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The News Quiz: Radio 4 Comedy Panel Show Case Study

Rob Miller | Tuesday August 28, 2012

Categories: GCSE, OCR GCSE, Key Concepts, Institutions, Hot Entries, Radio, Radio Comedy

For OCR GCSE Media Studies B322 (Moving Image) and B323 (Print), Section B requires pupils to have studied a range of TV and / or Radio Comedies. Questions 4 (a) and 4 (b) commonly refer to Institutional Factors underpinning the texts – Scheduling, Production, Brand Identity and Audience Pleasures.

Institutional Factors and Scheduling

The News Quiz is a BBC produced Radio Comedy that falls into the sub genre of Radio Comedy Panel Show – it is scheduled and broadcast for 30 minutes on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Friday evenings, after the flagship 30 minute Six O’Clock News extended news programme and then repeated on Saturday at 12.30pm.

Scheduling The News Quiz on Friday at 6.30pm ensures the programme is hammocked with Radio 4’s iconic Six O’Clock News programme which attracts a high listenership and has similar narrative content (satirical, comedic observations on current news items). It is hoped audiences will remain tuned in to the station and listen to both shows and potentially also stay with Radio 4 for the UK’s longest running Soap Opera, The Archers at 7pm which The News Quiz is also hammocked with. Schedulers will use a range of techniques to retain their target audience including clustering, in this instance grouping programmes with similar themes. In terms of audience expectations historically 6.30pm is a regular, scheduled time slot for comedy on BBC Radio 4.

Target Audience

Much Radio 4 programming has an educated, middle class target audience who enjoy talk radio but specifically The News Quiz has a niche, ABC1, educated, aspirational, white, 35-55, predominantly male target audience who are politically engaged, professional in terms of occupation, liberal or left wing in terms of their political ideologies and more likely to be urban or city living.

Audience Pleasures

In terms of Blumler and Katz’s 1974 Uses and Gratifications theory Surveillance (information), Diversion (escapism) and Personal Identity...


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