Radio’s mental health check: The Moodometer


From on-air to behind the scenes, radio can be a pressure cooker environment, a mental and physical ‘survival of the fittest.’

And that’s before you even add a global pandemic to the equation.

Will & Woody’s Will McMahon is one of several industry figures to shine a light on mental health issues – his frank on-air admissions about his own personal challenges having struck a chord with listeners.

Now, radio executives and other media industry leaders are being encouraged to check their mood, and be aware of it when making decisions, using the Moodometer system.

Borne out of necessity, the initial idea dates back to the early 2000s, when leading resilience expert Graeme Cowan experienced a very bad depressive illness.

During treatment, his psychiatrist always asked him to rate his mood, from 0 to 10.

“Zero is where you have given up and want to die and 10 is where you’re thriving physically, mentally, spiritually.” says Cowan.

Inspired by this, the Moodometer was born.

“When we’re in the Red Zone, we’re anxious; we’re depressed, we’re ashamed.  We are very unproductive. We think black and white.”

Cowan tells Radio Today the latest Moodometer research highlights the need for media industry teams to pull together and have each other’s backs.

“It’s important for people who work in radio to accept that self-care isn’t selfish.”

The Moodometer study indicates workplace culture is lacking. 67 percent of workers believe their supervisor cares about them, but only 55 percent feel comfortable about speaking with their manager about a mental health issue.

One in two people say workplace culture doesn’t make them want to stay in their current job, and one in four don’t feel safe to take a risk within their team.

And the outlook is no less gloomy – more than half don’t see their mental health improving in the next three months.

Through his podcast The Caring CEO, Cowan has been on a mission to bring caring back into business.

The podcast explores how leaders can look after themselves and their teams, and talks to people who lead by example.



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