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New report finds prolific racial and gender disparities across UK radio stations

Why Not Her? studied 26 radio stations across 2022 and found startling data

  • Gemma Ross
  • 4 September 2022
New report finds prolific racial and gender disparities across UK radio stations

A new report from inclusion campaigners Why Not Her? has found a huge disparity in racial and gender balances across the 26 top British radio stations.

The study, which looks at the way in which equality is spread amongst radio plays over time, found that top stations including BBC Radio 1, Bauer, and Global, are all dominated by white male artists.

Over the course of the past 12 months, Why Not Her? reported that just 8% of songs featured in the Top 50 were by POC artists. In the Top 100, white artists are represented 10 times more POC artists.

Elsewhere, the study found that UK-based male solo artists are present in the Top 100 three times more than female solo artists in the UK & international charts.

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Including solo and gender collaborative songs, UK male artists represent 80% of all top 100 tracks, while female artists are present in just 60% of those.

“It's a real shame that there's a muted desire to genuinely create change and represent a balanced view of music and essentially the storytelling and culture of our people by our musical creatives,” says lead data analyst and founder of Why Not Her?, Linda Coogan Byrne.

“Before these gender disparity radio reports, we never would have imagined that radio would proactively amplify, promote and essentially employ one section of society to the detriment of another. It is our hope that these data reports can continue to set the precedent for a lot of change to come.”

The report also assessed stations individually, noting that one of the largest British radio stations, BBC Radio 1, saw just 15% female artists in the station’s top 20 most played tracks in 2022.

Read this next: Why greater representation really is making dance music a better place

Amongst those stations studied, BBC Radio 6 led equality on gender with some 45% male artists, 50% female, and 5% unknown in the station’s top 20 most played tracks through August 2021 to August 2022. BBC Radio 1Xtra also led the way for POC artists.

“Change can happen at a quick rate when an unconscious bias is stripped back. We hope this report helps to make structural change,” said Coogan Byrne.

Read the full report here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

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