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Research on the Oprah Winfrey Show Proposal



For many decades over the past period, mass media have played a vital role in disseminating significant information to the audience. Consequently, audiences have reciprocated these efforts by expressing loyalty to various television shows and radio shows. As a result, a large audience base is likely to be constituted depending on the host’s ability to draw as many audiences as possible.

This has a mutual benefit between the host and the audience following them. The host is likely to benefit more than the audience in various instances as revealed in studies on the Oprah Winfrey’s shows. Television shows have hit the market more than the radio shows given the improved technological changes that allow television broadcasting share various shows on certain terms and conditions.

The major expectations of audiences are learning, entertainment, advices, and more important, getting inspiration from the television shows. Since the introduction of The Oprah Winfrey Show, approximately 26 years ago, the show managed to draw many audiences across the world. Each episode could attract different audience, depending on the message and the hosted character.

However, the show, just like many other business ventures had its odds and hardships leading to its last days in mid-2011. This came up after the host; Oprah Winfrey decided to concentrate on her OWN cable network that she had established January 2011. Love her or hate her, this lady with a very poor life background managed to conquer odds in life to an extent of becoming a superstar.

From lags to riches, from Mississippi, Oprah improved on her weight, (although still struggling), created world recognition, inspired people undergoing hard times, and marketed herself among others. With her termination of the show, many audiences could not afford to watch her based on the expense in securing a Nielsen box to transmit the OWN programs, such as Oprah’s Next Chapter.

The Television show triggered both motivational and inspirational powers to audience with assistance of books published by this host. The big question derived from the show could be; why did The Oprah Winfrey Show has to end despite rising into high popularity standards? (Goodale 1). Therefore, this study cultivated on various important issues contributed by the show, reasons attributing to termination of this television show and why self promotion is complicated.

Research Questions

Based on the study thesis, various questions will be formulated to ensure the study come up with a conclusive explanation of various weighty matters learned from The Oprah Winfrey Show. Therefore, the following research questions will guide the study;

  1. What were the audiences’ expectations, lessons, and source of quest to continue watching the show both locally and globally?
  2. Was it necessary for Oprah Winfrey to terminate her role in hoisting the show?
  3. What are the highs and lows encountered in the journey to gain success as a public figure through self promotion?
  4. Why did this show had to be terminated despite its source of inspiration to many people and what are possible measures that can be taken to prevent losing audience?
  5. Is it possible to maintain the public attention among the audiences through self promotion?

Research hypothesis

Various research hypotheses will be necessary at this stage of research proposal to link the researchers’ thoughts to the information gathered from other sources. As a result, the following hypotheses are likely to be rejected or accepted, depending on the information gathered from both secondary and primary sources. The results derived from sources related to The Oprah Winfrey Show will help in creating a conclusion of the study. The hypothesis formulated in this study include,

  1. Most of the audiences are likely to listen and watch television shows at any expense as long as there is a message derived at the end of the show.
  2. It is impossible to maintain the audience loyalty forever in public spaces, such as televisions.
  3. Self promotion is a tough task and the cost to maintain an identity is even tougher.

Study Justification

This study is geared towards spotting various problems that war the success of media and communication fraternity. Rising superstars or celebrities as well as televisions and radio programs have been rampant in most parts of the world.

However, these programs or shows have been terminated in a very crude ways in which the audiences are left nostalgic. In most cases, the shows have been terminated even when the audience loyalty increases. This behavior of “popular hosts” jumping from one position to another may result to trouble among the media owners and their audience.

Most of the hosts have been accused of serving these positions for their own good and popularity. Therefore, the common interest keeps lowering toward the audience, whereas the personal interest keeps on rising. At the end of the day, the host think they are superior hence they can make any move, make unlawful decisions, and even think they can domineer among others.

Therefore, this study will offer a solution to ensure measures are taken in appropriate time to ensure the audience remains the first priority and enjoy their shows comfortably without incurring high expense. Most important, discussion on issues of self promotion could be a shaping tool for the upcoming hosts.

Literature Review

The struggle to create or promote personal identity in public can be a very hectic task. More so, audience can be source of the celebrity that most people require to climb the ladder of popularity. However, the television host have a hard task behind them in the battle to identify the potential in them, working on the identity, marketing themselves, and more precisely, to maintain the audience’s loyalty.

Many scholars and researchers have been studying various factors that might be contributing to the rise and fall of various superstar and this have highly contribute to the knowledge base on personal promotion and marketing an identity.

The Rise and Influence of Oprah Winfrey

The popularity of The Oprah Winfrey Show was a major boost to the television broadcaster owners, Oprah Winfrey, and the audience. The cooperation between the three stakeholders was a huge achievement that propelled the coexistence of the show. However, it got motivational and inspirational to watch a once impoverished young girl from Mississippi transform and gain popularity to be among the highly ranked women in the world and an American icon.

