'You can already see the historic changes in the musical landscape': 74% of Radio Stations Increase Airtime for Irish Female Artists
Following a report in June that showed that Irish female artists received just 8% of top 20 radio airplay, a review of Irish radio airtime since then has now been published. The review, by music publicist Linda Coogan Byrne – who also published the initial research – focuses on the same set of national and regional radio stations in Ireland over a four-month period from 24 June to 24 October 2020. It shows that, out of the twenty-seven radio stations surveyed, twenty (74%) have increased the number of Irish womxn musicians in their top twenty with increases of between 5% and 35%.
The review uses the term ‘womxn’ to imply female musicians, transgender and non-binary musicians. RTÉ Radio 1 was the only station in the initial report to have a gender breakdown of 50/50 and that is the same in this new report. RTÉ 2FM has increased its airtime for Irish womxn from 10% to 45%. SPIN 1038 has increased from 5% to 40%, and SPIN South West are up from 5% to 35%.
Beat 102–103, which broadcasts in the south-east, is up from 5% to 30%. Waterford’s WLR FM, which was previously at zero, is now at 25%. LMFM in Drogheda is up from zero to 15% and Cork’s 96FM is up from 5% to 20%. FM104 is up from zero to 10% and Today FM is up from 5% to 10%.
C103 Cork, Galway Bay FM, Tipp FM and East Coast FM have not seen any changes in their playlisting with regards to gender parity.
Some of the womxn acts and musicians who have seen increased levels of airtime include the group Irish Women in Harmony, RuthAnne, Soulé, Aimee, Gemma Bradley, Denise Chaila, Sophie Doyle Ryder and Fia Moon.
Speaking to the Journal of Music about the latest report, Coogan Byrne said
Genuinely, I feel hopeful. I have worked extremely hard at reaching out to radio and having many conversations with presenters, producers and playlisters about trying to be mindful and more responsible for the culture-shaping they are a part of in the Irish music scene and how they needed to take a look at themselves.
So the fact that we see the likes of RTÉ 2FM, SPIN1038, 98FM, and yes, even FM104, shifting towards inclusion and parity, be it 35% or just a 10% increase gives me so much hope. You can already see the historic changes in the musical landscape… As for the stations who are lagging behind, they will soon follow.
Coogan Byrne also published a review of gender in British radio in August, which showed that British female artists received just 19% of the top 100 radio airplay in 2020.
To read the latest report, Radioactive, see here.