Clear Channel is a behemoth—the media conglomerate owns 850 radio stations, making them the gatekeeper of mainstream radio airwaves across much of the country. And this week, the company is being a total douchebag.
The crime? Refusing to run ads for the South Wind Women's Center, a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinic in Witchita, Kansas that opened this year in the space that was Doctor George Tiller's clinic before he was murdered. Clear Channel says the Kansas clinic's ads violate the company's "decency standards."
In my role artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival, I've noticed something that bothers me. It's nothing new, it's fairly obvious, and it deserves your attention. It's the lack of female hosts in the ever-widening world of podcasts.
According to the widely-used podcast-delivery phone app Stitcher, as of mid-February, 2013, out of the top 100 podcasts in their system, 71 are hosted by men (many by two or three men), 11 are hosted by women (of which three are just 60 second long podcasts), 9 are co-hosted by a man and woman, and 9 are either NPR or BBC news aggregation podcasts with alternating hosts and reporters, or it's unclear who hosts. The statistics for iTunes results are similar.
As a radio addict, I generally keep up (or try to) with what's out there in the audio cosmos. I've long been aware that male-hosted podcasts out-number women-hosted podcasts. But the actual numbers floored me. They should alarm you, too. The statistics point to a disappointing truth: that podcasting, hailed back in 2004 as a "revolutionary" new tool for freedom of expression and endless creative opportunity, quickly copped the same gender stereotypes and realities that traditional broadcasting environments have demonstrated throughout history.
Radio DJs have long been important in making records hits and promoting of unknown artists and new genres, and this is no less true for electronic music. Read on for more about UK radio DJ Mary Anne Hobbs and her influence on underground music over the last decade.
Portland's Julie Sabatier, in addition to producing Bitch Media's issue podcasts, has been producing her own stellar podcast, Destination DIY, for three years now, covering everything from self-publishing to DIY funerals to gender identity. Now syndicated on channels across the country, Julie is hosting an event to raise funds for the upcoming episodes.
This Friday in Portland, Julie is hosting a night of communal DIY at the Woods, with live demonstrations of making your own terrariams, bacon, and, of course, your own radio show. Live music will be provided by Leviethan and billygoat, who make incredible stop-motion animation, and guests are invited to bid in a silent auction and hit up the recording room to share their own DIY projects and a chance to hear themselves on the next episode! Portlanders should definitely come out and support independent radio and the DIY legacy in the digital age. (And yes, there will be snacks!)
PDX Salon and Destination DIY present: An Evening of DIY
November 6th, 8-11pm at The Woods
Tickets are $10-20 (sliding scale) and are available in advance.