BBC Radio Ulster + Foyle, Beat FM, Tipp FM, Radio Kerry, Clare FM and more commit to lead with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in a landmark response to Gender + Racial Disparity on the Airwaves.

In a turning point within the Why Not Her? campaign to shift radio towards a more balanced and equal playlisting policy, that reflects the cultural vibrancy of the Irish music scene, it is announced today that BBC Radio Ulster + Foyle, Beat FM, Tipp FM, Clare FM and more commit to lead with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in a landmark response to Gender + Racial Disparity. Following the path of Rte Radio 1 who are 50/50 Gender Parity.

Why Not Her? founder Linda Coogan Byrne commented

“We at Why Not Her? would like to thank everyone we have been working with over the past few months in Irish Radio who are leading the way as agents of change towards a more equal, diverse and inclusive landscape.

We also wish to thank Holly Cairns of the Social Democrats, Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party, Fintan Warfield of Sinn Féin and the Minister Catherine Martin and her Broadcasting and Media team for all their continued support in this campaign alongside the BAI who are committed towards positive change on the airwaves that represents and reflects the diversity of our Culture. It is our hope that legislative change comes fully into place to cement these positive transitions we are seeing across the broadcasting sector which will secure a solid restructuring that benefits us all and reflects the diversity of women and poc community in Ireland.

The below commitments have come in from various Radio stations across the country.

Martina McGlynn of the Playlist committee on Rte Radio 1 commented on Rte radio 1 being the only Irish station at total gender parity:

‘We strive for quality throughout our music schedules on RTE Radio 1. We really are spoilt for choice as there is so much wonderful Irish music out there right now. Nevertheless, we are acutely aware of and remain very mindful of gender balance and diverse representation across the music that we schedule. Ultimately, all of our presenters play a pivotal role in bringing a wide range of music to our listeners chosen for its distinct quality, and I’m delighted to see that quality represented equally in both female and male artists. Going forward, we will continue to strive towards equal representation across our music schedules’. 

Paul McClean Head of Music from BBC radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle responded saying:

I’d like to once again place on record our commitment to increasing diversity across all of our playlists. We’re making progress but can always – and will – do better. Not just on playlists but also with the contributors we have on air.”

Niall Power Head of Music in BEAT 102-103 FM responded saying:

“I’m pleased to see our figures increase from 5% to 35% since the last report. It’s also very important to us that these are primetime plays so the artists are reaching as big an audience as possible. Variety and diversity matter. It’s been made somewhat easier by the quality of artists coming through like Denise Chaila, Lea Heart, Sophie Doyle Rider and Waterford’s Carrie Baxter!

Sarah Garvey Head of music in RTE 2XM and Pulse responded saying:

“I am absolutely committed to maintaining and improving our stations’ commitment to addressing both gender and diversity disparity as we move forward with RTÉ 2XM and Pulse into the future”.

Elaine Kinsella Head of music in Radio Kerry responded saying:

“I’d like to assure you of Radio Kerry’s commitment to supporting Irish female artists. As a full service station we play a diverse range of music across many genres including pop, rock, folk, country, classical and trad. Radio Kerry is committed to increasing airtime for new Irish female artists and will undertake regular self-assessment to ensure same.”

Kieran McGeary, 96FM and C103 Group Station Director responded saying:

“The station will continually strive to improve our diversity while balancing our licence requirements and the preferences of our audience highlighted through significant investment in ongoing music research.”

Stephen Keogh of Tipp FM and Clare FM responded saying:

 I certainly commit to giving this new breed of emerging artists (male and female) plenty of increased airtime. We will continue to give heavy rotation to female Irish artists (as is currently the case) when releases are in keeping with our overall music policy”

CAITRÍONA NÍ BHAOILL, the Oifigeach Poiblíochta & Idirlín / Press Officer for RTE R na G responded saying::

We appreciate the huge importance of this topic, and we are supportive of female musicians. We have undertaken some analysis of our airplay data, based on IMRO returns.  This showed that women solo artists, or groups with women members, accounted for 47.6% of the music played on the station over the period of one week. 

Today FM, Rte 2fm, Fm104, 98FM and other stations chose not to respond publicly on this matter when approached by Why Not Her?

We welcome all in Irish radio to commit to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on the airwaves across their music programming and current affairs shows. Please feel free to send in your commitment to change to whynotherire@gmail.com

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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.

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.