An evaluation of audience response to educational station KUHT, Channel 8

Date

1954

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Abstract

It was the purpose of this study to supply certain Infomat ion which might contribute toward the achievement of a sore effective television station, the University of Houston's Educational Television Station, KUHT, the first television station ever devoted to educational purposes. Due to the paucity of essential Infomation regarding viewers' responses to this television station, it was thought that several types of data could bo collected through a survey of the whole television audience. Obvious attainable data that would appear to be of particular interest was: (1) the approximate number of people who watch KUHT; (2) the programs which were being watched; (3) the opinions of the television audience towards general types of programs that they might like to see presented; (4) some insight into the genesis, direction, and intensity of audience responses and, (5) a basis from which a more precise evaluation of audience response could be ascertained in future studies. Procedure. An inductive method was used to achieve the above goals of this study. It consisted of devising a questionnaire which would be both convenient and practical, yet, still render reliable and accurate results. In order for the results of such an investigation to be statistically reliable, the sample selected for study must be representative of the entire population which in this case was television set owners in the Houston area. A group to be questioned was selected in accordance with a randomizing technique from the Houston City Telephone Directory on the assumption that no undue bias would result since it was correctly assumed that television set and telephone ownership is almost perfectly correlated. Apparently, this is why the above has become a widely used method employed by professional survey organizations such as Crosley, Hooper, and Neilson. From two comprehensive questionnaires used successively as pilot studies, a third and final questionnaire was constructed which met the requirements of reliability, convenience, and practicality. Results and conclusions. The results of the poll clearly indicated that 75% of the population possessing television sets watched KUHT at least once every two weeks. Of this percentage (75%), 18% watched Channel 8 twice weekly or more. In choice of programs being then currently watched by the 75% KUHT viewers, 50% failed to specify a favorite program. Of the remaining 50%, these named specific programs: 36% favored educational, programs and 14% were partial to sports telecasts. The educational programs most watched were Psychology 231 (12%), University Forum (7%)> and Spanish (5%). When the total of 384 respondents were asked to select from seven categories what programs they would like to see scheduled, 83% selected sports programs, 73% chose educational films, 68% favored panel discussions, 6O% desired children's programs, 50% - individual lectures, 44% - formal course offerings, and 39% - classical music. The reasons given for these different selections were extremely heterogeneous. Some of the significant conclusions that may be drawn both from the quantitative and qualitative data obtained in the survey suggests (1) that KUHT is being watched quite regularly by a sizeble portion of the Houston television audience, (2) that several KUHT programs of the past or present have developed a small but loyal audience, (3) that efforts in future educational television programming should be geared to reach the family as a whole, (4) that a very fertile field of interest among viewers exists in presenting television programs for the child, and (5) that some of the more formal educational television programs could profit by the use of such devices as educational films or by the use of more dynamic and interesting participants.

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Keywords

Public television, Houston, Educational television stations, Texas, KUHT-TV (Television station :' Houston, Tex.)

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