Audience Dialogue

Situational Analysis or SWOT - what it is and how to use

Situation Analysis -  a useful method to understand your situation and what you need to focus on.

What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (or Limitations) - called SWOT?

A SWOT Analysis is a simple and powerful business technique that has been around for over 40 years. Whilst ideal for a radio station, you can also do it for a specific radio program or even yourself as an individual, to map your career development. The idea is to be realistic about the situation and environment, whether you are a new station in Bangladesh or a long established one in the USA. The goal is to have a cool clear-headed base for next steps. 

Very important to use a variety of sources of information for a reasonably factual, multi-dimensional view of your world as a broadcaster. You can also make assumptions if they are specific and more or less common-knowledge (or reasonably acceptable).  The idea is to start with something to work with, and refine later as situations become clearer. For a community radio station every form of research (or data, evidence) you can get can support the process. Whether it is feedback from listeners or group discussions, regional economic forecasts, social studies by an NGO, all of this is useful. What does a SWOT look like? It's a simple 4 box chart, see the example below, where you list your points under each heading.

Let's review these elements.

Strengths (or assets)



Threats (limitations)

How do we use this data?

Firstly go through the 4 lists and prioritise (define what is more important), even just a rough sort of the most important to least important. In a meeting  you might ask your colleagues at the station to nominate their top 3 in each area (box) and then you concentrate on the most voted items.

It is vital to carefully consider what you have collected about your situation, and discuss as a group the following:

The next task is where you look for actionable relationships between items in the 4 boxes. As example,

Many community radios do not have a marketing plan and do not conduct and act on regular (and honest) situation analyses. 

That largely explains why many radios struggle to deliver consistently for the communities they serve.  But these tools can help them overcome and improve their situation.

What questions and issues do you have about analysing or marketing planning for your community station?  Simply contact us with your story (or question).

If you like this topic and are involved in media especially a radio station you may also like our unique marketing book Participative Marketing for Local Radio, click here to read about it.