Consultant Jason Barrett Looks At Diversity In Sports Radio
March 20, 2017 at 6:12 AM (PT)
Is Sports radio progressing on the diversity front? A look at stations in the top 20 markets and national networks by consultant JASON BARRETT shows little progress in the last year on either front, both on the talent level and in programming.
While there are exceptions -- ESPN Sports KSPN-A (ESPN LA 710AM)/LOS ANGELES counts seven non-white hosts among its ten weekday hosts, and ESPN RADIO has five non-white hosts among its thirteen weekday hosts -- the numbers of non-white hosts in large markets on sports radio remain low, although BARRETT notes that "As much as African Americans are underrepresented on sports radio stations, the percentage of on-air jobs that they hold is comparable to their overall population numbers inside Top 20 markets. They hold 12% of the prime sports radio positions, while representing 15% of the population from Top 20 cities." BARRETT also notes that Hispanics are more underrepresented, making up 22% of the population of the larger markets and 17% of the U.S. population but occupy only 2% of the prime sports hosting slots.
But the lack of progress leads BARRETT to write, "Many people love to point fingers, and express their frustrations with these type of sensitive issues, but when pressed for solutions and ideas they fire blanks. That does us no good in this conversation. Instead, we need accountability, action, and a long term strategy to make our business more attractive to people from different backgrounds." He also notes that "the reality is that the majority of sports radio listening comes from white male audiences aged 25-54" and that the other side of the equation is that "Sports radio is a business. If the station and company are turning a profit, and the hosts who they employ are charged with producing ratings and they’re getting the job done, then why on earth would they alter their approach?"
Read BARRETT's analysis of the situation and possible solutions and approaches to address the diversity issue by clicking here.