Radio in time of change : Channel reforms among public broadcasters in Norway, Sweden and Finland

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Title: Radio in time of change : Channel reforms among public broadcasters in Norway, Sweden and Finland
Author: Kemppainen, Pentti
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Communication
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation
Abstract: In the early 1990s, the public service broadcasting companies of Norway, Sweden & Finland carried out a comprehensive reform of programme profiles, with a view to adapting their radio programming to the changed competitive situation. The developments in the Nordic region are associated with the general process of deregulation of the European media branch in the period from the 1970s through to the 1990s. The emergence of commercial radio obliged the traditional public broadcasting companies to re-examine their relationship with their audiences. In all three countries the public broadcasters arrived at a solution by which the radio channels were profiled to different sections of the total audience. As one aspect of the programming reforms each company established a radio channel directed at youth and young adults. In this study the reorganization is examined primarily from the perspective of these youth channels. The study seeks through comparisons to determine the reasons why the three Nordic public broadcasters initiated their channel reforms, what forces influenced the changes, and how the reforms were carried out in practice. In the first part of the research there is a description of the structural change that took place in European radio broadcasting, and the author presents the basic concepts and theoretical framework of the development in the medium. In the second section the historical framework of events is presented, leaning for the most part on research literature from this branch, publications by national authorities, and on documents released by the public broadcasting companies themselves. The third section examines the process of change in the public broadcasting companies and the causes bearing on it from the perspective of decision-makers interviewed after the event. In these interviews, the individuals who were instrumental in planning and carrying out the profiling changes report on the background to and implementation of the reforms. In the conclusions the study observes that the channel reforms in all three countries were put into effect as a kind of hybrid system, in which weight was placed both on the traditional considerations of quality and on the audience figures thrown into sharp focus by the new competitive situation. The increase in competition was a pivotal cause for the reforms. The reorganization was marked by audience-segment thinking, with the youth audience and youth channels given a spearhead role. The reforms emphasised independent decision-making within the channels, alongside a new working culture. The company's strengths and weaknesses were recognised differently in the respective broadcasting organizations. For the Norwegians it was values that took pride of place, for the Swedes it was know-how, and the Finns placed resources in the forefront. On the basis of the phenomena examined, a conflicting situation can be seen within the public broadcasting companies, emerging out of the division between the public service obligations and the search for a broad audience. Attempts were made to temper the tension between these two aims by means of programming policy. The underlying thrust of the entire change in radio was that the old static image defended itself against a perceived new dynamism. By means of the reforms, all three public broadcasters were able to preserve their share of listeners at a high level in the 1990s.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Date: 2001-11-28
Subject: radio - history - Europe
public service broadcasting - commercial radio - Nordic countries
electronic media

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