When Carol first asked me to write a piece on “women in radio,” I thought, great, no problem!!! What about women in talk radio? Not so easy. There simply aren’t enough to talk about. Female talk hosts make up less than 1/10 of the talkhost population. Think that’s bad? Check out how many female program directors they are. Funny, although we make up over half the population of the country and world, we’re still a minority.
Talk radio isn’t the only area where one can point a finger of blame. How about Congress. Wasn’t 1995 supposed to be the “Year of the Woman?” Yeah, on what planet? The U.S. is supposed to be a leader in technology, pioneers in women’s rights. Yet countries like Great Britian, the Phillipines, even Pakistan have had women as their nation’s leaders.
Talkradio started out as a “man’s” field. But as Bob Dylan says, “the times, the are a changin’….” How about flight attendants, nurses, secretaries, even housewives? Once a field dominated by women, now many of these positions are held by men.
In search of hope in media somewhere, I looked to television. ABC got it right. They have “Roseanne,” “Ellen” and “Grace Under Fire” back to back! Three women, hosting their own sitcoms, can you imagine? And their ratings are terrific. Care to check their revenue?
The point is, we just don’t get it. 60 Minutes just added a female to their lineup with the addition of Lesley Stahl a few years ago. There are no female game show hosts and late at night before you hit the sack, you can watch Letterman, Jay or Conan. Even later, Bob, Jon, Tom & Rush. Where’s the late night talk hostess? And admit it guys, who would you rather watch before bed?
TV news is no exception. We’ve got Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel. Even Connie Chung “co-hosts” with Dan Rather. We do that in talk radio too, don’t we? How many morning shows bill the female hosts name first? How many female co-hosts are required to do the weather, traffic, news and giggle?
We can do more than “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man…” We can do more than give advice, show compassion or discuss female things. We can talk about: Welfare…definately a woman’s issue, just look at the number of female recipients; Healthcare….when was the last time daddy put a bandaid on and kissed it better?; School lunches…who made your peanut butter & jelly sandwich?; Prayer in School…who taught you about God?; Domestic Violence…who knows more about this issue?; Rape-who are the victims every 6 minutes in America?; Balanced Budget Ammendment – who balanced your checkbook?
It’s time talk radio jumped into the 90’s. Don’t be afraid of change. Add a woman to your lineup…you’ll be adding class, intelligence and experience. And what will you get? Ratings and Revenue…after all, isn’t that what our business is all about?