Open Letter to President Higgins, the BAI, Minister Martin & Irish radio.

For transparency, Why Not Her? wishes to inform its community and the general public that we have reached over 100 signatures on our UpLift Petition that were needed to contact those mentioned below who are in power within Ireland to enact serious changes that can better the situation for Irish creatives in the music industry who have significantly suffered during Covid and Covid restrictions.

On 14th Dec 2021, we issued an email – see below – with the signed petition. It is our hope that those in power will act, and support.

For the attention of President Higgins, Minister Catherine Martin- Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Irish Government officials, the BAI and Irish Radio Broadcasters: 


In this time of economic hardship for our music creatives, we, Why Not Her?, and over 100 industry professionals and people who have signed this document attached, wish to express our concerns with the disparity and lack of equality across Irish radio broadcasting during Covid of domestic Irish artists who are artists of colour, female-identifying and gender non-conforming artists. 


Radio airtime royalties, which are generated each time an artists song is played on the radio, is now one of the sole major methods of revenue for our domestic artists. 

We have attached a signed PDF with over 100 signatures, from the public and industry personnel seeking your support during this time of hardship. 


We are asking for you to assert your positions of power by interacting with the BAI and each other – and in doing so, reach a solution in terms of support for Irish domestic artists on Irish radio especially during this extremely hard time. 


Across Irish radio, music created in Ireland gets about one play to every six plays for international artists. That’s less than 15% of all radio plays. As a result, foreign payments running to millions of euros leave the country every 3 months. This is real revenue, being paid out by Irish Radio as well as commercial users like bars, restaurants etc., through the three copyright/collection bodies, IMRO, PPI and RAAP. When at this time, it can be injected back into the Irish creative sector who badly need it to survive.

To continue exporting the majority of royalties to International artists during such a harrowing time in Irish history will equate to our domestic artists suffering even more hardship.


In the last 2 years, Why Not Her? have delivered Data-driven reports outlining the gender and racial disparity that is present across Irish radio and have worked tirelessly to enact change. You can see all reports here: https://whynother.net/2020/08/01/gender-disparity-data-reports/ While we are thankful to some Irish stations who have changed and shifted towards a more gender-equal and diversified sonic landscape, we urgently need to protect and support the livelihoods of all music acts and bands from our country. 


We ask you all to sit with your respective teams/ colleagues and try to engage in this pivotal conversation to seek a solution to a huge problem of inequality on the airwaves and the lack of airplay allocated to our domestic Irish Artists. 


The team at Why Not Her? are here at your disposal to help with this. We also enclose an Action Plan for radio to learn better modes of support within DEI to learn better work practices that will benefit everyone. 


We hope you will continue to be the agents of change needed to nurture our valued musicians, bands and musical creatives during the pandemic.  


Kind regards, and thank you ever so much for taking the time and energy on this matter and look forward to hearing from you.
– 
Linda & Team Why Not Her?

Open Call To The Irish Government, The BAI & Irish Radio Broadcasters to Support Domestic Artists

This is an open call to the Irish Government, the BAI & Irish Radio Broadcasters to support domestic artists by allocating more airtime to them on the radio.

Why Not Her? ask you all to consider supporting domestic Irish artists by working towards increasing the amount of airtime allocation appointed to domestic Irish Artists and Bands on-air across Irish radio, By artists and bands we mean: artists and bands of every race, colour and creed; ie: female-identifying, male-identifying, gender non-conforming artists and artists with disability along with artists from the LGBTQIA community.

In this time of economic hardship for our music creatives, we wish to express our concerns with the disparity and lack of equality across Irish radio broadcasting during Covid of domestic Irish artists who are artists of colour, female-identifying and gender non-conforming artists.

Radio airtime royalties, which are generated each time an artists song is played on the radio, is now one of the sole major methods of revenue for our domestic artists.

To quote the website of the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO): “It has been well understood that consistent commercial airplay accompanies significant music sales, generates public performance royalties, and burnishes a recording artist’s profile.”

Across Irish radio, music created in Ireland gets about one play to every six plays for international artists. That’s less than 15% of all radio plays. As a result, foreign payments running to millions of euros leave the country every 3 months. This is real revenue, being paid out by Irish Radio as well as commercial users like bars, restaurants etc., through the three copyright/collection bodies, IMRO, PPI and RAAP.

