“There’s no radio station job that women can’t do.”


Brisbane breakfast host Robin Bailey worked in commercial radio for over 35 years, and for much of that time she found herself the only woman in the room.

In those three-plus decades, Robin has never worked with an all-female management team.

So far.

Today the KIIS 97.3 management team based in Brisbane features a powerful group of eight women, making up an all-female group.

RNA gave priority to equal opportunities between men and women. In the case of KIIS Brisbane, “the right people were hired for the right roles, and it became a group of talented women”, says Content Director Ali Longhurst.

radio today asked Robin, Ali and RNA Sales Manager Emily Buckby their thoughts on why it matters.

Specifically in the case of KIIS 97.3, what are the benefits of having an all-female leadership team?

ALI: At KIIS 973 – the demographic we are targeting is 25-59 women, so decisions about the direction of the station can be made by those who live the lifestyle of the audience we are targeting. It wasn’t planned or pre-designed to be all-female – the right people just happened to be a bunch of talented women.

We operate as efficiently as other Market Leadership teams across the country. With our brand being demographically skewed 60/40 female/male, it’s been a fantastic way to get a group of people to make decisions about what’s best for staff, audiences and customers – looking through the demo eyes.

EMILIA: There is something very inspiring about having an all-female leadership team. Having a female management team perhaps brings a slightly different perspective and approach to the business. Currently, I believe we have a very talented and experienced management team at KIIS 97.3.

Robin: This is the first time in my career that I have worked with an all-female management team. I think it’s so fitting that it’s at KIIS 97.3 as we speak to women aged 25-54 and the people who love them.

Why is it important to have a greater representation of female leaders within the radio industry?

ALI: The media has traditionally been a heavily male management structure. It has long been the norm to see a full team of men in the decision-making hot seat. It is important for the team and the industry to see female leaders in all facets of radio.

EMILIA: Traditionally, the radio industry has been largely dominated by men, so it’s important to have more female leaders in the industry to help evolve and move the industry forward. I believe that if you work hard and have talent you should get ahead regardless of your gender – my feeling is that this is not necessarily the case for women in all cases, but this situation is changing and that many organizations (including ARN) are sincerely trying to remedy this problem.

Robin: There are a lot of men in this industry. For years, I was often the only woman in the room. This has slowly changed over the past 5 years, but for young women looking to get into radio, you can’t be what you can’t see. Now, when women apply for jobs at our station, you’ll meet a female leader, which is inspiring and fitting.

What message do you think this sends to young women considering a career in media?

ALI: For young women moving up the ranks, they are now represented and can see a future in the industry where they may not have had before. Seeing every department in the company sends a fantastic message to the industry: at ARN, you are equal, and if you work well, you can advance your career.

EMILIA: Strong female leadership within an organization sends a very clear message to any talented and qualified woman that the organization is definitely a place where she would be evaluated on performance, not gender, and that a female perspective was not only valued but was in a position of power to make decisions and influence change – in short, a good place for a woman to start or continue her career!

Robin: There is no job at a radio station that you can’t do and there are already successful women in those jobs who can mentor and help you.

What do you think of “gender quotas” in the workplace? Should employees be selected based on their gender or simply because they are the right person for the job?

ALI: I think it should be the right person for the job every time – However, questions need to be asked “why” if a company finds its workforce and the direction is mostly one way or the other. Does upward progression seem unachievable for a particular gender – and if the answer is yes, then there is a big cultural problem that needs to be addressed.

EMILIA: I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, religion or race, should have the same opportunities. I believe we should be judged on our abilities and strengths above all else. Unfortunately, especially for women, this is not always the case, which is why we end up talking about “gender quotas”. Personally, I don’t like gender quotas. I understand the reasoning because it forces change in circumstances where that change might not happen organically or happen too slowly.

My view on the proportional representation of women in leadership groups is that over time common sense will prevail. Women make up half the community and any company that doesn’t have a leadership group that incorporates the perspectives, attitudes and ideas of a team that reflects the community it engages with is bound to be at a disadvantage – I think let the good companies at least wake up to this fact. “Gender quotas” in my view carry an automatic stigma, i.e. “you only got the job because of a quota, not because you’re particularly good or talented or the best candidate for the position”.

Robin: Gender quotas are a little awkward because it means that the only way to see true equality in a workplace is to make people employ a certain gender.

What I hope for the future is that it doesn’t exist because it’s not mandatory and people are genuinely employed based on their skills. Gender, race, and religion should have nothing to do with it, but while we’re still wrestling with this concept — especially in some industries — the idea of ​​gender quotas is at least sparking conversations.


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