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June 13, 2006

 Empathy damage assessment

The radio programme on which Karen Hughe's sidekick Coleen Graffy made the GITMO comment I posted about earlier wasn't some little talk show in the boonies. It was the flagship twice-a-day Newshour programme of the English-language BBC World Service.

How many people does it reach? The weekly global audience for the World Service in English is 39 million. The BBC ran the item on other programmes; to my knowledge the high-profile domestic morning Today radio programme (about 6 million daily - only proles watch breakfast TV in Britain) and the struggling 24-hour TV news channel BBC World (no audience figures available). I assume the story also ran on the radio World Service in Arabic (12 million weekly) and Urdu (10 million), and probably in other languages. Let's say the daily audience is half the weekly one and it only follows news. That gives a global audience for Ms Graffy's sensitive public diplomacy of 35-40 million, nicely focused on wavering pro-Americans. To give perspective, Fox News' most popular programme, The O'Reilly Factor, draws 2 million viewers a night.

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