Hall of Famer: Cath O’Connor
Given that women make up half the population and workforce, it’s surprising that there are only two women to have been elevated to the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame.
Grant Broadcasting owner Janet Cameron was the first woman inductee in 2002 and this year, it was the turn of Nova Entertainment’s Cath O’Connor.
Her mentor, Paul Thompson, was there to introduce her as the latest inductee at the ACRAS on Saturday night in Melbourne.
“It was a bit surreal, actually. I was a little on edge at first, but then just enjoyed the whole thing. It was a great honour to be up there on stage for those few minutes”.
The enormity of being only the second woman in the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame is not lost on O’Connor and it’s something that should be addressed.
“I think there’s a lot more that can be done. I’m not sure how many Hall of Famers there are in total, but I’m sure that there are more than just four and really, we should be HALF the representation on that wall.”
“I think what we can do is look ahead and say ‘well, if we set the examples, and as employers, create the right sort of companies that allow women to prosper, then I’m sure you’ll see the balance become a little more 50/50”.
“The right thing for a successful and fair industry is diversity of gender at all levels, not just behind the scenes. We need to see it on the air and in leadership positions. That’s the right way forward for any industry, not just radio”.
The honour comes as O’Connor celebrates 31 years in the industry – a journey that has taken her from a sales role at 2SM and 2GB to become one of the few female chief executives of a major media company.
O’Connor continues to break new ground in her role at Nova Entertainment, but takes the time to find and nurture those coming up behind her.
“At some point, I was given a break and I think you should always pay it back and it’s something that I derive pleasure from”.
“Young, youthful people with everything ahead of them excite me and I just like seeing people reach their potential and go beyond. It doesn’t feel like a chore or a conscious thing, it’s just how I do it”.
It took 14 years for our industry to recognise a second woman in the Hall of Fame. With luck and a gentle nudge or two from Cath, perhaps we won’t have to wait as long for another woman to take her place in the spotlight.