BBC and African Audience: Insights from Ethnography

  • Muhammed Musa


Forms of message delivery may have continuously changed, but audiences have constituted a central component of the communication process at all times. Notwithstanding this centrality, interrogation of audiences in the communication process has largely been informed by commercial imperatives such as advertiser need for information on ratings, organizational need for information on audience demographics and programme preferences by both commercial and public media, and so on. In its psychological phase, early audience research in Africa borrowed from the pioneering works of Merton (1968) and Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955) in inquiring into engagement with media texts. Consequently researchers’ engagement with media audiences focused on effect studies, which became the vogue in the early days of independence when the diffusion of modernizing innovations was emphasized.


  1. Allan, S. (1999). News culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Borgault, M. (1995). Mass media in sub-Saharan Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Careless, B. (2008, April). Interviews with the author, Kaduna.Google Scholar
  4. Cottle, S. (2007). Ethnography and new(s) developments in the field. Sociology Compass, 1(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Elliot, P., & Golding, P. (1979). Making the news. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  6. Fardon, R., & Furniss, G. (2000). African broadcasting cultures. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Fiske, J. (1992). Popularity and the politics of information. In P. Dahlgren & C. Sparks (Eds.), Journalism and popular culture. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  9. Golding, P. (1977). Media professionalism in the Third World: The transfer of an ideology. In M. Curran et al. (Eds.), Mass communication and society. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  10. Idris, A. (2008, June). Interview with author, Gombe.Google Scholar
  11. Inunu, S. (2008, April). Interviews with the author, Kaduna.Google Scholar
  12. Jibrin, I. (2008). Interview with the author, Gombe.Google Scholar
  13. Katz, E., & Lazarsfeld, P. F. (1955). Personal influence: The past played by people in the flow of mass communication. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  14. La Pastina, A. C. (2012). Audience ethnographies: A media engagement approach. Media International Australia, 145(1).
  15. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Mytton, G. (1983). Mass communication in Africa. London: Hodder Arnold.Google Scholar
  17. Mytton, G. (2008). The BBC and its cultural, social and political framework. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 28(4), 569–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mytton, G., & Forrester, C. (1988). Audiences for international radio broadcasts. European Journal of Communication, 3, 457–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pinkerton, A. (2010). A new kind of imperialism? BBC, Cold War broadcasting and the contested eeopolitics of South Asia. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 28(4), 537–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Robertson, E. (2008). ‘I get a real kick out of Big Ben’: BBC versions of Britishness on the empire and general overseas service, 1932–1948. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 28(4), 459–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Silverstone, R. (1994). Television and everyday life. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Snow, D. A. (1980). The disengagement process; A neglected problem in participant observation research. Qualitative Sociology, 3(2), 100–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stokes, J. (2003). How to do media and cultural studies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Wilkinson, J. F. (1971). The BBC and Africa. A talk given to a joint Meeting of The Royal African Society and The Royal Commonwealth Society.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammed Musa
    • 1
  1. 1.United Arab Emirates UniversityAl AinUAE

Personalised recommendations