Mentoring & Inspiring Women

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “The Bigger Picture” series, written by Charese Fruge on September 29, 2021 

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Inc.: it’s one of the better organizations for supporting and uplifting Women who work or want to work in a predominately male business. Or should I say, it’s one of the more effective. I realized this after sitting in on a Clubhouse call hosted by “Women Behind the Mic,” which featured Ruth Presslaff, last week. She is currently the President of the Board for MIW and National Spokesperson for the organization. This is one of the few organizations which does more than just talk about uplifting and inspiring Women in the industry, they actually provide scholarships and mentorships for women in the business.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. is a volunteer 501(c)(3) charitable organization of top-level female radio professionals, from across the country, who are dedicated to using their influence and resources to help other women in radio broadcasting develop management and leadership skills. The MIW organization is equally committed to advocating for the advancement of women to senior positions within the radio industry.

My concern for this organization, is that not enough Women in the industry are aware that they exist and have no idea what they can do for them. In their defense, the board of directors and active members are working on a completely voluntary basis. That leaves little time for focusing on the priorities of the organization, much less the marketing and PR needed to reach the vast majority of MIW’s primary target demo. I’m hoping that this column will not only inform Women in the industry of the benefits of the organization but will also encourage more volunteers to help with their priorities and more Women to apply for their annual scholarship & mentoring opportunities.

First, a little background on the organization. One of the most important things they do is the MIW Annual Gender Analysis Study that tracks of the progress (or lack thereof) of Women in the industry. They identify the percentage of Women in certain positions in radio, like talent, GM’s, Sales Managers, Program Directors etc., and the growth or decline of those percentages. It’s one of the few companies, or organizations, that will actually address the truth of gender inequality in the radio business. The biggest discretion being the lack of Female Program Directors in the industry, which leaves few Women in hiring positions, and positions of power, and provides little to no Female Mentors in the industry for the younger generation to look up to.

The other important things MIW brings to the table are their Mentoring/Scholarship Programs. The organization is about to announce the winner of their latest: “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship’ Designed Specifically for Women in Music Programming.” This mentorship is a year-long experience that provides greater opportunities for women interested in management positions in audio and involves personalized conversations with the best programming minds in the business to help advance a career within the radio/audio industry.

In addition to providing opportunities like the one mentioned above, MIW also manages several other mentoring programs, and in partnership with RAB underwrites scholarships for attendees of “Rising Through the Ranks.” They create multiple paths of recognition for women in management, on-air and in programming, and host annual networking “Lipstick & Lobster” dinners at the spring NAB and The Radio Show each fall.

Just recently, MIW awarded DeDe McGuire with the “2021 MIW Airblazer Award” at this year’s “Talent Masters’ Morning Show Bootcamp,” recognizing her for her dedication and contributions to the broadcast industry and to the communities she serves. Each year this award winner is chosen by the previous year’s winner. 2020 MIW Airblazer Angela Yee, host of the nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club,” chose Dede.

These are not only prestigious opportunities for recognition and growth, but they also offer one-on- one opportunities to learn from some of the greats in the industry. An opportunity some of the more seasoned Women in the business (like myself) did not have coming up, due to the lack of Women in management in the industry. I remember thinking to myself when I needed some good advice, “Who can I call?” Don’t get me wrong, I had a few good male colleagues, but it’s not the same. It’s true that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” I had to learn a lot by trial and error. It took me a little longer, and a lot of patience, but I finally got there. It would have been a lot easier if I had someone who knew exactly what I was going through to talk to. The good news is, MIW is a fantastic steppingstone, making a difference with actions, instead of just words.

If this is your first introduction to Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc., I suggest you check out their website and keep tabs on Scholarships and Awards dates and take advantage of the charitable and valuable learning opportunities they provide. I will do my best to keep you up to date as well through MC Media and All Access, and my goal is to help them expand their social media presence moving forward as well. Click here to get started: https://www.radiomiw.com/ or reach out to Ruth Presslaff directly at Ruth@presslaff.com.