Besides her race background (Black American), she conquered in a field that many people would not have thought of succeeding (Info please 1). Fortunately, the jovial, and firing shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey kept even the Whites asking for more. Canton David described her as “An African-American woman captured the hearts and minds of middle- and upper-middle-class whites” (Goudreau 1).

The Oprah Winfrey Show transformed the American and the rest of the world’s people’s lives. The quest for Americans for emotional and bodily craving for self-redefinition was of great boost to Oprah’s self promotion. She used her position as a host to deliver the most important messages through hosting various people.

People hosted ranged from the popular to peasant, depending on the message she wanted to deliver in each episode. The guests invited were drawn from music industries, political arena, games and sports, films, and simple people with inspirational testimonies (Goudreau 1).

The great influence of the show has a massive support in America compared to other areas in the world. This emanates from the fact that most of the guest hosted in the show has the American ground and their inspirational stories have direct linkage to other residents in the region. It is easier to hear a testimony or revelation from people you know as compared to strangers.

As a result, American shows have more audiences as compared to Chinese shows, who may have less interest on what the program is all about. In addition, this low audience in China may be as a result of inability to own commodities such as Nielson box. Airing some controversial or biased issues may as well reduce the audience in a show. For instance, hosting a show on violence, legalization of homosexuality and commercial sex may discourage number of audience.

The presence of Oprah Winfrey Show can be used to show how a humble beginning can end up creating an indelible mark among the audience. Even with departure of Oprah Winfred in her show, the audience has followed her to the new cable network (OWN).

There is no doubt that this host must have won hearts of many audiences. This might be associated with how the program was beneficial to the society. For instance, Oprah was in the frontline in donating goods worth millions to charity organizations. In addition, she managed to recruit and employ a certain number of people.

Therefore, apart from her airing inspirational messages in the show, she related closely with the people. This could have cemented the relationship with her audience. This was great achievement as Oprah managed to demonstrate a true media power in the 21st century. Her determination to her own freedom granted her the wealth she enjoys today after declining offers to sell her show (Goodale 1).

Downfall of the Oprah Winfrey Show

The departure of this queen in television show was not a very voluntarily decision as indicated by various scholars. Notably, by the end of the last episode of The Oprah Winfred Show, the ratings had dropped significantly (Goudreau 1). Some argue that Oprah had developed an ego that she never had when starting the show. The quest to have freedom was another reason that she had to work on her own network (OWN). The popularity of Oprah had exceeded the one of her guest and it seemed that they were “cheap” to her (Goudreau 1).

The quest for freedom and dominance in her work can be drawn after she started the new cable network, OWN. She held three string position that included Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer. At the same time, she was a major host in the show Oprah’s Next Chapter.

In another move that attracted mixed reaction she posted on tweeter for people to tune into her latest series on OWN via Nielsen box. This was a violation of the policies laid by Nielson and she had to delete the post soon. However, after apologizing, she went further to post abusive posts in response to people reactions on her arrogance. According to Goudreau,

Oprah responded with this post “’desperate’ not ever a part of my vocab… Unethical a little harsh don’t u think? Seemed like it made sense to me. Sorry if u’re offended….Just making a request, since I can’t watch myself. Choice is yours. (1)

This might question her moral standard and tarnish her name. However, there are possibilities to redeem her image as lately revealed with hosting of Lady Gaga, Stephen Tyler, and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina and her family.


This study will use both the qualitative and quantitative research approach given the thin line between the two methods (Saunders 23). These two will be used complementarily in one instance or the other because this study will require both measurable and immeasurable information likely to assist in answering the research questions and proving the hypothesis.

Therefore, the research will use both the secondary and the primary data. The secondary data will be derived from other sources on media and communication, such as journals, media clips, published books, newspaper, web pages among others. On the other hand, the primary data will include primary sources such as interview, surveys, and questionnaires.

In case of primary data collection, a considerable sample size will consider the gender, age, and social class. Formation of the right sample size is a crucial issue to ensure that the sample is not too big or too small (Kumar 78).

The implications led by too big or too small sample size is the reliability and validity of the information derived from the sample. For instance, a small sample size with very few variables may not be useful in generalization of the results achieved. On the other hand, a large sample size may lead to erroneous results especially when there is time and money constraint.

Reliability of the data collected in the study will depend on free sampling without any biasing. In addition, there will be probability sampling to ensure the reliability and the validity of the data (Neuman 154). Various indicators in the sample will be used to ensure data collected does not focus on one major group of the respondents.

Works Cited

Goodale, Gloria. “.” Christian Science monitor. csmonitor, 25 May 2011. Web.

Goudreau, Jenna. “.” Forbes. forbes, 14 Feb. 2012. Web.

Info please. “.” Infoplease. infoplease.com., 13 Apr. 2012. Web.

Kumar, Richard. Research Methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. 2nd ed. London: SAGE, 2005. Print.

Neuman, William. Social Research Methods—Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson A & B, 2006. Print.

Saunders, Mark. Research methods for business students. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.

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