Revealed: Three times more men than women present breakfast radio in Australia

Breakfast radio remains the province of male presenters in all of Australia’s capital cities, research by Mumbrella suggests.

According to data gathered by Mumbrella, men outnumber women in the most high profile timeslot of the day by more than three to one.

Mumbrella examined the on air lineup of each FM and AM breakfast show across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. While there are eight shows fronted by a single male presenter, not a single metro radio show is presented by a woman on her own.

Across the five cities, Mumbrella assessed the lineup of 40 shows, including AM and FM commercial shows as well as each city’s local ABC station.

In total, 68 men and 24 women have presentation roles, giving men a 73.9% share of voice.

Mumbrella examined the breakfast slot because it is the highest rating, and most commercially important, timeslot of the day.

Adelaide was the most male dominated with 77.8% male voices, while Brisbane was the least, although men still outnumbered women by 72.2% to 27.8%.

The situation is even less diverse when the fact that many shows feature more than one presenter is taken into account. When examining shows with multiple presenters, programs with, for example, one man and one woman would see those hosts as presented as half a person when added to the total. This made the ratio even more extreme  with 78.4% men to 21.6% women.

Across the country, the most male dominated network is the ABC, with all five local breakfast shows fronted by men.

The statistics, which cover metro shows only, do not include ABC Radio National, which has its breakfast show hosted nationally by Fran Kelly, or ABC Triple J whose national show is co-hosted by Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton, alongside newsreader Brooke Boney.  It also excludes ABC Classic FM, hosted by Martin Buzacott.

Last year new ABC boss Michelle Guthrie’s called for greater diversity following the 2016 federal budget. In an email sent to staff on her first day she stated the ABC must “extend our reach and our relevance into areas where we are under-represented…[which] means more diversity in both our staff and our content”.

A spokeswoman for the ABC told Mumbrella that the network’s record is rapidly improving in slots outside of breakfast time.

She said: “It’s unfortunate that you’re only looking at one day part. When viewed across the day, ABC Radio has an increasingly gender-balanced lineup. Recent additions in the last year or so (including Christine Anu, Larissa Behrendt, Ali Clarke, Clare Bowditch,  Wendy Harmer, Sarah Macdonald, Chris Bath, Belinda Varischetti)  join an established and respected cohort of female presenters in every capital city, as well as national hosts such as Eleanor Hall and Patricia Karvelas.”

She also pointed out that the ABC’s metro stations also carry a half hour nationally syndicated offering which is hosted by a woman.

The spokeswoman said: “AM broadcasts a daily 30 minutes of in-depth, national, current affairs hosted by the award-winning Sabra Lane. This is an integral part of our breakfast offer.”

She added: “News Radio breakfast is regularly fronted by the respected Sandy Aloisi and of course RN Breakfast is piloted by the peerless Fran Kelly. Gen Fricker is a regular on triple j breakfast in addition to her regular afternoons gig and Brooke Boney is an important member of the triple j Breakfast team. Many ABC Radio breakfast shows have female newsreaders.

“While women make up 50% or more of our presenters in  six of eight cap cities, we are committed to bringing greater diversity to breakfast radio, and look forward to evolving to a more representative lineup.”

Macquarie Media matches the ABC, also having no female presenters.

Meanwhile, the most diverse network, with a near 50/50 split is KIIS FM, which is owned by Australian Radio Network.


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