To continue exporting the majority of royalties to International artists during such a harrowing time in Irish history will equate to our domestic artists suffering even more hardship.

We ask Minister Martin, those in power within the Irish government, the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) and those who work in Radio Broadcasting to consider allocating more airplay and heavy rotation to our domestic artists to safeguard their careers in such a financial crisis for them, with gigs being cancelled and their music and arts scene being one of the worst affected industries during covid.

Sign our Open Call To The Irish Government, The BAI & Irish Radio Broadcasters to Support Domestic Artists

IRISH RADIO STATIONS 2FM, SPIN 103.8 & BEAT FM BECOME THE AGENTS OF CHANGE TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY AND EMBRACE DIVERSITY

IRISH RADIO STATIONS 2FM, SPIN 103.8 & BEAT FM BECOME THE AGENTS OF CHANGE TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY AND EMBRACE DIVERSITY

>>>REGIONAL RADIO SHOW THEIR BIAS AND RELUCTANCE TO SUPPORT GENDER PARITY

>>>CORK STATIONS FAIL TO SUPPORT EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

>>> + A LOOK AT COMMUNITY AND LOCAL RADIO!

LINK TO VIEW PRESENTATION *recommended*: https://bit.ly/3jVYtM8 

PLEASE USE THE HASHTAGS: 

#GenderDisparityDataIre 

#WhyNotHer@whynother Ire 
www.whynother.net 

(some excerpts below from the latest report)

STATEMENT FROM WHY NOT HER? COLLECTIVE


Gender bias and a lack of diversity, be it unintentional, is a huge issue across Irish radio and in particular Regional Radio. It reaches out into every crevice of Irish society and our culture, preventing the voices of women and diversity from being heard.

All we have to do is turn the dial or switch the television on and it is predominantly men in suits, men in sporting attire, men speaking (even if it’s about women’s issues – there are no women present); it’s men everywhere.

From our previous Gender Disparity Data Reports we can see clearly that those who are given a platform to be heard on the airwaves equates to those who gain access to positions of power. The person that is heard is afforded the chance to grow in their career, craft or art, and to shape the society that we live in: is typically a white cis male.

For a country that was so ahead of the race with Marriage Equality and the Abortion Referendum, there seems to be a lot of work yet to happen until we reach one of the biggest challenges we face in this country; Gender Inequality. It is only if we work together that we will be able to shift unconscious bias and replace it with what works for us all: equality, inclusion and diversity.

It’s a real shame that there’s a muted desire to genuinely create change and represent a balanced view of Irish music and essentially the storytelling and culture of Irish people. What we have discovered is that Irish radio chooses to proactively amplify, promote and essentially employ one section of society to the detriment of another. Womxn and people of colour contribute to society just as much as white men. Plus, our music is just as good, we are just as talented, we get gigs, we get streaming, we have fans, and outside of Ireland we get radio play, but the Irish radio part of the music industry ignores us. Just as a radio listener, it gives the impression that if you aren’t a white man, you aren’t important.

As a curator, it’s one thing to fall into an unconscious habit. Once you’re aware of it and you continue, I think it means that you either don’t care about the impact that your role has in shaping national culture or you think that white men should be the authors of Irish culture with only space for footnotes by womxn or people of colour. It feels very 20th century and we’re in the 21st.

Our radio curators are hitmakers, game-changers, the editors of our national soundtracks. The Why Not Her? Collective hope that they move to consider that radio has a responsibility to promote a balanced version of Irish society that includes all its facets and flavours.


ENDS

The Women Making Waves On The Radio

Irish radio stations need to get in tune with the times and give greater airplay to more female musicians, reveals a scathing report by campaigner Linda Coogan Byrne. By Lauren Murphy

You can now read the full interview with Linda Coogan Byrne, founder of Why Not Her? in the Sunday Times by clicking this link.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-women-making-waves-on-the-radio-7glrp766p?ltclid=687c5b95-10bc-4fef-9d58-42f51687c62c

Irish Radio Finally Starts to Shift Towards Parity, Diversity & Inclusion

>>>Rte 2fm finally reached 50/50 Gender Parity after 9 months, following the footsteps of sister station Rte Radio 1, the only Radio Station with total parity and diversity from the get go. 


