- 28 Jan 21
The Why Not Her? campaign was launched in 2020 to call for female Irish artists to be played more frequently on Irish radio stations.
Why Not Her? has released a six-month update report on the question of gender disparity in Irish radio play. The initial report, published in June of 2020, looked at the data behind radio play of specifically Irish artists from June 2019 through to June 2020.
Based on those songs which are registered with Radiomonitor – "the industry standard music airplay monitoring service used by all record labels, management companies and PR companies to evaluate the airtime allocated to artists/bands who have commercial releases in the Irish market," according to the report – the data compiled through 2019 and the first half of 2020 indicated that Irish radio stations devote most of their Irish radio plays to male artists, across national and local radio stations.
Interestingly, the six-month follow-up report, which collected data from June through December 2020, has shown an increase in most stations' plays of female Irish artists, though some of that effect at least may be due to the success of the Irish Women In Harmony records, which garnered considerable radio support. The report says that RTÉ 2fm has increased their plays of female Irish artists by 30% in the last six months, creating a 60-40 split between male and female artists.
In terms of Irish and international music, RadioMonitor figures confirm that there are more plays for male performers overall. However, with artists like Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and similar global stars currently to the fore, the difference – which varies from week to week – does not seem dramatic.
In contrast, where Irish music is concerned, 85 per cent of the artists in the top 100 Irish radio airplay chart over the past six months have been male, the report finds. Only 11 per cent have been female, and the remaining 4 per cent have been collaborations between male and female artists.
Currently, female artists like newcomer Lea Heart with 'Older' and Tolu Makay with her version of The Sawdoctors' 'N17' are battling it out among the Top 10 Irish artists on radio in Ireland. But they still lag behind what are considered radio-friendly monsters like Dermot Kennedy and newcomer Shane Codd, whose 'Get Out My Head' has clearly captured the imagination of radio programmers.
"We would like to applaud those in national radio and some individual stations who have made considerable strides towards a game-changing moment in Irish music history," the introduction to the follow-up report says. "Some stations went from 0% to 20% and more. Thank you for being part of the solution: RTÉ 2fm, Spin 1038, Spin South West, Beat FM, 98FM, LMFM & WLRFM. And for the first time in five years FM104 have increased by 10% inclusion of women on their Top 20 Airplay charts spanning the last six-months, a small but certainly significant change towards parity."
The update report from Why Not Her? also shows an increase in diversity, going from just one artist of colour – Soulé – in the 2019/2020 report to the eleven that have featured in airplay charts across Irish radio in the past six months. “To see a more diverse selection of artists is something we wish to acknowledge, as considerable progress and the beginning of more change to come.”