WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lack of Diversity in Broadcast Voices

Aug 5, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the demise of NPR’s Tell Me More and whether it’s an indicator of the lack of diversity in media.

The decision to end the program is the subject of an article on The Root website. Author Kelli Goff said she will miss the diversity of voices that aired on the program. She also said guests on Tell Me More engaged in actual discussions about issues that matter.

The headline of the article raises the question of whether this is the return of the white-guy era in broadcast media.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton believes it’s always been a white-guy era in broadcasting.  She questioned why the diversity of voices heard on Tell Me More is not incorporated into other programs on the network.

Panelist Lisa Kernek cited statistics from FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) that show the overwhelming majority of guests on leading cable television news programs are white. Kernek praised Tell Me More for giving voice to those who otherwise would never be heard by a national audience. She also said the program addressed topics that no other national media covered.

Panelist Rich Moreno said the program brought a sensibility not found elsewhere and cited the barbershop and beauty shop segments as examples.

Moreno is new to Shop Talk.  He’s replacing Kernek, who will leave after next week’s program.  Moreno is an instructor in the Department of English & Journalism at Western Illinois University and he’s the advisor for the Western Courier and Western Illinois Magazine.