THERE ARE A GROWING NUMBER OF WOMEN INFLUENCING OUR NATIONAL AIRWAVES, CONTRIBUTING TO CONTEMPORARY CULTURE AND SHAPING THE FUTURE OF OUR AUSTRALIAN RADIO INDUSTRY.
The gender imbalance on our nation’s airwaves is still prevalent however, with a report indicating that 3 times more men than women are waking up our nation presenting breakfast shows across the country.
Mumbrella reports that across five of our capital cities, from a lineup of 40 shows, including AM and FM programming, men had a 73.9% share of voice. In fact, not one single metro breakfast radio show in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth is presented by a woman on her own, while eight men in these areas present in a solo format.
Townsville radio station Hit 103.1 is one bucking this testosterone trend, with 50% of their on-air talent being female.
Hit 103.1 Breakfast presenter Gabi Elgood says the shift from being one of the statistics to her relatively new environment in Townsville has been an eye-opener. “I’ve been in the radio industry for 9 years, and I’ve worked in predominantly male workplaces where it is that little bit harder to have your voice heard, that little bit harder to be seen as an equal because of that imbalance. But here, it is just the opposite. Everyone sees each other as equal, because we are” she said.
In a year of global movements for women, Gabi says that a voice for women, from women, is now not only more important than ever, but vital. “We need to have a female perspective on radio. There are so many women’s issues that are coming to the forefront of the world at the moment. Whether it’s the #metoo movement, shining a light on endometriosis or the tampon tax. A lot of guys don’t know about these things or aren’t experiencing them first hand. It’s important that when we’re informing the audience of these issues, that it’s coming from a woman.”
‘We’re in this industry because we want to use our voices for good and here in Townsville we do that really well,” says afternoon presenter Carley Whittington. “By people having more access to us through things like community events and online, hopefully they realise that we’re more than just a voice coming out of the radio.”
Gabi agrees adding, “Here at Hit 103.1 in Townsville we’re 55% female 45% male staff overall and on air we’re 50/50. We have big female names leading the way on the Hit Network like Carrie Bickmore, Fifi Box, Kate Langbrooke. There’s some really strong females in this industry doing amazing things.”
These female trailblazers along with Hit Network mentors are also working with the next generation of female radio presenters through programs finding and nurturing more female talent.
“The Hit Network is continually pushing for female talent and investing in developing that talent,” says Gabi. “We’re now really being heard and getting these opportunities to grow.”
“There’s no ‘this is how to be a male radio announcer, and this is how to be a female radio announcer’. It’s not like that,” adds Carley. “Entertaining and informing people, it’s all done the exact same way, just with your own spin on it.
“I love seeing our girls climbing the ranks and proving that they’re up there with the best of them. Being a voice for women is the best thing ever.”