ABSTRACT The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation

The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) held the monopoly of radio broadcasting for years. However, the radio industry had witnessed a boom in 2002 with the deregulation of the radio waves and implementation of private radio stations. Consequently, the audiences have split up between public and private radio stations.

The notion of customer satisfaction and loyalty is important for any radio station if it wants to maximize the audience rate. Service Quality, new programs and services are the needed to achieve a high performance. The level of audience’s satisfaction and loyalty is crucial for any radio industry if it wants to increase its audience rate and all this depends on the types of programing the channels offer.

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the level of customer satisfaction and loyalty differ from the audience of Private Radio Stations and State-owned radio station in Mauritius. In other words, this research will attempt to assess listeners’ satisfaction and loyalty regarding the three main roles of both private and state-owned radio stations. Through this study, we will also know the audiences’ most preferred radio channels, and which group of the society listens to which specific radio station.

A questionnaire was used to assess these criteria and the results were that the level of satisfaction was relatively …….. in the informative and entertaining role of the overall stations. Besides, as per the result… was the most preferred channel among the Private Radio Stations while in State-owned Radio Station … was the most listened channel.

1.1 Introduction
Radio is the most common form of media with 99 % of households having a radio in the United States of America. (Alexander, Alison and Hanson, 1999). Similarly in Mauritius, radio is one of the main form of media, widely listened, particularly since the implementation of private radio stations.

Since the deregulation of radio waves and the introduction of private radio stations in Mauritius in 2002, the radio broadcasting industry has considerably evolved in the country. It has become more dynamic, innovative and competitive, thus enabling a better communication flow with the public by proposing a wider variety and better quality programs. From a monopolistic to a competitive situation, whereby the radio broadcasting industry now involves many radio stations, the industry has evolved to such an extent that it does not only generate more money than before, but has also shaped the Mauritian culture and create a radio culture which did not exist before. Mauritius have currently six radio channels and three private radio stations, each having its unique style and radio culture.

Regardless of the time devoted and any expense we have to the radio, listening to the radio can not only be a main activity but it is also a leading platform through which people as active social members construct adequate ad a level of meaning, belief and values. Radio is become increasingly fascinating due to its flexibility as it can be easily available at any time and any place. There are things like interaction with listeners, which cannot be done anywhere else than on radio. (Alanen, 2013) Since human can multitask, radio listening practically fits along jobs, leisure time with family or even while eating. During the day radio can also strengthen messages heard or seen earlier in other media (p. 10-11. Marmori Oy, 2009).

Customer satisfaction is a key factor for profit making organisations. It can be described as being the extent to which consumers are satisfied with a product or service performance, and it must be taken into consideration to ensure the success of any business, being profit making organisations, private radio stations have to target the highest audience rate. High audience percentage tend to maximize the number of sponsors, advertisers and other financial stakeholders, thus ensuring the viability of private radio stations in an industry which is becoming more competitive, and where innovativeness and creativity are essential factors to guarantee customer satisfaction and in return increase audience share, customer loyalty and financial revenue.

1.2 Problem statement
With the advent of technology, the radio is being challenged even if almost all Mauritian owns a radio per house. There are challenges and a lot of competitiveness in the contents of radio. (Lecklin, 2013). Technology has put forward others means of entertainment such as computer games, MP3, DVDs which are driving away audiences from the radio broadcasting.

Moreover, the radio consumption pattern has been affected drastically, especially with the arrival of mobile media. According to the study published by Martin Hilbert in science (Hilbert and Lopez, 2011), 95 percent of all information existing in the planet is digitized and most of it is accessible on the Internet and other computer networks. The remaining listeners that radio has now are less demanding on the informative role of radio as the soft news will gratify their needs on what is happening around them. (MacFarland, 2013)
Furthermore, phone-ins services allow radio to have an idea of its audience listening rate however it can also result in a wrong perception as studies have revealed that most of the times, it is usually the same person phoning in for the games or talk shows and the same person requesting for a song. It is so, as sometimes even the presenter of the program recognise the listener.

Competitions among radio stations in Mauritius is rising as well. In the recent years, there has been a growth in the number of radio stations and programs being diffused across the globe. According to an Annual Report on American Journalism (2004), the growth in the number of stations seems to fragment the radio audiences into finer and finer niche groups. Consequently, with the introduction of various radio stations and programs diffused, the public has developed preferences to a particular radio station.

Several reports on audience poll and performance of local radio stations have been carried out since deregulation of radio waves. It was set out that the private radio stations have raised themselves in the top three places, with the highest audience percentage which suggests that customer satisfaction is high compared to public radio channels, (Sofres, 2009). Though statistical figures illustrate the supremacy of private radio stations, they provide only quantitative data and no research or study has provided qualitative reasons or features of radio services that place private radio stations on the three top places in the radio broadcasting industry in Mauritius. Moreover, such researches have been designed in a way where they provide information mainly to possible financial stakeholders, such as, sponsors and advertisers. Whereby all previous audience poll reports concerning radio channels mostly serve the purpose of helping or assisting these financial stakeholders on which radio stations to be sponsored, where and what time they should place their advertisements.

The study aims at assessing the level of customer satisfaction in a qualitative way, highlighting what the audience likes about private radio stations and the state owned radio stations respectively. That is, there will be an investigation upon the current state of radio stations from a listener’s perspective on their level of satisfaction and loyalty. The study will provide information to radio stations on which type of programs, services and features the audience is more interested in, thus helping them in either redefining their programs or maintain and upgrade what already exist.

1.3 Aims and Objectives of the study
The aim of the study is to compare and assess customer satisfaction and loyalty with private radio stations’ and the state owned station services. To achieve this aim, the following objectives have been set:
To assess customer satisfaction level of the entertaining role of private radio stations and the state owned station.

To identity customer satisfaction level regarding impartiality of private radio stations, the state owned stations and the media platform offered for public expression.

To study the listener’s attitudes, expectations and the level of customer loyalty regarding the radio stations.

To assess listener’s perceptions on the radio in the digital age.

To determine the most preferred radio station and whether a category of people listen to a particular station.