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A damning new report has illustrated Irish radio’s blatant failure to showcase the country’s female talent.

In a new report published today the gender imbalance on Irish radio has been made startlingly clear.

Collating data from Irish radio stations between June 1 2019 – June 1 2020, Linda Coogan Byrne has illustrated the huge gender disparity that exists on the airwaves. The report is based on Irish artists only and derives its findings  from the top 20 most played songs by Irish acts, the top 5 most played songs on each station and the artists and songs in that top within the year in question.

Using Radiomonitor – an industry standard music airplay monitoring service, the report is able to evaluate the airtime given to various Irish acts.

Sadly, but unsurprisingly the report has shown that in the vast majority of instances males completely dominate the top 20 most played songs, top 5 most played songs and the most played artists.

For example at FM 104 there were 0 female acts in the 20 most played acts.

FM 104 STATS

RTÉ Radio 1 were the only station in the report with any sort of balance.

RTE RADIO 1 STATS

In a few instances Soulé appeared in the top 20 most played acts, but to only have one female artist appear among the same clump of overplayed male artists is disheartening.

SPIN 103.8 STATS

Linda Coogan Byrne said that, “There is no shortage of incredible female acts in Ireland such as those listed in the above pages but they are not getting the airtime they deserve. We also have the same wonderful diversity that the UK has yet Irish radio stations are not showing support. There is also only 1 act in the entire list on the Top 20 who is from the black community. Yet we have a beautiful diversified musical landscape in Ireland. If we look to the UK we see a diversity of breakthrough acts in the last decade like Amy Winehouse, Adele, Mabel, Dua Lipa, Jess Glynne, Jessie Ware, Raye, Jorja Smith, Sinead Harnett, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora… the list goes on and on. Where are our countries breakthrough female acts of the last decade?”

“The last time Irish radio supported female acts it was the era of Sinead Connor, The Corrs and The Cranberries – whose hit song Dreams; was just covered by 39 of Ireland’s many incredibly talented female acts lead on by RuthAnne. In a Post-Covid world, it’s time to create a new normal as the old one wasn’t working for everyone, it was only working for the privileged exclusively white male steering the industry standards. It is time we stopped pandering to that outdated model. It is time for inclusivity and equality for all, and we want to stop hearing that women are strident when all we seek is equal opportunities”.

Gill Dooley, Former Director of Digital Business Development with Universal Artist manager said, “It’s clear from the overarching data, that there is systemic gender bias across support at radio for domestic artists.”

“I would urge everyone to look at why this exists, particularly those of us working in the music industry and those who work within radio. What are the steps we can collectively take to actively address and stamp this out? This includes tracing it right back to the root of the issue. Are female artists being invested in, to the same level as their male counterparts?…”

“Irish Women In Harmony has helped to highlight a worthy charitable cause, and as a by-product has shone a light on the sheer number of female artists coming out of this country right
now. I hope it’s an education to those at radio who may have been unaware of the quality of homegrown female talent we have. And I hope it signals an active response from those in power positions at radio, to aim for these stats to look more balanced within the next year”.

You can read the full report here.

Words: Dylan Murphy 
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