ONLINE PANEL DISCUSSION JUNE 2 WITH WFUV’S RITA HOUSTON, CMT’S LESLIE FRAM, VETERAN MUSIC CRITIC ALAN LIGHT, NPR MUSIC’S ANN POWERS, FANTASY RECORDS PRESIDENT MARGI CHESKE & ACCLAIMED SINGER/SONGWRITER AMANDA SHIRES
May 26, 2020—WFUV Public Media is doing its part to help resolve the longstanding issue of gender disparity in the music industry by rolling out the new EQFM initiative, striving toward a goal of 50 percent representation of women and gender minorities in its music programming, events and online features.
To kick off the new initiative, WFUV is excited to host an online panel discussion on June 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET on the subject of gender equality within the music and radio industries. Moderated by WNYC’s Julianne Welby, panelists include WFUV Program Director Rita Houston, CMT’s Sr. VP of Music Strategy Leslie Fram, NPR Music correspondent Ann Powers, music critic Alan Light, critically acclaimed artist Amanda Shires and Margi Cheske, President of Fantasy Records. Links and additional info to come shortly.
“WFUV has always steadfastly supported new and legacy female artists, and we’re now planting a flag and asking others to join us in ensuring diversity in programming,” says Houston. “It’s part of our DNA as open-minded music lovers. Good songs come from everywhere, across race, age and gender. Good radio should celebrate that, without bias.”
As part of the EQFM initiative—partly inspired by CMT’s recent Equal Play initiative—WFUV is launching an on-air and online series that celebrates important, influential albums by women artists, while promoting the expertise of their female DJs and staffers. WFUV will also keep an even closer eye on equality when planning FUV Live concerts and sessions, Holiday Cheer for FUV, the WFUV High Line Bash and festival coverage.
“I’m proud to see us embracing gender equality in our programming,” adds General Manager Chuck Singleton. “The station has long made a place for strong women—in the artists it supports, in its air staff, and among its leadership—and this is a natural step. Some might suggest this may not be the time for such an initiative. I think it’s exactly the right time to take this on, as we focus our vision beyond our most basic of daily challenges to a future that’s more equitable.”
Rock and alt-rock radio has been far behind the curve of equal representation since its inception. Alternative rock stations in the US play 10 male artists for every woman, and even the best of the bunch in Triple A stations runs at about 3-to-1. Just 10.4% of Grammy nominees from 2013-2019 were female and of that small percentage, just 6.6% of Album of the Year nominees were women. In a similar vein, only 8% percent of all of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees are women.
While WFUV has carried a 60/40 balance in its playlists in recent years, the station aims to do better. Times have changed and voices must be fairly represented. WFUV’s music programming will reflect gender parity in the artists and bands we play and support. We can’t change the past, but we can change the present and future sound of radio, for all generations.
WFUV (90.7 FM, wfuv.org), New York’s source for music discovery, is a noncommercial, member-supported public media service of Fordham University for over 70 years. WFUV has received national recognition for its award-winning weekday format of adult album alternative music, award-winning local news and sports and a diverse weekend lineup. WFUV’s robust website has extensive audio archives, videos, song playlists, an events calendar, blog and other resources.