BBC Director-General Tony Hall has said he wants to have half of the breakfast shows on Local Radio stations presented by women.
During a panel discussion on Thursday afternoon he said: “We have got to be more reflective of the audiences who are listening to our programmes. That is why by the end of 2014 I would like to see half of our Local Radio stations with a woman presenting on the Breakfast shows.”
Across BBC local radio there is already a strong line-up of women – as editors, journalists and presenters. They make up 48 per cent of the entire workforce and BBC Local Radio has also traditionally been an important training ground for female presenting talent for the whole broadcast industry.
But the corporation says there is more that can be done to strengthen the number of female voices in presentation, a challenge shared by the wider radio industry.
David Holdsworth, Controller, English Regions, said: “Finding new and diverse voices is a challenge we relish and is fundamental to the role of local radio. Work is already underway to better reflect the communities we serve. A series of initiatives have been launched to widen the way BBC Local Radio searches for and identifies talented presenters while, at the same time, seeking to address any challenges that women may face in this area.”
Carina Tilson, a Director of Sound Women, the networking and development group for women in radio says “We’re thrilled that this issue is being considered at the highest levels of the BBC. Whilst women are well represented in some areas of the industry, they are not well represented on air – our recent research report, Sound Women on Air, found that women comprise just 1 in 8 voices on air at breakfast.
“Having women’s voices on-air is hugely important, both to female radio audiences and to aspiring female presenters.”
Tony has also announced that the BBC will take on an apprentice in every BBC local radio station across England and in BBC radio stations across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by September 2014.
“I believe passionately in apprenticeships. This announcement of an additional 45 BBC apprentices demonstrates our commitment to broadening the routes through which talented young people can join the BBC. It also reaffirms our commitment to investing in talent from the broadest possible range of backgrounds and communities across the UK.”