TV & Radio

Mar 8, 2012

Talkback radio: the one medium where feminism dare not enter the waves

When you ask Amanda Blair, the only female radio presenter on commercial AM radio in Australia, if she's encountered sexism in the workplace, her war stories seem to never end.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

Ask Amanda Blair — the only regular female radio presenter on metropolitan commercial AM radio in Australia — if she’s encountered sexism in the workplace and her war stories seem to never end.

“I’ve had program directors ask me if I’ve got my period if I’ve complained about something,” she told Crikey. “I’ve had program directors say to me ‘why can’t you just be like all the other girls who make cups of tea and are nice to me?’. I’ve had ‘look, you probably shouldn’t talk about politics because you’re a woman’. I’ve had ‘I probably shouldn’t ask this, but are you going to get pregnant again? Because if you are then it might determine how long I’m going to sign you for on your contract’.”

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17 thoughts on “Talkback radio: the one medium where feminism dare not enter the waves

  1. Arty

    I am certainly pleased to see the prediction that the people who listen to AM radio are not breeding. I wonder how much damage they have already done with their previous breeding efforts.

    Against that, I get the impression that Talkback presenters and listeners might not be sufficiently aware of the necessary role of both sexes in the breeding process. They seem to be totally confused about the role of women in every other facet of life.

  2. Suzanne Blake

    I can’t see why women would not work on morning or indeed afternoon radio. Its all about ratings, if they are good enough they will succeed.

  3. SusieQ

    But they have to be given the chance Suzanne and its clear that is not happening at the moment.
    Look at the problems with getting a female to call Australian Rules football – you’d have thought the sky was about to fall in.
    And this surely is one reason why MTR failed in Melbourne – really, who wants to listen to a bunch of old blokes (mostly down the line from Sydney) ranting and raving about stuff? Maybe it is a generational thing, but do we really have to wait that long?

  4. Suzanne Blake

    @ SuzieQ

    It is happening on ABC and has been for many years.

    Its happening on some FM stations.

    Its all about ratings

  5. wendy.collins

    What a wonderful thought, “If AM commercial radio doesn’t change it will die.”
    Let’s euthanise it now and pull the plug on the angry-old-man radio.

  6. Freja

    What SusieQ said. I listen to RRR (Melbourne community radio) on the way to work in the mornings. Their breakfast show is hosted by two women and a man. The women are sharp, funny, political and in no way – at all – dominated by the man. Commercial radio creates a situation where men feel free and confident enough to be able to be funny and women are there to play their straight guy when they’re there at all.

    It makes it hard to find a voice that listeners like to tune in to when all you want to do is scream.

  7. Brian Williams

    About 10 years ago I gave up on listening to Neil Mitchell on 3AW because age had definitely wearied the silly old coot. In fact, his grumpy old man persona was so bad that I decided to regress to Triple J for a few years in the morning when Francis Leach was doing the show, and there was some really interesting and informative programming on that.

    Now, as a lifelong sports nut, the only AM station I’ll listen to is SEN, and I’d welcome more female input there…although hopefully none as moronic as Ripper Rita Whipper Snipper, or whatever her name is on the Friday lunchtime show.

  8. SusieQ

    If it is about ratings, then why won’t people listen to women on the radio?? Maybe cultural change is needed wider than just in radio-land. You only have to look at the Yumi Stynes hoo-ha/storm in an eggcup – she gets pilloried and abused, George Negus apologies too and no one seems to be unhappy with him – whats the diff?

  9. Mark from Melbourne

    I know this is blatantly sexist but I think the reason there aren’t many women on AM radio is that there is far less chance of finding a suitably vile, sanctimonious, jumped up, venal, over-opinionated, blowhard, bigoted, parsimonious, two-faced, loud-mouthed, bald faced, hypocritical, did I say vile?, tosser in our female ranks to replace the current crop…Sorry as well as being sexist it is mainly aimed at Sydney jocks. We in Melbourne appear to have seen off the latest attempt at shock jockery at MTR.

  10. Mark from Melbourne

    The clock is officially on the moderator. 4.23pm and counting….

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