>>>Galway Bay FM & KCLRFM become the first 2 Regional Radio Stations in Ireland to have an Irish female act as #1 in their Top 20 Playlist charts. 

>>> Dublin Station SPIN 103.8 becomes the first-ever Irish radio station to play 60% Irish female acts on their heavy rotation Top 20 Airplay charts and 40% Male. 

>>> Dublin stations 98fm almost reach Gender Parity at 35% Gender Parity!

>>> TIPP FM shift from 100% all Male artists on their heavy rotation playlists to 25% female!

>>>Today FM finally include the voices of Irish women in their Top 20 heavy rotation charts, reaching 15% female artists and #1 artist in their Top 20 is Lea Heart!


This gives us so much feel-good vibes posting this! 


Nationally: Rte 2fm finally reached 50/50 Gender Parity after 9 months, following the footsteps of sister station Rte Radio 1, the only Radio Station with total parity and diversity from the get-go. The parity also has reached superb diversity with 5 songs from the bipoc community included in the Top 20.


Today FM finally include the voices of Irish women in their Top 20 heavy rotation charts, reaching 15% female artists, still a long way to go, it signals positive change towards parity and inclusion with Soule still receiving plays on her hit ‘Love Tonight’, Elaine Mai receiving support on her new song ‘No Forever’ and Lea Heart leading with her song ‘Older’.


Regionally: Well done to Galway Bay FM & KCLRFM! They’ve become Ireland’s first Regional Radio stations to have an Irish female act – Lea Heart – as their #1 most played Irish artist on heavy rotation across their playlist in 2021, shifting the spotlight away from Dermot Kennedy, Niall Horan, Picture This and Gavin James along with predominantly 85% of male acts who lead the coveted the positions for the past number of years.  TIPP FM also made the shift from 100% all Male artists on their heavy rotation playlists to 25% female! Beat FM continue to shift towards change with 40% gender parity, WLRFM who were 100% Male are now at 35% Female and iRadio are now at 30% Female.


Irish Women In Harmony graced the Top 5 and Top 10 positions last year in a groundbreaking shift towards Irish radio including the voices of domestic female acts from Ireland on their heavy rotation playlists. But this groundbreaking shift signals big changes to come for the shift towards inclusion and parity among Regional radio. 


Why Not Her? welcomes the change and shift towards parity, diversity and inclusion across Irish Radio.


Founder and leader of the campaign Linda Coogan Byrne comments: 


“It has been 9 months of phone calls, zooms and emails back and forth with Irish Radio Programme Directors, Presenters, Producers and Heads of Music and it is so wonderful to see all the conversations that have been happening back and forth leading us to this historic point in Irish Music where the female voice and the voices of the bipoc community are now being heard across the gate-keeping platform of the Irish Music Scene; Irish radio. 


I know I haven’t been looked upon as anyone’s best friend in radio, and yes I have had some blacklists, threats and unsavoury messages, but it has all been worth it. After all, the only thing we are asking for as a collective, and me as a campaigner for Gender Equality and Diversity, is that womxn/women and the bipoc community of Irish citizens get the same fair and equitable opportunities white cis men of the Irish music scene have always got.  


Thank you for beginning to see sense and realising that equality and diversity is the core of any evolving Culture and choosing to be agents of change now and for the generations of emerging artists to come. What you have done here will always be remembered and long may it last. However until we have proper legislative and policy changes this can stop and go back to 100-90% all white male artists on Irish radio, and we can not let that happen. We look forward to working with our Ministers and TD’s in order to secure this change is lasting”. 

Legendary Irish Artist Jim Fitzpatrick Gives Solidarity to WhyNotHer? Campaign in Beautiful Art Piece

Legendary Irish Artist Jim Fitzpatrick, best known for elaborately detailed work inspired by the Irish Celtic artistic tradition, has given Why Not Her? a beautiful piece of art to use for the Solidarity Campaign that is being led with the simple hashtag #WhyNotHer which aims to elevate the voices of women and female-identifying people and reach a more diverse and inclusive landscape across Irish media, broadcasting and music.

