Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The North East's Female Radio Presenters Are a Ballsy Bunch - Giving as Good as They Get

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The North East's Female Radio Presenters Are a Ballsy Bunch - Giving as Good as They Get

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE FOX

AJOURNALIST has just done a survey asking "Where have all the women gone?" in public life, after finding that women regularly make up far fewer than a third of the contributors in newspapers, on the radio, and as TV current affairs panelists.

"But there's Sarah Millican" doesn't quite cut it as a response to the dearth of prominent women voices in the country or in the North East specifically. (Though hurrah that the only female face to be appearing on those shelves of Christmas comedy DVDs is a South Shields lass). "But there's them two from Little Mix and Lauren Laverne and Kathryn Tickell," also won't impress as a demonstration of how the music scene is actually flooded with females. It's not. Nor are the worlds of the media, business, the law, entertainment or sport.

It's only a few years ago that I was told I couldn't read the news bulletins, I spent the morning researching and writing for a commercial radio station which had a female co-presenter at Breakfast because "Listeners would confuse the two female voices". Yup, that's right, according to the station's American consultant, listeners were too thick to distinguish between girl's voices and the effort of doing so might make their head, or other body parts, explode.

Having worked in North East radio, I think this region audibly overturns its reputation as a particularly macho or sexist place in an unexpected place - its radio presenters. Elsewhere there is an accepted format for radio shows presented by both men and women and an accepted persona for radio women - particularly in commercial radio. This has the woman doing a lot of high-pitched giggling at what the man says and sounding as if she might be on the verge of a trip to a salon for a bikini wax, or actually in the middle of a bikini wax, at all times. All gravitas, authority, knowledge and humour is displayed by the man.

It's a fifties cartoon, seventies sit-com version of male-female relations. Even in BBC local radio where this stereotyping may not be as overt, research by the group "Sound Women" has found 85% of breakfast shows are presented by a solo male and only 2% by a solo female. …

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