Audience Research as an Eye-Opener – Strengthening Local Communication in Uganda

Presented by Margaret Bukirwa Sentamu, Uganda Media Women's Association (UMWA)


Most community oriented radio stations are passion-driven, and heavily dependent on unpaid staff. Mama FM, under the parent organisation Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA), the first women’s radio station in Africa, is such a radio. But, without audience research, it cannot connect with its listeners because it will not meet their most pressing information needs. Not carrying out audience research is equivalent to walking with your eyes shut.

One finding of audience research was that their sports programme was amongst the most popular – and most listened to by men!

The session elaborated why audience research is vital for providing insight into what audiences enjoy, and why it ultimately helps producers and managers increase the listenership of the target audience. UMWA developed an internal Audience Research Policy, and it became an institutional norm that each presenter now does research for each of their programmes. As their facilitator pointed out “each program is capable of being an Award Winner. Research is therefore key at any level”.

Tailor-made training for leadership, staff and volunteers, as well as conducted research, helped UMWA/Mama FM to make informed decisions, and enhance organizational marketing, internal operations and radio programming. Furthermore, the number of cooperating NGOs increased (as resource persons during talk shows, sharing press releases, etc.), many of whom formerly belittled a women’s radio.

Interested in further resources?

Find here a selection of online training materials on Audience Research from the CAMECO literature database.