Australian media has long been an industry dominated by men, and commercial radio is by far the worst offender.
But according to shock jock Alan Jones, there’s no conspiracy going on. Women just aren’t interested in the job.
Speaking with Ten’s ‘Studio 10’ earlier in the week, Jones was asked to share his opinion on the noticeable lack of female voices on talkback radio.
“I just don’t know. Because women are successful wherever they want to be, so I can only assume they don’t want that. They choose other roles in the media” he responded.
Like a man with little conviction in his position however, Jones continued to flounder through the interview, referring to women as “sleuths” who “primarily migrate to the newsroom.”
He failed to explain why this would be the case.
Thankfully though, a number of female Australian broadcasters were prepared to fill in the gaps, refuting Jones’ position and calling out commercial radio for what it is. A persistently sexist boys club.
Speaking with Fairfax’s Jenna Clarke, television and radio personality Susie Elelman– who just completed a six-year tenure on the midnight to dawn shift with 2GB– said she’d pled countless times with boss John Singleton, to bring in more female broadcasters.
“I can assure you I have tried, and tried and tried. I’ve been on air at 2GB since 1994, on and off, I had my own show in 2000 for a year before Singo moved the whole lot of us out and bought Alan and everyone else in,” she said.
“I have tried to traverse that tidal wave of testosterone that dominates commercial talkback radio and I’ve put in submission after submission, that had sponsorships attached to it, and I have been ignored.
“Every manager and every program director I’ve ever worked with on radio, talkback radio, has said, ‘Nobody especially women, wants to hear women on radio’, that’s their catch-cry.”
When Elelman continued to push the issue she was told point blank, that she had the “option of resigning.”
— Studio 10 (@Studio10au) September 7, 2017
CEO for Ardent Leisure, Deborah Thomas backed up Elelman’s claims saying she too had faced gendered discrimination during her time at 2GB.
She tweeted that “despite ratings & revenue increases” she was “replaced by a guy & told women don’t work on radio.”
I too had a show on 2GB for a year early Sunday am. Despite ratings & revenue increases, replaced by a guy & told women don’t work on radio.
— Deborah Thomas (@DeborahThomas10) September 7, 2017
“We live in a society in which it’s accepted that men set the public agenda and drive it, that they have more things of value to contribute, that their voices are more important and therefore deserve more space and more respect” she said.
2GB’s current prime time radio line-up is inarguably reflective of this. From 5am to 8pm, Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Chris Smith, Ben Fordham, Ross Greenwood and Mark Levy take the mic to commentate on the world around us. But how can that world be suitably analysed by a line-up of middle aged, middle class, white men?
And Alan Jones, feminist that he claims to be, should fight for something better.