Says Jim of the campaign:

I support #WhyNotHer and the efforts to end pay and gender inequality. It is ludicrous that in so many of our media outlets including RTE, our national broadcaster, a male presenter earns much more than any female presenter, that a male reporter get paid more than his female counterpart.

This ridiculous situation is not unique to RTE but applies also to so many of our national television and radio stations- and our other media outlets. I worked in advertising in the 60 and 70s where all were paid on their talent and ability, male or female.

Time to apply this logic to all media too. It’s way overdue.

Jim Fitzpatrick
Deer Goddess, associated with forests, the doe and fawn along with the arts, she is one of the most ancient of the Celt Goddesses.

Founder of Why Not Her? Linda Coogan Byrne says:

What a stunning gesture of solidarity from one of our most celebrated and beloved artists in Ireland. Sadv, The Deer Goddess, associated with forests, the doe and fawn, is one of the most ancient of the Celt Goddesses and is also associated with the Arts, which makes this so much more symbiotic. Her symbols are late-blooming flowers, red and gold items and rings. It is our honour to be given such a beautiful piece of art for the campaign from Jim.

Linda Coogan Byrne

YOU CAN PURCHASE THE LIMITED EDITION PRINTS HERE.

Editors notes on Jim:

During a period of childhood sickness, Fitzpatrick read and drew in bed, as well as his mother and great-aunt telling him stories of the Tuatha Dé DanannCú Chulainn and Fionn MacCumhaill.

Fitzpatrick’s earliest work was the graphic portrait of Che Guevara, which was based on the photograph by Alberto Korda, entitled Guerrillero Heroico, was taken on 5 March 1960. Fitzpatrick met Guevara 5 years earlier in Kilkee  during Guevara’s visit to trace his Irish ancestry.  Having initially tried to distribute the poster himself, Fitzpatrick chose to remove copyright from the image so that is could be used freely by left wing groups, stating that “I literally wanted it to breed like rabbits. I wanted it to spread.”

In 1978, he wrote and illustrated a book called The Book of Conquests, the retelling of a cycle of Irish myths, the Lebor Gabála Érenn. The book is a retelling of the legends of the coming of the Tuatha dé Dannan to Ireland and their fight with the Fir Bolg. The illustrations include intricate Celtic scroll work and knotwork, for which Fitzpatrick has become known. A second book, The Silver Arm, is based on the deeds of Nuada of the Silver Arm and Lugh in their fight with the Formor.

Fitzpatrick has produced artwork for bands such as Thin Lizzy including their Jailbreak album in 1976, for Sinéad O’Connor‘s 2000 album Faith and Courage, for The Darkness‘ 2003 single “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)“, Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone‘s 2013 album cover The Underground Resistance, and took the photograph for the cover of Louise Patricia Crane‘s 2020 album Deep Blue. He was commissioned by CityJet in 2007 to create images reflecting Ireland’s culture, mythology, history and landscapes.

An Invitation to Action Plan for Radio

Invitation to Action Plan 2021: WNH? by WhyNotHer?

‘Led by music industry consultant Linda Coogan Byrne, global development executive Bernadette Sexton, and researcher and academic Dr Brenda Donohue, Why Not Her has now launched an action plan for Irish radio stations to implement in order to tackle the inequality.

Audiences want to hear more womxn on the radio, and artists want and need it too.

Irish radio stations now have an “exciting opportunity to become a global leader” by playing more high-quality music by womxn, and by including more diversity across their playlists.

In order to do so, radio organisations need to commit to equal representation on air, regular reporting of reliable data with measurable targets, and a commitment to be leaders and champions of change within organisations.

We implore radio stations and broadcasters to avail of the plan and incorporate it into their every day, committing to change.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Irish Times Run Exclusive on New Gender Disparity ‘6 months on’ Report

You can check out the exclusive coverage that the Irish Times published on the latest Gender Disparity Report right here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/radio-still-plays-staggeringly-shockingly-more-male-irish-artists-1.4463249

We would like to thank the Irish Times for their continued support and being on the right side of Gender Equality.