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November 24, 2003

busting on bust

i generally love bust magazine , but there's an article in the most recent issue that pissed me off.

it's about the women of independent NJ radio station WFMU . i'll probably write bust a letter, but at the moment i think i'm gonna work out some thoughts in blog form.

this is one of the bits that i really object to:

"Maybe the techniness of radio has been daunting to women, or maybe the utter guy-ish-ness of record collecting has slowed their entry into the field, along with a helping of good old-fashioned marginalization and sexism."

now take this in combination with the fact that the article mentions college radio only once:

"Nearly every one of the on-air women has a background in college radio..."

and doesn't ever mention any other form of non-commercial radio (NPR? hello?), internet radio, pirate radio, microchannel... and whatever else i'm forgetting, so the premise that there's a lack of women in radio, except in certain types of roles which mainstream radio forces them into, is not a very well supported or well inspected one.

even if it were supported, the theories the author advances for why this might be are really pretty offensive.

now of course, my experience of radio is pretty much limited to college, and my personal experience extends mainly to wqfs, wxdu, and to some limited degree wxyc and wknc.

however, i can assure you that wqfs and wxdu have not had a lack of women involved at all levels for at least the last... um 15 years? and this article is all congratulatory toward wfmu because they've got a handful of female dejays now as compared to almost none five years ago.

"The other day, five of us gals were all in one of the studios together and it nearly blew station manager Ken [Freedman]'s mind," says Kelly. "He'd never seen that many girls in one place at the station before."

Oh, good for you, FMU. Five girls in ONE PLACE at ONE TIME! You deserve an article!

Posted by lisa at November 24, 2003 06:53 PM | TrackBack


Whoa! WFMU is like, totally overrun with chicks! Dude!

Posted by: Jason Sullivan on November 25, 2003 09:36 AM

don't forget to mention in your letter that WXDU was run entirely by women for several years. right? back in the holly days?

Posted by: christa on November 25, 2003 02:25 PM

yeah, that's what i was starting to get at when i said "at all levels", but it's a point i'll need to flesh out.

the three lynchpin positions at xdu-- GM, PD, and MD-- have often been held by women over the last 15 years (there was an outgoing female GM when i arrived in spring of '91)-- usually more than one of the three positions, if not all three, have been women. Music staff, arguably the most male-heavy department at the station, has had almost equal numbers of female staff if you really look at it. And hey-- the most "techie" departments at the station-- computing and production-- have been led and staffed by women. Well, ok, me and bendte :)

Posted by: lisa on November 25, 2003 02:48 PM

Wait, you mean like, radio is for girls too? Like, you know, I could have my own show, not just sit in on my boyfriend's? I don't know about this ... it sounds too "guy-thing" ...

maybe if we wear lots of makeup to our shows and knit during them, we won't feel defeminized.

Posted by: Sarah on November 26, 2003 09:25 AM

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