Monday 17 November 2014

Radio 4 Listener Profile

Colonel Blimp at Biased BBC has found a fascinating new tool on the YouGov website called YouGov Profiles

Type in any brand, person or thing and the YouGov database brings up a typical profile for people who like that particular thing, whether it be Barack Obama, rabbits or BBC One's Question Time

The Colonel tried out "BBC Radio 4". 

Following his lead, it appears that the typical BBC Radio 4 listener is over 60, works in education, government & civil service, or civil society & charity, spends£1000+ a month, likes trekking, hiking and bird watching, is most likely to own a cat as a pet, is very into culture and the arts, like cricket, most likes eating dishes such Dal, lentil casserole and jugged hare, shops at Waitrose and John Lewis but buys clothes from Marks & Spencer, banks with the Co-op, is most likely to drive a Skoda, watches University Challenge and Only Connect, and listens to Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen. 

Politically, the average BBC Radio 4 listeners is as far to the Left as YouGov's spectrum goes - more strongly left-wing in fact than Labour Party supportersyour average Marcus Brigstocke fan or the readers of Socialist Worker!  

As far as Facebook is concerned they like, in descending order:
BBC Radio 4
38 Degrees
The Guardian
BBC The Archers
Private Eye
Bring Back British Rail 
Billy Bragg
Leonard Cohen
The Labour Party  
In terms of websites visited, they prefer:
In terms of Twitter followings, they like:
RevRichard Coles
Their most-read newspapers are (very much in descending order):
The Guardian
The Times
The Daily Telegraph
The Independent
The people who bring us BBC Radio 4 clearly know their audience, don't they? They seem to cater for them very well too (if not for the rest of the population), perhaps because they are similar kinds of people with similar attitudes and beliefs.

Whether they also help shape those views in the first place is a moot point - and one that many of us must believe to be the case or we wouldn't be writing blogs like this. 

All in all, there's hours of fun to be had with this YouGov thing Intriguingly, it tells us  that people who like the film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp are almost as left-wing as Radio 4 listeners. People who like blogs, in contrast, tend very strongly towards the Right. It even tells us that people who like YouGov tend slightly to the Right. (What would Peter Kellner make of that?)

And what about the five currrent Today presenters? Who are their typical fans? Well, James Naughtie's fans are quite strongly left-wing, much more so than John Humphrys' fans (who are just slightly to the left-of-centre). Mishal Husain's fans are almost as left-wing as James Naughtie's while Justin Webb's fans are strongly right-wing. (Alas for poor Sarah Montague, she's been forgotten by YouGov!)

And what of PM? Well, Eddie Mair's fans are almost as far-left as it's possible to be on YouGov's spectrum. Typical Radio 4 listeners, you might say!


  1. Justin Webb's fans are strongly right-wing

    Impossible. Do they not hear him calling them racists or science-deniers?

  2. It appears from a 1 minute ramble through the YouGov website that the "sample" used for the Radio 4 analysis (and all the others on similar YouGov analyses I assume) is self-selected. This doesn't mean it's entirely meaningless only that it reflects those claiming to be Radio 4 listeners who can be bothered to join a YouGov panel and, thereby, have their tastes and political preferences summarised in the results you quote. Accordingly, and if I'm correct in my assumptions, it's bollocks on stilts as a scientific (to use a much abused Radio 4 descriptor) representation of typical Radio 4 listeners. I suppose that it's possible that the "typical" Radio 4 listener actually or metaphorically does live in Islington per this study. If so Radio 4 caters to them admirably. However, IMHO, the BBC/Guardian groupthink model "confirmed" by YouGov is just too convenient to be true: it's the "we get it about right" meme dressed up in statistical crapola.


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