Last week the networking and development group Sound Women released a report on the gender bias in radio. It found that just 20% of presenters were female. You can probably guess the other 80% (it’s men). Helen Zaltzman has written a great blog about the fallout.
Sound Women are a much-needed reality check for producers and commissioners. It’s easy to think day-to-day and not look at the bigger picture.
So with this in mind, I have crunched the numbers and worked out the gender bias in my own programming since the start of 2013:
|Show Title||Number Produced||Guest Male||Guest Female||Male Presented||Female Presented||Guests||Notes|
|Spark London||16||50%||50%||N/A||N/A||16||No presenter|
|Foyles Bookcast||12||76%||24%||N/A||N/A||21||No presenter|
|Another F1 Podcast||12||N/A||N/A||100%||0%||N/A||No guests|
|Ministry of Stories||10||N/A||N/A||100%||100%||N/A||No guests|
|Sustainable Business Podcast||7||62%||38%||86%||14%||26|
|The BAFTA podcast||7||56%||44%||71%||14%||85||One episode was a montage|
|Global Development Podcast||3||67%||33%||67%||33%||12|
You’ll note I haven’t included shows where I’ve been ‘guest producer Matt’ – so Music Weekly and Football Weekly at the Guardian. That’s because guests are set up before I take over the reigns.
On Media Talk, John Plunkett and I have made a concerted effort this year to bring in more female guests, people like Broadcast Magazine’s Lisa Campbell, former R1 exec Sam Steele and the return of Emily Bell with a monthly US report. Added to this is the new TV reviewer Rebecca Nicholson and regular Media Guardian columnist Maggie Brown. Fantastic talent I’m sure you’ll agree. If you listen.
Spark London’s live shows have always struck me as gender neutral, but I never realised the podcast was so finely balanced. There’s no quota here I promise: I take the best stories from the month’s three shows and put them out (and if we have a below par month, I tend to skip a week).
As for the rest… well, I’m tempted to suggest they reflect the industries they’re made for. Each podcast is work-related and for a specific industry; though I’m really happy with BAFTA’s 44% female guests. That has taken a lot of work.
Of course, the presenter stats let me down. Jenni Murray was the co-star of Ministry of Stories, which is something me and writer Dave Pickering really pushed for with Cbeebies. And of course I quite like doing programmes with no presenter, which doesn’t help my stats.
So that’s the next mission: to start a programme with a female presenter. There’s a couple of conversations I’m having with people, but if you’re interested in starting a podcast, let me know in the comments below… and to finish, here’s what Media Talk thought about women in the media last year, Are things getting better?