Summative Evaluation of Earth & Sky NOAA-Sponsored Radio Shows

March 9th, 2009 | EVALUATION

In the previous three years, 72 90-second Earth & Sky radio shows have been produced under sponsorship of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The impact of these shows was explored with a posttest-only experimental design comparing a treatment group that listened to nine daily NOAA shows focused on the topic of whales and a control group that listened to nine daily non-NOAA shows about Antarctica. Participants were randomly assigned to groups, which did not differ on the variables of gender, age, ethnicity, education, frequency of hearing Earth & Sky, and interest in hearing about current science news generally. Two-thirds of both groups ā€˜never hearā€™ Earth & Sky, so our study results generalize to adults who are interested in current science news but who are mostly not familiar with E&S programming. This study reveals that the NOAA Earth & Sky shows are very appealing and understandable and significantly increase listenersā€™ knowledge of whales and of scientistsā€™ research about whales. Listening to the shows significantly increased listenersā€™ factual knowledge of whales when compared to the control group, who did not listen to these shows. Additionally, listeners were significantly more likely than the control group to report that humans influence whales in ship collisions and that scientists have lessened human impact on whales by changing shipping lanes, by guiding disoriented whales back to the ocean, and by responding to whale beachings. Listeners also recalled the scientific methods used, including recordings of whale sounds; tagging and tracking; counting, sightings or visual surveys; and whale tissue analysis. Almost half of listeners reported sharing show information with others after listening, and one-quarter searched out more information about a topic that they heard in the E&S shows. For a 90-second daily radio show exposure, this is a strong impact on behavior.



Team Members

Barbara Flagg, Evaluator, Multimedia Research


Funding Source: NOAA
Award Number: NA05SEC4691003

Related URLs

Earth and Sky NOAA Partnership


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media