With cofunding from Search for Common Ground, Internews contracted the local research company Di Group to study the size, demographics, and preferences of Yntymak’s TV and radio audiences in Osh and Jalalabad cities and oblasts in June-July 2013. They also conducted focus groups to evaluate audience perceptions of Yntymak’s content quality and social impact.
Yntymak Radio has been broadcasting news, music, and programming on 106.1 FM in Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Russian in the Osh and Jalalabad oblasts since September 2012. It is the only radio station in southern Kyrgyzstan that broadcasts in both Kyrgyz and Uzbek.
• About 64% of survey respondents said they listen to the radio (any station) at least rarely, more in Jalalabad oblast (72%) than in Osh city (69%) or the rest of Osh oblast (55%).
• Nearly 40% of survey respondents had heard of Yntymak radio, making it the fourth most-known radio station out of 19 options.
• Yntymak is the third most-known radio station in Osh city.
• Yntymak is the third most-popular radio station in Osh city and Osh oblast, with 13% of respondents in both places naming it as their favorite. Among all respondents, nearly 8% named Yntymak as their favorite (4th place).
That Yntymak has achieved this level of recognition and popularity within only one year of operation and with no promotional budget speaks to the demand for multilingual broadcasting and the quality of the station’s work.
• The quality of Yntymak’s radio programs was rated second-highest (after Kyrgyzstan Obondoru’s).
• 70% of respondents who named Yntymak as their favorite station said they like Yntymak because it plays good music. 35% said they like the radio hosts, and 31% said it is because of the quality of the information broadcast. 12% named broadcasting language as a factor in their choice.
• The quality of Yntymak’s radio signal was ranked the poorest among the top 5 radio stations in Osh city and was particularly low in Jalalabad oblast, but ranked better than the others in Osh Oblast.
Yntymak launched multilingual TV broadcasting in January 2013 in Osh and Osh Oblast. Broadcast signal improvements in July 2013 extended its coverage to the Jalalabad oblast.
• Nearly half of all respondents had heard of Yntymak TV.
• Viewers in Osh city and oblast and prefer to watch Open Asia on Yntymak TV, while viewers in Jalalabad oblast watch the show primarily on Channel 5.
• According to the most recent population data, Yntymak’s potential viewing audience is now about 717,000 people. However, Internews estimates that number is significantly larger—nearly 1 million people–due to natural population growth and unregistered migration from rural areas into the cities of Osh and Jalalabad over the past five years.
Six hundred people (ages 14+) were surveyed in nine cities and towns of the Osh and Jalalabad oblasts. Interviewers visited a randomly selected sample of dwellings in each site and interviewed the resident with the most recent birthday. The number of people surveyed in each site was based proportionally on its population (according to census data from 2009).
Focus group participants were selected from audience survey participants. No remuneration was provided aside from reimbursement of transportation costs for participants from other towns.
Focus group participants characterized Yntymak Radio as an infotainment channel and know it as an international project that promotes friendship and solidarity.
Yntymak has spurred the formation of fan groups on Mail.ru (the most popular social network in southern Kyrgyzstan), which help increase the station’s audience and engage audience members in social activities.
￼“I lead the Yntymak fan group “Soginch” (“Nostalgia”). There are 25 of us – girls, boys, older and young people. Yntymak unites us. We start to communicate when the program “Munovar kun” (“Have a nice day”) airs. We ask and solve riddles, talk about events that have happened in the city. We gather not only virtually but also in person. Recently we had a virtual discussion about helping kids at a local orphanage. Later, our group got together, collected some money and gave it to the “Borukerdik” orphanage in Osh.”
Focus group members also mentioned another popular Yntymak radio program, “Normalizer.” Focus group participants in particular said that “Normalizer” helps people learn more about their rights and provides guidance on where to turn in case of problems. However, they noted that while the program examines problems, it never tells listeners whether they were resolved.