“Some of the most toxic workplaces I have worked in have been in commercial radio”: Tracey Spicer at Radio Alive Q&A

Image: Twitter / CRA

A range of views and opinions were canvassed during the Q&A session at Radio Alive 2018 conference in Melbourne with the panel discussing changes to the broader media and communications landscape.

Again hosted and moderated by Walkley winning journalist Virginia Trioli from ABC News Breakfast, the panelists discussed the influence of social media, internet trolls and the rise of podcasting.

But the #metoo movement in Australia dominated much of the discussion. Panelists discussed whether it had changed the way we operate.

Most agreed that awareness generated by the movement has been good for the industry and that perpetrators must be held to account.

Tracey Spicer has driven much of the discussion surrounding #metoo in Australia and has investigated numerous allegation.

Whilst she’s seen change at the ‘top end of town’ and in many industries, she believes the Australian media sector still has a long way to go.

“Where I’m not seeing change is in the media sector and in particular in places like commercial radio.  

“I’ve worked across all the mediums and some of the most toxic workplaces I have worked in have been in commercial radio.

“And I think that’s a terrible shame.  I think this sector really needs to take these things seriously. You need to have safe workplaces.”

She says 95% of allegations have come from women but there is still a reluctance to pursue their allegations. She says that needs to change.

“Most of the serial predators who sexually harass women also bully other men in the workplace. So, this movement is good for everybody.”

PodSchool founder and Mamamia’s head of podcasts Rachel Corbett believes the debate has brought about a change in the workplace.

“I don’t think it changes the way that anybody who has conducted themselves in an appropriate manner does their work.  But I hope heck that some of the people that I have crossed paths with have changed their behaviour.

“It means those people who’ve behaved horribly, I hope, are being held to account.”

The #metoo question is also the focus of a session led by Commercial Radio Australia’s human resources manager, David Fuller.

He discusses how the world has changed in the wake of #metoo and how employers and employees alike need to be aware of the risks and stay informed.

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19 Oct 2018 - 1:32 pm

Tracey you are a legend. As someone that was made to sit out side on a medium strip in the late 90’s, with a huge sign that I had to make and said “My name is Carter, I must get smarter” as punishment, all because I slept in one Sunday morning, was absolutely humiliating. To be followed up that day whilst sitting in the middle of a 6 lane road, abused by drivers and then to have the female General Manager to then yell from the stairs as she entered the building “Hope you learn your lesson” was again completely humiliating. Thank you for taking a stand. It is slowly changing, but that hurt has been there for a long time, and yet people still think its funny.

19 Oct 2018 - 2:23 pm

Good to see Tanya Hennessy on a panel I hope she gets a gig back in radio somewhere.

19 Oct 2018 - 3:49 pm

Tracey you are an inspiration.
Hopefully commercial talk is the next area of focus for #MeToo and management change.
I’ve heard everything from ‘women don’t belong in/on talk’ to ‘i love a good firing, it gives me a boner’.
The reason for radio’s toxicity, is that those in management have been around for far too long – and many are unqualified.
In any other industry, an MD, CEO or even Content Director would be lucky to exceed a 5 year stint. In this industry, they hang around for 20 years and build their empires – and that is the problem.

19 Oct 2018 - 8:07 pm

That comment is terribly misguided, dated and does a massive disservice to a very healthy, diverse and inclusive industry.

22 Oct 2018 - 4:39 pm

I remember a couple years ago a well-known jock at the station I was at was asked to do something for a client by a sales rep and he said, ‘you owe me a head job now’. She laughed and said, ‘yeah right’, and didn’t seem offended in the slightest – see that’s the thing – she was so used to it that she didn’t call him out on it and he no doubt viewed it as just a bit of harmless fun, but as Tracey has spoken about it’s not and needs to stop.


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