On 7 July 2016, Dr Ying Yu and Professor Guy Starkey of Bournemouth University presented their new research paper as invited speakers at the Radio Conference 2016: Transnational Radio Encounters, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
Their paper, titled 'Radio and consumer affairs: A comparative study of China and the United Kingdom,' compares and contrasts the coverage of consumer affairs on radio in the two very different nations of China and the UK.
In China, the daily programme Tian Tian 315 regularly achieves some of the highest audiences of the state broadcaster China National Radio. In 2015 it received one of the highest national awards for journalism because of its impact on the developing consumer movement in China, the largest market economy in the world, as well as on individual consumers - its listeners. In the UK one of the main fixed points in the Radio 4 schedule of the public broadcaster the BBC is the programme You and Yours, which champions consumer rights five days a week. Moneybox takes a more specialised approach to issues over personal finance and is broadcast weekly on Radio 4. All of these programmes are broadcast during daytime, in prominent timeslots.
The paper uses representative extracts from the two countries to illustrate a quantitative and qualitative comparative analysis of their public broadcasters‘ output and approach to consumer affairs, as well as some examples of radio having produced tangible results in improving the regulatory or commercial environment for listeners needing support as individual consumers. It also asks to what extent consumer affairs are represented in more general programming, including in news coverage on CNR and the BBC, and what is the appeal of this genre of speech radio when individual items may only be of direct relevance to a minority of those listening.