Sunday, April 29, 2012

Women in Radio ?

A new Blog prompted by a report of a 'Women in Radio' scheme (founded by Maria Williams) of mentors and 'mentees', run with the BBC Academy, plus an allied Blog on Blogger by Richard Richard Horseman. Journalism Training: New Model Needed

The justification for the scheme is made in comments by the 'training agency Skillset'*. This is a:
"mentoring scheme following research by training agency Skillset, which shows that women in radio are less likely to make it to the top of the profession*"
And "while women working in radio are better qualified than men (73% of women have degrees, compared to 60% men) they are paid, on average, £2,200 less each year"
The founder of 'Sound Women', Maria Williams states, “Sound Women is all about unlocking the potential of women in radio."

I have to comment about the 'Sound Women' that I find it elitist and biased to suggest that a Degree in ANY way makes someone more able to work in (or run) radio. To start with they are ignoring 'gut feeling', and 'native talent'. The statement is presumption used to justify a rather narrow-cast 'mentor/ mentee' scheme that is clearly costing a lot of BBC funds and time.
The fact women have more degrees than men cannot be used to justify that they would be any better than men, or should paid the same, as their career progression is not just controlled by ability.
The KEY point here is that radio is a CAREER and the women running this scheme have IGNORED the fact that 'mother nature' dictates that most women have to have several 'career breaks' to start a family (their choice).
How CAN these women 'keep up' with their male counterparts as regards top jobs?
I can think of MANY good UK radio managers/ broadcasters who do NOT have a degree: top of the list would be Orion's David Lloyd one of THE most respected people in our broadcasting industry, who has worked in every style of radio from LBC, BBC to many ILR stations.
The Women in Radio scheme is biased, and at a time even 'award winning' journalists are being sacked/ laid-off, or leaving commercial and BBC radio, WHY give untrained ones false hope, and train yet more!?
Len Groat
** I am NOT biased against women in radio I employed/trained/worked with, far more on my stations in the 80s and 90s than many other ILR managers, including Jenni Costello, Erica Hughes, Sarah Pennells, Anne-Marie Minhall, Penny Ballard, Jane Hall, Krissi Carpenter and others.

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