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Broadcast Club Founder, Kerry Hopkins on what the industry can do to increase the number on female experts on TV

Is getting more female experts on TV and radio an evolutionary change here to stay, or just a passing vogue trend? I have been wondering this since 2012. It is currently just a vogue trend.  I say this because a recent study by City University London showed that a recent upward trend in the numbers of women experts appearing on news programmes, has plateaued in 2018. When I started helping more females six years ago, I estimated it would take at least a decade to achieve the target of 30% of the experts on the news to be female.

Executive directors, senior and junior journalists in the broadcast media industry have told me over and over for the past six years, that they are ready and waiting for more industry female spokespeople that are broadcast ready.

But I wonder just how many organisations are investing in broadcast media training as some haven’t even purchased one day full of specific broadcast media training, let alone more than one day, as I believe you need about three sessions as standard.  It takes over one year of weekly reporting for local TV reporters to be really engaging orators on the news.  It’s up to the corporate communications professionals within corporations to start recommending more training sessions and get more budget than one day between five people.

Then on top of that, the majority of PR agencies do not have the advanced specialised skillset to put spokespeople forward as much as there is potential to.

That’s why I launched a new not-for-profit, at cost, called the Broadcast Club the summer of 2018. Every CEO and Chairman in the FTSE 100 received a letter inviting them to participate. The new campaign addresses the imbalance of female experts on TV and radio, compared to the number of female professionals in the workplace.

The Broadcast Club entails:

  • Inspiration, education and facts on how expert women spokespeople can commercially benefit organisations
  • Use of the Broadcast Club logo, and feature the logo on the LinkedIn profiles of each company spokesperson
  • Survey of all FTSE 100 firms
  • House of Commons event
  • Access to bespoke broadcast media training specifically for expert women
  • Access to the one-day PR course for FTSE 100 PR’s and/or their PR agencies on broadcast media
  • Half year meetings
  • Being noticed by more broadcast media

When I studied TV journalism at City University London, my former tutor Professor Lis Howell, who co-founded the Expert Women campaign in 2012, which is trying to get 30% of the experts on the news as women, told me: “The thing that is absolutely key, is that companies have to take this on board. It’s really, really important that they think, who we can we put up to speak who isn’t necessarily the Chairman, you know? There are a lot of great women working in big groups who can do so much for the image of that group. But it needs the press officers, it needs the communications people, it needs the people on the Board to say let’s put them forward. So, I would say the women need a little bit more support, but if you give them that support in the company and you get them out there, it will make your company look so much better.”

FTSE 100 companies want to achieve their goals of having more women on boards and equal pay. Training women to get on TV, also gives them the confidence to take on more senior leadership roles. I recommend that additional financial investment particularly in the beginning; needs to be budgeted for by firms. Female and male brains function differently so women benefit from a different approach to media training and coaching than men.

The return on investment in firms investing in their expert women usually include: increased sales, increased brand awareness against competitors, increased staff motivation and retention; and the recruitment of better graduates.

If you have clients in the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 or FTSE 350 or are an in-house PR and want to discuss the Broadcast Club, then please contact me on [email protected] or http://broadcastready.co.uk/broadcast-club/

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