| 04 Aug 2021
Radio industry - A good place to be in

If the music industry doesn't take too kindly to women who try to break into centuries old male bastions, the far younger radio industry in the country presents a diametrically opposite view.

The field is peppered with women who have set up their own companies, notched up key posts within organizations and lead the way in most creative and business decisions.

So, is media a trouble-free sector sans gender bias and stereotypes?My FM's brand head Ritu Chabbra says, "Media has predominantly been a women's field owing to the creative aspect which makes them more comfortable. Also, this field is not as male dominated as other industries like telecom or IT. The other reason is the expansion of media in the past few years which is creating more challenging opportunities for the women today."

With over 16 years of experience in the media industry, Praveen Malhotra has seen it all. She started her career with The Times of India, followed by Star, and was the Vice President, Business Development for Zenith OptiMedia. She has launched 19 stations across the north for Big FM. Now, as Big FM's Vice-President and operations head forthe north region, Malhotra believes media offers equal opportunities. "It is not really difficult for women to make a mark in the media industry if they have a supportive family. Many key positions in the radio industry are today held by women and I would attribute it to their passion, integrity and commitment towards work. Also, media is not a traditional sales function involving sales function but offers jobs which are well suited for women," she says.

Anurradha Prasad started B.A.G Films a decade ago and today, it has entered the TV broadcasting with News 24, and the radio sector with Dhamaal 24. She says, "Media is a great platform for women where they can achieve what they want if they are determined enough to achieve it. Regarding gender bias, I had to face discriminations in the early stages of my career but after you achieve a certain position, it cuts across all the prejudices. Gender bias occurs only when you are being equated to someone else, in which case you have to be a cut above the rest to stand out or else you won't be taken seriously as a woman."Nisha Narayanan started her radio journey as a host for All India Radio in Delhi. After working as a TV newsreader, producer, media consultant and head of audio visual programming, she returned to radio, in 2004. Today as Project Head of 93.5 S FM, she says, "Being a woman, you have to walk that extra mile to achieve and it is not an easy way through. Women in the higher positions take time to be accepted by their male counterparts and more in smaller towns. It is all about breaking through the glass ceiling and making a mark for yourself. It is also a pre conceived notion that women have other key commitments and so find it difficult to devote their time to work and run that extra mile but I guess today all these notions are changing."Radio Choklate Director and General Secretary of the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) Monica Nayyar Patnaik says, "Being a woman works as an advantage as you can throw your charm and get things done at ease. I didn't face any gender bias because I have my own organisation in Orissa. The only problem entering the radio industry was understanding the technical aspects of the radio and I came from a marketing background. Otherwise, being a woman actually works as a benefit."