Survey: Diversity In Radio’s Newsroom Drops


The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey finds the percentage of people of color in local radio news slipping to 11.3%, down 0.4 from a year ago. The random sample of 3,542 radio stations, with 415 valid responses, from news directors and GMs, also showed that the percentage of radio general managers of color rose 1.7 from a year ago. Here are all the details from the survey.

The study says the big picture for people of color in local radio news “shows an industry going nowhere, even as the U.S. grows more diverse.” The workforce of people of color in radio fell by just under half a percent, despite big gains for African Americans, who are nearly twice as well represented as a year ago. Hispanics and Native Americans lost representation, and the percentage of local news staffers who are Asian American plunged in half.

The percentage of radio news staffs who have at least one person of color fell about two points to just under 15%. The percentage of staffs with any people of color dropped for both commercial and noncommercial stations. Commercial stations’ number of news directors of color and people of color as a percentage of the workforce improved, but non-commercial stations grew less diverse across the board. Stations in the Midwest lagged all other regions in newsroom diversity.

Though in radio news overall there have historically been about twice as many men as women, women of color are actually better represented than men of color, particularly among Asian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic radio news employees. Only among Native American and white radio employees do men outnumber women, with white men outnumbering white women about 2.3 to 1.

The percentage of staffs with women dropped nearly four points in the past year. Fewer than half of radio news staffs overall have at least one woman. Women fell from 36.1% of the radio news workforce to 34.3%. Women are much better represented at non-commercial stations, but overall their representation decreased at non-commercial stations, too, except at the news director level.

What about General Managers? The study says the percentage of radio general managers of color rose 1.7% from a year ago. GMs were much more likely to be people of color at noncommercial stations than at commercial ones (by more than 4:1), in major markets, and in the Northeast. Of those, 3.1 percent of GMs are African American, followed by 2.2 percent who are Hispanic, and just under half a percent who are Native American. The survey found no Asian American general managers.

Read the entire RTNDA/Hofstra study HERE.


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