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Study: More Women Needed in Radio Management Roles

The annual study is compiled by the organization Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio

An annual study on women in radio finds that the broadcast industry must do more to support women looking to rise to the ranks of management. 

The organization Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) annually compiles and analyzes the number of women who are working in management positions in radio broadcasting. The data gathered for the annual MIW Gender Analysis Study specifically tracks the progress of female professionals holding positions such as general manager, sales manager and program director/brand manager.

After tracking 11,215 AM and FM radio stations across the country, the survey found that 20.6% or 2,316 stations had women holding the title of general manager in 2022, a figure basically flat from the previous year — but one that has seen consistent grown from 2004 when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%. In the Top 100 markets, 22.4 % or 1,212 stations were managed by women, which is down nearly a full share point from 2021 but still runs higher than the national average.

Overall, the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be found in sales management positions. Last year, 33.4% or 3,751 stations had a women sales manager in 2022, a number that has remained basically flat year over year.

In the Top 100 markets, although the numbers run slightly higher than the national average, 38% or 1,138 stations had women serving as sales managers in 2022, a jump of four percentage points from 2021.

The study found that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program directors/brand managers. Women currently program 11.7% or 1,314 stations versus 12% in 2021. In the Top 100 markets, female programmers represent only 13.9% of the total number of program directors/brand managers, which is basically consistent with the findings in 2022.

“Historically we have celebrated modest to very modest gains,” said MIW Board President Ruth Presslaff. ” But this year we’re calling out to industry leaders to recognize the leadership, creativity and dedication of women broadcasters, particularly programmers, and put them to work improving your content, your culture and your cash flow.”

While, overall, these past year’s figures are flat within the radio industry, the organization said it’s worth noting that a study conducted in 2022 by The WICT Network found that the number of women working in the media, entertainment and tech industries have increased over the past few years — up from 33% in 2019 to 38% in 2022. “It is the hope that the radio industry will better begin to mirror the continued growth of women in the general media space and provide an encouraging future for women in radio,” the organization said in a statement.

MIW is an organization comprised of female radio professionals who are dedicated to using their influence and resources to help other women in radio broadcasting develop management and leadership skills.