Not so long ago, l guest-lectured at Columbia College in Chicago. My topic? 'A Woman's experiences in Sports Journalism.'
To the Gen Y's in the room, who had grown up in a Post-Title IX era, it seemed incredible that l had to fight for my place in sports journalism, that l, as a Pre-Title IX baby, that l was refused the opportunity to play in Little League, and that l was restricted in my career about mentioning women's sports during broadcasts. After all, their generation had grown up in Little League and gym together.
Afterward, a student asked me, "When do you think women will be accepted without reservation?'
My 'Baby Boomer' professor jumped in. "When men my age die, " he said, without a hint of irony.
Six years ago, l wrote several Token Female columns about the lack of women show hosts in Chicago radio. I also wrote several columns regarding remarks Score hosts had made regarding women. With the hiring of Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks, l had no need to write any columns, as the remarks about women diminished to nil. And DiCaro's ratings were in the Top 10 for evenings...no small feat for a Chicago all-sports station.
And then, they were gone, in an apparent Covid-19 related purge.
Coincidentally, it appeared that the 'Boys Club' returned, this time in the person of afternoon host Dan McNeil, whom I've known since my internship days at WBEZ.
Let's let Awful Announcing, who broke the story, take it from here:
During Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, Dan McNeil of Chicago’s 670 The Score sent out the following tweet about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor: “NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN annual awards presentation?” (note: AVN is an adult video awards show)
As l was writing this column, a follow -up column by the venerable Robert Feder announced the following:
..."Announcing that McNeil was no longer employed by The Score, Rachel Williamson, senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago, announced that McNeil was no longer employed by The Score in an email to staff.
“For each one of us our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that are amplified and brings increased responsibility in how we chose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable,” Williamson wrote.
While l applaud the swift decision by Ms. Williamson to shut down such 'Boys Club' actions, l have another suggestion: Let's bring back Julie and Maggie as afternoon hosts. Their salaries are certainly 'in-line, ' they have a built-in audience, and Danny Parkins is a fine addition to any show The Score offers. He's proven that over the years.
As for my long-time friend, Danny Mac: I support you as a fellow broadcaster. Please use these moments to evolve, and use your voice to support women in broadcasting. You were an early supporter of mine, and l don't forget that. Those who know better, do better. Please do better.