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Counter Culture / October 18, 2022

Why Not Her? Gender Disparity Report reveals barriers in Irish radio

Counter Culture / October 18, 2022

Why Not Her? Gender Disparity Report reveals barriers in Irish radio

Words: Eva O’Beirne

The breakdown of the top 100 songs across Irish radio revealed that artists of colour and women were less likely to receive airtime than their white male counterparts.

The 2022 Gender Disparity Data Report on Irish Radio by Why Not Her? has stated that no artists of colour from Ireland featured in the Top 100 Most played songs on Irish radio in 2021.

Irish women artists make up just three per cent of the Top 100 Most played songs on Irish radio in 2021.

Dermot Kennedy is now the highest-impacting artist in the last five years across Irish radio with Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” being the most-played song in 2021.

The Findings

RTÉ Lyric FM and RTÉ Radio 1 had the greatest gender balance out of all Irish radio stations while Spin 1038 was the most improved.

FM104 significantly lagged behind for the third year in a row, with only three female artists in their top 20 most-played acts.

The report noted that “if you are a white Irish male artist, it is five times more likely that you’ll make it to the Top 100 than if you are an Irish female artist.”

Linda Coogan Byrne, founder of Why Not Her? and data analyst commented on the report’s findings: “There is a diverse multicultural vibrancy that is at an all-time high, this needs to be reflected in the radio stations in Ireland. It is my continued hope that these data reports can continue to set the precipice for a lot of change to come. Change can happen at a quick rate, (as is evident in Spin 103.8, Rte2fm etc) when an unconscious bias is stripped back and when the effort is applied to make the shift towards DEI.”

“It is a sad situation that we mostly rely on the privileges and power of white men to make the decision as to whether women and artists of colour are good enough to be seen and heard. I hope one day this changes. We will continue as a collective to stand with our colleagues and friends in broadcasting and the music industry in working towards reaching an equal voice for women and artists of colour alongside the LGBTQIA+ community across every facet of Irish culture and we will never be afraid to ask the question Why Not Her?”

Upcoming Legislation

Under new government plans to encourage greater participation of women on the airwaves, radio and TV programs may be required to show or publish their gender balance.

Media Minister Catherine Martin has issued a proposal for gender balance in the media that will be included in several amendments in the Online Safety and Media Regulations Bill which provides for radical moves for the establishment of Coimisiún na Meán. 

Some of Minister Martin’s amendments will provide that Coimisiún na Meán may make media services codes to promote gender balance on current affairs programmes on TV and radio, as well as promote the broadcasting of musical works composed or performed by women on radio services.

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