Broadcasting Board of Governors – Focus Groups


The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) chose DCG to conduct a qualitative research study in Mali to explore perceptions of and reactions to the Voice of America (VOA) Bambara radio programming. BBG wanted to collect feedback among different types of listeners. The goal of the survey? To identify ways to grow the number of listeners. DCG did just that.


The study consisted of six focus groups in Bambara, each with eight participants. Before attending the focus group, all 72 participants were asked to view several VOA programs and complete an in-home questionnaire. DCG oversaw the fieldwork planning and implementation with weekly calls and e-mails, guided and managed the fieldwork partner’s work, provided quality control, and ensured on-time and on-budget submission of deliverables. These included audio recordings of each focus group, a summary report, and a detailed analytical report.


  • From the focus groups, we provided BBG with many insights into what radio audiences in Mali enjoyed and valued including:
    • Listeners felt Bambara language reporting was more authentic and accessible for those who do not speak French.
    • Listeners were impressed with the quality of VOA Bambara presenters’ spoken Bambara and were eager for more VOA Bambara content.
    • Having on the ground correspondents, as well as providing eye witness accounts, helps participants feel they are getting the news ‘first-hand,’ from other people across the country.
  • We produced and delivered a 60-page report detailing these findings. The report identified gaps in coverage revealed by the focus groups and DCG’s recommendations for addressing these gaps.