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Diversity in Radio Newsrooms Hits Record Highs


According to the latest research conducted by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, the percentage of women and people of color in local radio newsrooms is the highest it has been in more than 20 years - the third highest level ever. Additionally, the percentage of radio news directors of color is at the highest level in five years. However, these numbers still show an industry well behind an ever-increasing population of people of color in the U.S.

Diversity in local TV newsrooms also reached record highs for the second year in a row. The Newsroom Diversity Report also shows that for the first time ever, more than a quarter of the local TV news workforce is people of color.

"This research is both a cause for celebration and a call to action for our industry to do even better in its efforts to ensure newsroom staffs represent the diversity of the communities they serve," said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director. "It's gratifying to see improvement in the radio news sector, but clearly there is more to be done to ensure radio newsrooms contain a diverse workforce."

The report also assesses gender diversity in newsrooms, showing more women in the local TV news workforce and in leadership roles than ever. According to the report, women also made significant gains in local radio news, making up 44.4% of the workforce compared to last year's 34.3%. Furthermore, local radio management is the most diverse in the last five years, with the percentage of women in management positions up significantly.

"It's clear from this research that America's broadcast companies and high-level executives are taking diversity seriously and making significant progress," added Shelley. "Yes, there's more to be accomplished, but our industry has reason to be proud of the achievements it has made thus far."

The RTDNA/Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2018 among all 1,685 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,481 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,310 television stations (77.7%) and 645 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,938 radio stations. Some data sets (e.g. the number of TV stations originating local news, getting it from others and women TV news directors) are based on a complete census and are not projected from a smaller sample.

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