ARG-178

Two years ago, radio station WCQP in Rockville decided to increase the number of call-in advice programs that it broadcast; since that time, its share of the radio audience in the Rockville listening area has increased significantly. Given WCQP's recent success with call-in advice programming, and citing a nationwide survey indicating that many radio listeners are quite interested in such programs, the station manager of KICK in Medway recommends that KICK include more call-in advice programs in an attempt to gain a larger audience share in its listening area.


Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.


The station manager of KICK in Medway recommends that KICK include more call-in advice programs in an attempt to gain a larger audience share in its listening area. This is because WCQP in Rockville added more call-in advice programs two years ago, and the number of listeners has increased significantly. In addition, a nationwide survey indicates that radio listeners are interested in call-in advice programs. Although the author’s conclusion seems plausible, several questions need to be answered to fully evaluate the author’s assertion.


The first set of questions I would like to ask concerns the relationship between the increase in call-in advice programs and the increase in WCQP listeners. The reason behind this question is that these two things happening one after the other do not necessarily indicate a causal relationship between them. Were there some other factors that led to the increase in WCQP listeners? Specifically, is it because WCQP has replaced better radio anchors or improved the quality of content on other shows that has led to an increase in listenership? Did the competitor withdraw at that time? Is it because WCQP started to advertise, which in turn led to a rise in listeners? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then we cannot attribute the increase in WCQP listenership to an increase in call-in advice programs, and therefore the author’s conclusion will be weakened. Otherwise, the author’s conclusion is strengthened.


Second, we need to know whether KICK can emulate WCQP. In the article, the author simply assumes that KICK can emulate what WCQP did two years ago but does not discuss whether the two are analogous. Here, we need to ask whether the preferences of listeners have changed in the two years. If KICK’s audience is already experiencing aesthetic fatigue due to the rise in call-in advice programs over the past two years, then KICK’s proposal to increase the number of call-in advice programs will not increase its audience. In addition, we need to know whether KICK itself already has call-in advice programs. If KICK already has a large number of call-in advice programs, then the author’s proposal will be weakened. Conversely, the conclusion would be strengthened.


Third, is the national survey reliable? Although the national survey mentioned in the text shows that many listeners are interested in call-in advice programs, we need to know whether this survey reflects the true preferences of listeners. It is possible that the survey was conducted through radio interactions and that those who participated in the radio interactions were already interested in call-in advice programs, while a much larger number of listeners who disliked the call-in advice program format were not surveyed. If this were the case, the author’s conclusion would be weakened. Furthermore, would a national survey be representative of the local situation in Medway? Listener preferences are likely to vary from place to place. If the nationwide survey sample does not include KICK’s target audience, the results of this survey will not guide the authors to their conclusion, and thus the article will be challenged.


Finally, even if KICK can follow the example of WQCP and the national survey results for KICK’s audience, does KICK need to increase its call-in advice programs? It is possible that simply increasing the percentage of call-in advice programs, hiring better anchors, or adding programs more in line with local preferences would be a more viable approach. If that were true, the article would be weakened. If, however, increasing call-in advice programs is the only way to increase KICK listeners, then the conclusion is strengthened.


In conclusion, we can only fully evaluate the author’s conclusion if the above issues are adequately addressed.

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