Radio Alive 2017: Powerhouse women in media

Staff Writer

Commercial Radio Australia has brought together some heavy hitters for today’s Radio Alive 2017 conference.

In the ‘Powerhouse Women in Media’ session, a panel of very familiar names and faces explored the role of women on-air today.

Moderated by Network Ten’s Angela Bishop, the session discussed ‘personal brands’, misogyny in media, how to navigate your way to building a career and whether you can ‘having it all’.

Carrie Bickmore, Susie O’Neil, Amanda Keller and Erin Molan all offered some interesting and honest insights into where they see media today and their place in it.


Call it a generational thing, but ‘brand building’ is not a big part of their lives. It’s there and it’s used, but it’s not a ‘conscious thing’

Given Carrie Bickmore’s role with The Project and would be front and centre. Not so.

“I think the whole conversation around band is really interesting. It is a very different world now and I don’t know how I’d go if I was starting out now,” she said.

“I think it’s ruined a lot of the joy in it. I think you have to fight really hard to look beyond things like brand.”

Olympic swimmer Susie O’Neill has travelled a different path to a career in radio. As a professional athlete, brand and public perception were important.

“I try not to think of my brand (now). I don’t have to be the non-drinking good girl. I’ve grown up”

“I never thought I’d be in the media.  I don’t consider myself in the media.  For me, it feels I go every morning to chat with three of my friends”.

“I like the intimacy of having a few people there.  Let’s face it, as an ex-swimmer it’s either that or ending up in rehab”.

Keeping it real 

Amanda Keller has been ‘keeping it real’ with Brendan Jones as part of WSFM’s breakfast show since 1995. They recently signed a three year contract extension.

“Being yourself on radio is a very hard skill to learn and that’s the bit I love about radio. It’s been a very interesting lesson to learn to be yourself in front of others on radio.”

“I can’t think of any more immediate, more liberating, a more open and honest discourse that you can have, short of writing a blog”. 

Misogyny in the media

It’s interesting that while acknowledging male ego and having to navigate a path beyond being the ‘other voice’, none of the panellists have experienced sexism on the Harvey Weinstein scale.

Male mentors have been just as important as those in the media ‘sisterhood’.

Erin Molan has broken down stereotypes and glass ceilings in her role with 2GB’s Continuous Call Team and with Channel Nine’s NRL Footy Show.

For decades, its been the last bastion of male dominance but that’s all changing now.

“I think if you look generally at the media landscape, there’s been a real shift and its very common to see women in sport and I think 2GB is aware as anyone else that they probably needed to make that move.”

I guess that I’m just blessed that when they felt they were ready to do it that I was there and it kinda worked. I have an absolute ball.  We talk absolute shit for four hours and people tend to like it”. 

Having it all

If you want to irritate these strong women in media, ask them how they manage to juggle the work-life balance.

It’s a question not asked of their male counterparts.

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