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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — American Forces Network Korea has added a weekday request show and is trying to diversify its music playlists after studying results of an online survey from earlier this year, according to AFN officials.

“We are trying to go to a better mix of music,” said Douglas Griffin, AFN Korea’s broadcasting director.

The survey (Graphic) — which was available on AFN Korea’s Web site April 15 to May 15 — asked people to weigh in on their listening and viewing habits, music and television preferences and thoughts about local programming. About 2 percent of the people working with U.S. Forces Korea, or 1,078, participated, Griffin said.

The results showed that classic rock and country music are the most popular types of music; nearly a third of the people listen to AFN radio daily and more people listen to the radio in the morning than any other time.

The survey also revealed a few surprises, Griffin said.

More than two-thirds of the respondents said they had never heard of “Eagle Wings,” the local religious show that airs on Sundays. Nearly a third said they were unable to tune into AFN’s AM programming, and 40 percent of the respondents said they never watch the local AFN newscasts, a finding the survey results report called “troubling.”

“These responses are so critical to us,” said Capt. Miki Gilloon, the deputy commander of AFN Korea. “This is what helps us to better shape our products.”

Gilloon said AFN is working to promote the religious show on its FM programming. The stations also are reviewing the local television programming formats, such as the AFN Nightly Newscast, based on recommendations from the survey, Gilloon said.

The mix of responses about music preferences has prompted some radio programming changes.

The results showed the popularity of classic rock and country music were similar to those of the last survey 12 years ago, Griffin said. But the survey report also notes that two-thirds of the respondents in last spring’s survey were Caucasian, and nearly that many were 25 to 44 years old. When looking just at the responses from 18- to 24-year-olds, more listeners preferred Top 40. Overall, the popularity of alternative, hard rock, hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues all fell within a couple of percentage points, according to the survey.

To appease the diverse tastes, the network has added a weekday call-in show on the FM station from 9 a.m. to noon. Then for the next three hours, a disc jockey at AFN Korea’s main studio at Yongsan Garrison tries to play a lineup that crosses many genres, Griffin said.

A third of the survey participants said they don’t receive the AM broadcast, according to the survey. But Griffin said he’s unsure whether they really don’t receive it or simply don’t realize it’s available. Either way, it’s a signal that more people need to know what the AM stations offer, he said.

“We felt that we didn’t promote our AM radio as well as we should have,” Griffin said. The AM programming includes news and talk radio, sports, country and oldies music.

The survey also collected information about viewers’ television preferences, despite the fact that AFN Korea can do little to directly control television programming. A Defense Department agency in California oversees programming around the world, Griffin said.

The results about television were passed on to that agency, Griffin said.


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