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Wizard of Ads

Female Morning Drive


By Roy Williams

We have female group heads, female general managers, female sales managers, and female superstar salespeople. We even have a woman running the RAB. So where are the female morning drive jocks?

Ive been asking everyone I can think to ask that question, and no one can name a female morning drive announcer in any of the top 50 markets. Sure, there are plenty of women on morning drive shows, but they all seem to be the sidekick of the male announcer.

Which station is going to be the first to let a woman fly solo in morning drive? Which station is going to be the first with a two-woman or three-woman morning team?

Do it. The talent is out there. I promise it will be huge.

Allison Linn, a reporter for NBC, Today, and the Associated Press, reports that, according to data collected in 2007, 33.5 percent of women at that time were making more than their husbands. The trend clearly indicates that women will soon be earning more than their husbands in nearly 50 percent of all households.

Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, writes, Many women still arent comfortable out-earning their boyfriends and many men still arent comfortable earning less than their wives ... Well, theyd better get comfortable! Women are going to be the primary breadwinners in more and more families for so many reasons: 1) the shift from brawn economy to service economy; 2) womens growing share of college degrees; and 3) sexism softening among male-dominated industries as women establish themselves in more positions of power. A national aversion to successful wives is a really bad recipe for economic growth and family formation. Get over it, guys. Its a womans world, now.

Advertisers know this. Listeners know this. But does radio?

When Ann Richards was governor of Texas, she said, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels. Ann was slightly militant in her feminism, as was common 20 years ago when she made her deliciously witty statement.

But the once-edgy defiance of feminism has softened in recent years as Americans have increasingly recognized the abilities of women.

The Twilight series of films was launched 5 and 1/2 years ago. Twilight revolves around Bella, a high-school girl who is average in every conceivable way, yet shes accepted, respected, and highly valued by immortals of astounding power and wealth. The Twilight films have grossed more than $3.3 billion, and its not because we believe in vampires. Its because we believe in girls.

In 2012, we were introduced to 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films, another successful franchise about an average girl who is called upon to save humanity. Her inner strength, tenacity, and fundamental goodness allow Katniss to survive everything that is thrown at her as she quietly wins the day.

Divergent is the newest of these Joan of Arc films in which an average young woman goes toe-to-toe against strong opponents and wins. The special ability of Tris Prior is that she isnt limited to seeing the world in just one way, but is able to respond appropriately in ever-changing circumstances. In other words, Divergent celebrates an ability shared by every woman, everywhere.

I dont believe that Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent are changing our perception of women. Movies like these are just mirrors that show us how much our perception has already changed.

Everywhere except morning drive, that is.

As recently as 10 years ago, approximately half of all men would choose an engagement ring alone. The other half would choose the engagement ring with their partner at their side. It was barely thinkable that a woman would shop for an engagement ring by herself and then bring her fiance in to see it later. Yet this is a common practice today.

Do you have any idea how profoundly this affects the language of radio ads for engagement rings? Most women are gracious enough not to be offended by outdated language such as, Buy her the diamond she deserves, but is such a statement likely to attract women to that store? It would be more elegant to say, When you love someone and they love you back, it just doesnt get any better than that. And a diamond is the symbol of that love. This second, more powerful line treats both parties as equals and makes no assumptions regarding gender.

Gosh, even engagement ring stores are escaping the sexism of the past.

Now before you try to claim that research indicates the people of your town prefer male morning announcers, let me assure you that a rapidly growing pile of far better research clearly indicates otherwise.

I truly hope that Im wrong about how no woman is currently flying solo in morning drive.

Am I?

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail: