Desperately Seeking Women in Radio

Jenni Murray accepts her Gold Award

An interesting night last night at the Sonys…

Huge congratulations to legendary Jenni Murray on her Gold Award, long overdue – and to Annie Nightingale for her Special Award, recognising 40 amazing years in radio.  Two standout exceptions as The Guardian noted, on a very male night…

There’s no doubting the genius of Danny Baker and Frank Skinner, who both vied for best speech of the night, and there were worthy Sony winners in Simon Mayo, Zane Lowe, Nicky Campbell, Jeremy Vine and many more.  But each year I sit over my coffee, and wonder why more women aren’t up there collecting Gold.

Annie Nightingale with her Special Award

Recent figures from Skillset have shown that women are leaving the creative industries.  Independent TV, animation and interactive content have seen the biggest exodus, but radio is not exempt.  Women over 35 and those with children are most likely to leave, meaning that radio is losing many amazing women far too early.  For every Jenni, Annie, and Gold winner Victoria Derbyshire, there are a host of other women who took their talents – not to mention their contacts books, listener insight and years of training – elsewhere.

We need to find out what the barriers to success are.  A radio insider was bemoaning  recently how hard it is to get women on platforms at public events.  Is it a lack of confidence?  Dearth of role models?  Or are women just too busy?  Either way, we’re becoming invisible.

So enough of the sitting and wondering over my coffee as the Sony credits roll.  In response to popular demand, I’m setting up a new Women in Radio group.  Not one where tired women sit about grumbling about childcare and chauvinism – tempting though that might be – but a really dynamic one, which motivates and inspires women to go for that big job, take risks creatively, push to be given opportunities, and to take charge of their own careers and the industry.   Then maybe in 10 years time the esteemed Sony judges won’t have enough Gold Awards for us all.

If anyone’s interested in getting involved, please get in touch.