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Podfather Reviews: Sexism in podcasting and what needs to change

There are certain comments and critiques I will probably never hear as a male, white cisgender  podcaster in this evolving industry. 

That I’ll get stereotyped as “empty-headed" because of my gender.

That I’ll get constant emails saying my voice is “too much to bear,” or that I have one of the most “irritating voices in the English language.”

That I sound like "a valley girl and a faux socialite.”

These are just a few examples of comments women podcasters and radio hosts face on a daily basis, and sexist harassment isn’t new to women on the internet. But because podcasting as an industry particularly features an individual’s voice, women often get unfairly criticized on their voices compared to men. 

One of my favorite examples of this critique comes from one of my former colleagues, Caroline Ballard, who hosts the show Morning Edition and the podcast Humanature at Wyoming Public Radio.

Wyoming Public Radio is based in Laramie, Wyoming, on the campus of the University of Wyoming. 

So one of their listeners, going along with an academic theme, decided to mail in a real University of Wyoming diploma holder, where inside was not a diploma but a sexist rant instead. 


Not only that, but there has been many critiques of the podcasting industry for its lack of diversity in the first place. That the industry is white and male, like myself.

The sexist critiques of women in podcasting and the fact that podcasting has historically been male-dominated is a big, big problem simply because it limits the perspectives heard on the podcasts and the potential audience for podcasting. 

If women can hear other women podcasters online, then maybe more women will be inspired to create their own podcasts. The future and growth of podcasting depends on more female producers, hosts and storytellers in the industry.

Thankfully, progress is being made, even if it is gradual. Edison Research released a report this year showing more women than ever are listening to podcasts, barely trailing behind male listening. Podcasting conferences and festivals specifically targeting women are popping up every year, the most prominent being WNYC’s Werk It Festival.

Sexist critique, whether it is in the form of emails or diploma holders, will most likely never fully disappear from online, but hopefully a more diverse podcasting industry will help alleviate the vitriol. 

I realize I will most likely never fully understand the harsh critique women podcasters and radio hosts go through because I am male. There are probably better people to speak on this than myself. 

But as an ally and podcaster, it’s an issue that’s important to me and something I hope will continue to see progress in the right direction. 

In other words, follow Beyonce’s lead

Liam Niemeyer is a senior studying journalism in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think? Let Liam know by tweeting him @liamniemeyer.

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