Inclusive Signals: Media Execs Champion DEI at NAB Symposium


At the NAB Show 2024 Diversity Symposium, leaders from radio and television convened to discuss both best practices and pain points as the industry works to expand its efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Monday afternoon, in a session titled “Why Top Broadcast Executives Are Staying Committed to DEI,” Sylvia Banderas, CEO of Latino Media Network, Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media, Michael Hayes, President of Hearst TV, and DuJuan McCoy, CEO of Circle City Broadcasting all discussed what their companies have been doing to further DEI in media.

Beasley recounted the launch of Beasley Media’s “Belong” initiative in 2012, underscoring the organization’s long-term commitment to inclusivity. Banderas emphasized that diversity initiatives must begin at the leadership level and advocated for a culture where DEI is not debated but is a fundamental part of ensuring all employees thrive.

Hayes highlighted the direct correlation between diversity and enhanced creativity and market competitiveness, noting these attributes lead to better performance for both employees and the company. Beasley added that by engaging a consultant and conducting intensive workshops, Beasley Media had seen a shift in the cultural mindset of the staff, pointing out that three of the last four market managers hired were from diverse backgrounds.

McCoy discussed how Census data provides insight into market diversity, which informed Circle City Broadcasting’s approach to DEI from a talent perspective. He also mentioned an eye-opening statistic about disability representation in the community and the need for media coverage to reflect that.

Banderas shared the importance of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in fostering human connections, recommending cross-pollination among groups for shared learning experiences. She referenced tools used at Vox, such as inclusive language glossaries and equity and inclusion workbooks, which help in both internal and client-facing situations.

McCoy spoke on the financial benefits of leading in DEI, noting that Circle City Broadcasting’s revenue opportunities expanded as a result. Meanwhile, Hayes detailed the targeted approach of employing a dedicated recruitment team for DEI and setting specific annual goals for managers.

The discussion also touched upon the establishment of a framework that aligns every company aspect with its mission, a strategy Banderas highlighted as integral to building pride and belonging within Latino Media Network. Moreover, Banderas underscored the significance of cognitive diversity, promoting the concept of “microvalidations” to acknowledge the value of diverse thinking styles alongside ethnic and gender diversity.

Closing out the session, Beasley and McCoy both recognized the importance of humility in leadership and the necessity of meeting employees where they are on their DEI journey, adapting tools and strategies to suit each station’s unique path towards a more inclusive industry.


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