The Audience for Religious Broadcasts in the United States -- By: Haddon W. Robinson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 123:489 (Jan 1966)
Article: The Audience for Religious Broadcasts in the United States
Author: Haddon W. Robinson

The Audience for Religious Broadcasts in the United States

Haddon W. Robinson

[Haddon W. Robinson, Associate Professor, Practical Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

During an eight-week period, from May through July, 1962, the author conducted a study of the audiences for religious broadcasts in the United States. Seven cities scattered across the country were chosen for the study: Albany, Oregon; Arvada, Colorado; Champaign, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Johnson City, New York; Medford, Oregon; and Owosso, Michigan.

While it might have been desirable to select a sample at random from the total population of the United States, financial and technical limitations rendered this impossible. Two major considerations determined the choice of six of these cities. First of all, the cities represent a wide geographical distribution of the respondents, and, secondly, assistance for carrying out the survey was available in several of these cities. Since Albany, Oregon, has a local religious radio station, KWIL, the influence of such a station could be more accurately estimated by adding a seventh city in the same state, Medford, Oregon, that does not have a religious station.

There is no assumption in setting forth the results of this study that all, or any, of these seven selected cities are “typical” or “average” American communities. It is highly probable that no such places exist outside the motion picture or television

screen. Many factors are at work in every city that will make that particular city unique. Elements such as motivations, values, attitudes, prejudices, backgrounds and general orientation of the people in a community vary from town to town. It was hoped, of course, that a study of listeners in these seven cities included in this project would throw light on attitudes and listening habits that prevail in many other places. It needs to be stressed, though, that only so far as these cities are clearly representative of the total population of the United States are the findings of this study applicable to that population. Therefore, generalizations of the particulars of this report to the total population of the country or to a different subpopulation within the country must be made with caution.

Since listings in the telephone directory may be biased in that members of lower-income groups are especially likely to be underrepresented, the addresses selected in this sample were drawn from the latest city directory published for each of the seven communities. Residences rather than names were chosen because of their greater permanence. The most up-to-date directories were used, but checks could not be taken to bring new constructi...

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