Date of Award

Spring 1997

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Ksobiech, Kenneth

Second Advisor

Slattery, Karen

Third Advisor

Scotton, James F.

Abstract

Within the world of broadcast journalism, there is much discussion concerning the credibility of commercial newscasts when the driving ·force behind the news is advertising revenue. Indeed, for commercial radio stations, news content carries just as much financial weight as any other part of the programming package. Most certainly some radio stations in more pluralistic markets will adjust the amount of news coverage based on the marketing decisions of other competing stations, but nonetheless, programmers are acutely aware of the importance their listening public places on being informed. Since there is a great deal at stake, it is imperative that news directors and editors keep in mind how important it is to keep both audience, as consumers, and advertising brokers, who help pay for news production, content . In a Minnesota community research program used by Professors Tichenor, Olien and Donohue of the University of Minnesota, the three repeatedly illustrated that media institutions function as supporters of the social status quo (Tichenor, et al. 1980, 1984 , 1988) . Jeffres, Dobos and Lee (1988) remark, however, that this does not mean "media must operate to strengthen all links between residents and their communities . " Indeed, media ii members, such as commercial radio stations, function quite well when working in their own interest. These stations must, when a situation so requires, adjust their content to maintain social and economic status. While it is assumed that "media use fulfills various functions" (p.575) to link a community together, this study attempts to show that media can, and does, adapt its own link between itself and the public on the basis of survival. Most certainly commercial radio stations will do market research of their respective coverage area in order to better position themselves for greater effectiveness . This research affords a greater understanding of the target market and that group's needs and interests. But even with this information it may be necessary, from time to time, to ignore the dictates of the assembled data and abrogate a portion of the product to keep some specific interest group happy . Such an interest group could be advertisers, an owner or owners.

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