Monday 23 October 2017

McSharry's Tubridy slot a big deal in radio's 'men-only' club

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Louise McSharry is replacing Ryan Tubridy on 2fm for two weeks. The show is called Summer with Louise, and it's quite a big deal.

I don't mean that there's anything earth-shattering going on here, this is straightforward magazine-style radio, nothing more nor less. (Though it must be added, it's fine for what it is: she's good company, smart and breezy, they have a good mix of topics and a nice "summery" vibe.)

It's a big deal because Louise McSharry, as you will have gathered from the name, is female. And 2fm is almost entirely a female-free zone.

There are worse offenders out there – some commercial stations have literally no women presenters – but 2fm is fairly bad. Out of roughly 20 shows in a normal week, three are hosted by females (one co-hosting with a man). None are anywhere near primetime: two weekend, one late-night.

The fact that taxpayers fund 2fm – and half are women – seems to make it worse. You sort of feel that at least you can turn off commercial stations, hitting them financially, whereas you can't do that with a state-funded operation.

At least the new management at 2fm seems to be making moves towards redressing the gender balance. McSharry getting the Tubridy slot is a good start. I'd actually be in favour of gender quotas on radio.

Yes, yes, I know: people should get jobs on merit, et cetera. But the fact is, the playing field isn't level. It can't be. It's simply not credible that talented male broadcasters outnumber females by five to one.

There has to be an explanation for this, whether institutionalised chauvinism or something else. Whatever the cause, there is one. Gender quotas would do no more than skew this imbalance back towards the centre.

Anyway, something really ought to be done. This gender-imbalance is ludicrous, as I am blue in the face saying.

If any other group in society was discriminated against like women are on radio, there'd be bloody murder.

Radio 1 isn't too bad, but the rest are awful. A Martian would hardly know our species had two sexes, listening to the radio. Come on folks, let's all join the 21st Century now. Don't be so afraid of women, they don't bite.

dmcmanus@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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