November 26, 2015

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First Mediaworks

08/16/99 Why A Women's Issue?
     I've always been a huge believer in the equality of women in the workplace. I cheered for the RAB's Lynn Anderson when she was at KIIS Los Angeles and reveled in the success of Erica Farber during her tenure at WOR. I watched the rise of Kari Winston, now a Bonneville VP/GM; Francis Preston at BMI; and Jacqui Rossinsky at Interep -- much like a golfer watches Tiger Woods. These women in Radio succeeded against great odds. They are champions who blazed a trail for others to follow.
     When Radio Ink was in the embryonic stages of its development, I made it my mission to contribute what little I could to "the cause." I thought that Radio had too few women in upper management, so I created a section in the magazine called "Women in Radio." We ran it for about a year, but the resistance from women was so high that we dropped it.
     When I added "Woman of the Year" recognition as part of the annual Radio Wayne Awards, it, too, was met with resistance. We were told that our award was fundamentally wrong because it separated women from men. Again, we thought that the least offensive thing to do was to stop giving the award. (Oddly, the recipient of the award never said it was divisive.)
     At least a dozen other opportunities have come and gone when Radio Ink could have acknowledged the special contribution of women in Radio, but I've grown a little bit gun-shy. Now we're getting complaints that too few women are listed in the annual 40 Most Powerful People issue.
     We feel badly that only one woman made it to the Top 40 list this year, but we refuse to adjust the list for the sake of balance or tokenism. The Top 40 list has always been, and will always be, a true reflection of power in the industry. To give special weight to women or minorities would compromise the list and make it invalid. We would rather be accurate than fair in this case, even though we agree that Radio has too few women and minorities in power.
     Are you actually holding in your hand a special Radio Ink issue called The Most Influential Women in Radio? Even though our women's advisory board has assured us that this special issue is the "right" thing to do, I can't help but think we're going to be reprimanded.
     What's your opinion? Is it insulting to women to acknowledge that they have to be twice as good as men to receive the same recognition? Would it be better simply to look the other way and pretend that Radio isn't still a male-dominated industry? Instead, should we assume that the women among us are getting all the respect and fair treatment they deserve?
Call, write, or e-mail us. I'd like to hear your opinion.

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