by mike in boston [hatemailaccount \ gmail / com]
Why are there so few women in sports media in Toronto?
We’re hiring at my institution. Among the things we consider in hiring are gender and ethnic diversity. The reason we consider diversity is that women and visible minorities are underrepresented in my field, both relative to the general population and relative to other departments. We feel there is an imbalance there, and that hiring decisions need to be sensitive to that imbalance. So, among qualified candidates, we give special attention to diversity considerations, and these often serve as a “tie-breaker.”
In the U.S. this is often referred to as Affirmative Action. Many Americans resent such policies. They resent these policies because they believe that blacks and women are treated as equals in society, and so they see these policies as giving preference to some people at the expense of others. And of course that’s what these policies do. But the reason such policies are needed is because women and visible minorities are not equal. Google “pay equity gap” and you’ll discover that men earn on average 20% more than women for the same work. Google “number of black senators” and you’ll discover that only 4 black people have ever been elected to this post.
There is a ton of academic debate on this subject and I don’t want to spend time on that here. What I do want to raise for discussion is the following: is there is a diversity gap in Toronto sports media?
None of the hosts on TSN Radio or The Fan are women. None of the hosts are visible minorities. None of the beat reporters for baseball, hockey, or basketball are women. Paul Jones is a visible minority, but as far as I can tell he is the only one employed in a regular role on the radio. There are a few women working in sports for newspapers, but it’s worth noting that none of them appear with any regularity on either sports radio station.
Is this a problem? I’m not sure, but it’s striking. ESPN and FOX radio both have women hosts or co-hosts. They also employ several visible minorities. They are objectively diverse. Toronto sports radio are objectively not diverse. In fact, in my entire lifetime of listening to Toronto sports the only regular woman has been Barb DiGiulio. I think it’s fair to say her role was minor, and she was not considered a sports personality, at least not to the same extent as her male counterparts.
I know several sports media people read this site. I wonder if they would consider their industry sexist or racist. The facts justify “asking the question.” Why is it so hard for women to break in to Toronto sports radio? Why are there so few black hosts or co-hosts? Of course, it’s possible this is all random and there is nothing to this. But when you look at this trend over time, that is harder to sustain.
p.s. – if the consequence of this post is that the awful Rosie DiManno gets a regular radio gig then I’ll put an ice pick through my ear.
First I would like to thank Jonah for running this site and giving me the opportunity to write this column. I have no idea why sports media is a passion of mine, but I’m grateful to have this place as an outlet. If not for this site, we would all be commenting on Dowbiggin columns at the Globe. Consider that for a minute …
Second, I would like to thank all my fellow commenters. Like me, you probably comment on a bunch of different blogs and message boards. The quality of discussion we have here is, in my opinion, fantastic. I read every comment on this site and almost everything people say is something worth saying. That’s pretty rare on the internet. So, thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. Make a resolution to comment more in the new year.
Low Hanging Fruit
- Brunt is by far the best thing on radio. His reflections on the fact that the Steve Moore assault was 10 years ago were poignant and insightful. It’s sad that Brunt has cashed out. I have not read a single thing he has written since he left the Globe. Nobody here ever links to his writings or talks about his magazine stories. I hope the FAN finds a way to have him on more in the new year.
- Tim&Sid might benefit from spending the time off thinking about what kind of show they want to be. Right now they are stuck between morning zoo and intelligent and irreverent sports talk. I would rather they do the latter, but that’s not my choice to make. I’ll check back in a few months.
- TSN Drive has done a nice job being a viable PTS alternative. My new year’s wishes are: less CFL, fewer hockey insider segments until the playoffs, more general sports issues. At least, consider dedicating the 5pm or 6pm hour to national interest stories. And for the love of God — post full podcasts of TSN Drive all week. You’re wasting your best assets if you don’t.
- Saddest job in Toronto sports media? The award goes to Gregor Chisholm who has to put a positive spin on the Jays’ off-season for bluejays.com. Here are some recent highlights: “Gibbons expects team to learn from disappointing ’13” … “Creative Anthopoulos open to options” … “Rotation depth a good starting point for Blue Jays”
until next time …
mike (in boston)