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Mag.a Edith Rehberger Programme Structure Ana ysis of ORF radio programmes
According to 4 of the Federal Act on Austrian Broadcasting, the core public service mandate of the ORF is to offer a comprehensive "overall programme of information, culture, entertainment and sport for all". In doing so, the ORF, with all its offerings on radio, television and online, is responsible for more than 400 hours of programming per day and, according to its core mandate, must consider the diverse interests of listeners and viewers in a balanced manner. The ORF Act also regulates the safeguarding of this programme mandate and provides for different methods and analysis procedures for this purpose. Among other things, it is required by law to carry out a Programme Structure Analysis for its television and radio programmes. APA-DeFacto Datenbank & Contentmanagement GmbH has been involved in this quality assurance process as an independent institute for years.

APA-DeFacto is a wholly owned subsidiary of APA - Austria Presse Agentur and the Austrian market leader in the field of media intelligence. It offers its clients a comprehensive monitoring and analysis portfolio and acts in accordance with the APA statutes in an independent, fact-based, reliable and balanced manner. Since 2018, APA-DeFacto has prepared an annual content analysis of the broadcasting programme of all ORF radio stations for ORF. From the very beginning, the media analysis team of APA-DeFacto - under the project management of Michael Grosz, MSc and the scientific supervision of Associate Professor DDr. Julia Wippersberg - has been conducting this research, thus ensuring long-term comparability and continuity in the analysis. Methodologically, APA-DeFacto works according to the social science method of semantic content analysis. Formal, quantitative aspects (e. g., number and duration of individual contributions) are combined with content-related, qualitative aspects (coding of content-related categories). This methodology represents an internationally established analysis technique for the intersubjective evaluation and measurement of the information content of media content. In doing so, the perceived and published reality is always depicted, and the view of the recipients is taken.

The operationalization of the analysis parameters is carried out based on a detailed codebook. This represents a comprehensive set of rules for the object of investigation and contains information on the period under investigation, on the relevant broadcasters, on the definition of the different coding levels as well as on all categories, topics, and other special features. The nationwide stations 1, 3 and FM4 as well as the nine regional radio stations Radio Burgenland, Radio Carinthia, Radio Lower Austria, Radio Upper Austria, Radio Salzburg, Radio Styria, Radio Tyrol, Radio Vorarlberg and Radio Vienna as well as Radio 1 International, which is broadcast via short wave, are included in the analysis.

The analysis period covers a "typical" calendar week in September of each year. When selecting the study week, care is taken to ensure that it is as free as possible from programme-influencing events and thus as "typical" as possible for the radio programme of the individual stations. During the study week, all stations relevant to the study are recorded around the clock - this corresponds to 10,080 minutes per station - on APA-internal servers multiple times and in a fail-safe manner. In a first step, the coding is done at the "contribution level". Each channel is processed individually and the 724 broadcast hours are "cut" into individual thematic units or contributions. For the coding, a distinction is made between words, i. e., any spoken part of the programme including any form of news, and music. Each word element is subsequently assigned a detailed thematic category, which in turn are clustered into the following eight super-categories: → Information → Culture → Religion/Ethics → Science/Education → Service/Transport/Weather → Sport → Family/Society → Entertainment

All forms of advertising (commercial advertising, charity appeals, self-promotion, signatures/jingles) are coded but not included in the overall evaluation. The procedure for music contributions is similar. Here, too, detailed categories are coded, which are then aggregated into six super-categories for the reporting: → Alternative → Serious music → Oldies/Evergreens → Pop → Easy listening/Schlager → Folk music/World music

A special feature in the field of music coding is a tool developed by APA-DeFacto specifically for Programme Structure Analysis for the automated pre-categorization of music already played in the past. This constantly growing music archive ensures the comparability of titles and associated genres both across channels and across years. In addition to the analysis at "contribution level", where word and music shares are considered separately, an additional content analysis will be carried out for all ORF radio stations starting in 2022. By coding at the level of "programmes" or broadcasting areas, the word and 16 music components will be included in the coding. Depending on the focus of the "programme", coding takes place according to: → Information → Culture → Entertainment → Sport

Before the coding starts, the recorded data material is prepared. In the process, the programme is checked for completeness and correctness for each channel. If necessary, back-up material is used to ensure that the entire broadcasting time for each channel is represented completely and accurately. For this purpose, APA-DeFacto has a production tool that directly accesses the APA database and thus enables data collection and coding in one step. This tool also already enables initial technical quality assurance and ensures seamless data quality. For the analysis, a team of several coders with many years of experience is used, each of whom is responsible for processing one or two channels. Both the interests and the background knowledge of the coders are considered. A certain number of colleagues involved in the project ensures reliability on the one hand, and an intersubjective exchange of information in the sense of the "more eyes principle" on the other. In addition to comprehensive project training, the coding process is continuously monitored by the project management and regular feedback meetings are held.

In addition, regular intercoder reliability tests are used to ensure quality standards. The control of the coded data, which already takes place during the coding process as well as afterwards, is a methodological standard of APA-DeFacto and the central pillar of institutionalized quality management. Here, the entire data material is checked again for validity and reliability. The results of the radio Programme Structure Analysis are presented in the analysis at "contribution level" for all ORF radio stations individually, in tabular form. They are separated according to word as well as music content for the specified categories. In addition, from 2022 onwards, the data for the analysis at "programme level" will also be aggregated for all radio stations according to the four categories anchored in the ORF law: Information, Culture, Entertainment, and Sport.

All this data is published every year in the ORF annual report. The radio Programme Structure Analysis is a particularly important instrument for ensuring the balance of the ORF radio offerings and thus ultimately also proof of the fulfilment of the public service mandate.