Saturday 20 January 2018

Darragh McManus: Radio often feels like last bastion of old boys' club

A NEW year, but the same old story – on Irish radio, anyway. Pat Kenny, who turns 65 in a few weeks, has revealed that he intends to carry on working, basically because he can't afford to quit. He's not the only veteran still broadcasting: several others have passed retirement but continue to take jobs.

It's symptomatic of two damaging elements to Irish media: conservatism and patriarchy. The first is seen in a paralysing reluctance to take a chance on new talent; it seems to get harder and harder for tyro broadcasters to get their break. But more pernicious by far is the lack of female voices on radio. They make up 51pc of the population, but turn on most stations most times – especially 7am to 10pm – and you'd think there were hardly any women in Ireland at all. There's a massive absence of female presenters, and it seems to be getting worse.

It's staggering when you fully comprehend the extent of our male-dominated radio, even though your ears have been telling you this for years. But the facts don't lie: there

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