AND NOW FROM THE FM BOYS (CLUB)
This week Wendy Harmer wrote about the dearth of women on the commercial AM radio dial.
A rarity in FM radio… Chrissie Swan teaming with Jane Hall for Mix 101.1 breakfast was considered “a brave move” by the station.
A former FM radio producer replies:
Unfortunately there’s no way of commenting honestly on your article without being accused by some members of the Old Boys Club of ‘getting on an even higher horse than Wendy’.
I strongly disagree with you, Wendy. Fiercely. On two crucial points.
1) I can think of one woman in a capital city who is holding down a high-profile commercial AM shift by herself – Amanda Blair.
But, as I can only think of that one example – which unfortunately kind of strengthens your point about the rarity of women in key commercial AM radio roles – I therefore must desperately resort to strongly, fiercely disagreeing with you on this other point…
2) Commercial AM radio is not the last bastion of blokiness in the media, Wendy. Such blokey bastions abound throughout the media. Take commercial FM radio, for example. Since ancient times back in the ‘90s*, as a bastion of blokey employment practices commercial FM radio hasn’t progressed much.
Hasn’t progressed much? Truthfully? Okay. At all.
Casting aside my mock outrage, your article knocks loudly on the door of a far greater issue, one that continues to be gravely concerning. And there are no signs of progress being made in addressing the gender imbalance in the most significant on-air and off-air roles – those with the greatest impact on the audience. To use one specific example…
What is the gender ratio of Program/Content Directors in 2012 versus back in the medieval-‘90s? With two dozen commercial FM stations across the five biggest markets, by now you’d think roughly half those stations might have Content/Program Directors who are women. Staff turnover combined with the law of averages would give you, say … 12 women in those roles, give or take?
Not even close.
Quick shout out – name by name – to … every … single … one … of the capital city FM Content/Program Directors who are women, in major markets spanning 4000 kilometres right across Australia:
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