- Keywords: Low Power Radio (LPR), evaluation, forestry education
Parameters: Trip purpose, sign visibility, listenership, message quality, demographics
Research Area/Region: Transmitter location atop Hoodoo Butte, at Hoodoo Ski Resort.
The Hoodoo Butte is located within the Deschutes National Forest.
Site Location: The transmitter located atop Hoodoo Butte is permanent. The broadcasts
are played in a continuous cycling ioop The legal description of the area where the
transmitter is located is:
NE 1/4, Sec. 17, T 12 (S), R 10 (E) Willamette Principle meridian & baseline.
The Oregon State University Forestry Extension Program, in conjunction with the
Deschutes and Willamette National Forests, designed and implemented an educational
program using the Low Power Radio (LPR) technology. LPR is a communication
technique used to send information, via AM radio broadcasts, to an audience, typically
through an automobile radio. This technique is used for dispensing such information as
weather and road reports, car travel tours and interpretive information. The goal of this
study was to evaluate the effectiveness of that program.
This study has a dual purpose, that is, it is both formative and summative. In these
terms, this evaluation provides information about the use of the LPR program located on
Santiam Pass and information that could contribute to the successful implementation and
effectiveness of future LPR programs.
Through the use of survey tools, information regarding listener involvement and
perceptions of the LPR program was drawn from two sources. A random sample drawn
from the population of actual drivers across the broadcast area yielded 278 responses.
Results of this descriptive study found that the dominant profile of the Santiam Pass driver
is a 43 yr old, urban man with a high school education. The major reason for travelling
over the pass is for recreational purposes (76%). The data reflected a 30% potential
audience. That is, only 30% of the respondents were aware of the program's existence.
Of the total number of respondents 8% tuned into the broadcast.
The second source, comprised of fifty individuals, was a purposeful sample of
people interested in public natural resource education. Assessment of the data retrieved
here showed that the demographics roughly matched the random sample in all
characteristics but educational level. The dominant profile of the internal group is a 46 yr
old, urban man with a college education. The major reason for travelling across the pass
was for recreational purposes (56%). The majority of the respondents felt that they had
learned something from the messages (84%) and that the program was useful (88%).
Seventy-eight percent said they had enjoyed the program and fifty-six percent said that
they would tune in again.
The demographics of the population audiences were noted and compared against
other variables in an attempt to create a portrait of significant characteristics relating to
use and enjoyment of the LPR program. The data were statistically analyzed to examine
the hypotheses relating to: 1) Community influencing tuning in to the broadcasts, 2) Sex
influencing tuning in to the broadcasts, 3) Age influencing tuning in to the broadcasts, and
4) Educational background influencing tuning in to the broadcasts. Statistical tests used
to examine these hypotheses in null form did not allow for rejection in the random sample.
Information regarding demographics and frequencies in that sample have proven useful to
the summative scope of this evaluation. The purposeful sampling group did suggest
significant relationships for questions I & 2 from above. Those are that urbanites
considered the program useful more often than rural dwellers and that men felt that they
had learned something more consistently than did women.