Report: 85% of Radio Newsrooms Are White


The 2021 RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University newsroom survey is out and although people of color in radio newsrooms now include the highest percentage since 1998, nearly 85% of the radio news workforce is still white.

The local radio news workforce is 15.8% Black, Indigenous or people of color overall, up just under half a percent. Public radio is significantly more representative, for both women and people of color, than commercial radio news.

Public radio newsrooms are 78.8% white compared to commercial newsrooms which are 91.7% white. Representation in radio news improved over the last year for news staff identifying as Native American or Hispanic/Latino, but slipped slightly for African American and Asian American radio staff.

People of Color in radio news management increased marginally among radio news directors, from 7.1% to 7.2%. This year saw higher percentages of radio news directors who are African American or Hispanic/Latino, but fewer who are Native American.

Local radio general managers of color made up most of the ground lost last year, but 93% are still white. General managers of color are more than twice as frequently found in major markets. Stations in the Midwest had the least diverse management, with stations in the South and public stations more representative among radio management.

Fewer than half of radio news staffs include any women at all, up slightly from last year, especially smallest markets. Overall, women are just under 40% of the radio workforce, down slightly in the last year.

Men outnumber women in radio 60.5% to 39.5% overall, as well as among white, Hispanic/Latino and Native American radio staffers.

Among African Americans and Asian Americans in radio news, women outnumber men. Women in Radio News Management There are fewer women radio news directors this year, down 3.5 percentage points from close to a third to just over a quarter. The public-commercial gap in representation grew, with women better represented than last year at public stations, but worse at commercial ones. Public radio women news directors now outpace commercial women radio news directors by 18 points.

Radio general managers are slightly more representative this year, with women making up almost 3 percentage points more than last year, but still 73.3% of GMs are men.

Note that the typical (median) radio news operation had a fulltime news staff of one, with the overall average number of full-time staffers at just over 3. Find more in the staffing and hiring report. Major markets are those with 1 million or more listeners. Large markets are from 250,000 to 1 million. Medium markets are 50,000 to 250,000. Small markets are fewer than 50,000.


  1. The headline here suggests that there is a conspiracy by whites to marginal the amount of blacks working in a newsroom.
    The percentage accurately reflects the US population.
    Thanks, Martin


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