencies (such as 99 MHz) received from the Ministry of Communications and maps the quality of the radio in half an hour to six hours.

In which the quality from 22 dB (unit for measuring the quality of frequency) to 76 dB can be clearly seen. The final map is prepared by syncing the maps of districts, wards, and border areas with the help of GIS.

According to radio experts, the accuracy of the coverage mapping prepared in this way is up to 80 percent. Some time ago, radio coverage mapping showed that Radio Nepal had access to about 80 percent of Nepal's territory.

Understand this at 22 dB and 76 dB on the radio

DB can be understood as a minimum to maximum quality. If there is no access to any other frequency in the area or no radio is in operation, the radio can be heard at a minimum of 22 dB mapped there.

That is, ordinary radio in that area can pick up and listen to the frequency. There is another radio of better capacity and quality than the broadcast material of the mapped radio and if it is in operation then the radio cannot be heard in the 22 dB colored part of the map.

Above that, the color range of up to 76 dB reflects the success of radio broadcasting. In 2008, DBI Equal Access Kathmandu launched the BAS (Broadcast Audience Survey) radio survey targeting some radios as part of the first pilot project of radio mapping in Nepal.

In the second phase, coverage mapping was released in 2011 covering 316 radios (government, community, and private) across the country. The project was initiated by Equal Access International and supported by DBI Equal Access Nepal in collaboration with USAID and Chemonics.

The technical leadership of the project was provided by Pawan Prakash Upreti, an expert in Nepali radio and a key contributor to the digital conversion of analog radio. Santosh Kumar Devkota and Anil Ghimire were also on the team.

Upreti's initiative and leadership was the work from radio technology study to technology transfer. Even now, it is being used for the loss of coverage of almost all the radios in the country.

Use of radio mapping

Radio mapping is mainly used for media marketing. The practice of soliciting advertisements by showing the coverage quality to the advertising agency has continued.

The agency is also looking for information on radio quality and coverage. Radio mapping is also done to understand the quality of a certain place.

Most FM radios are using it to find out where the quality of coverage is when the dipole is returned.

Radio mapping has also been useful in conducting radio audience listener surveys. Recently, Santosh Kumar Devkota, who has been involved in the field of radio technology for a long time, has been doing the work of mapping the coverage of a radio in Nepal.