Opinion: What is RAQ Radio leaving out?

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Opinion: What is RAQ Radio leaving out?

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Kayleigh Marshall, General Assignment Reporter

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According to the American Press Institute, the purpose of journalism is “to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.” This means that different forms of media, including newspapers, radio, television and more, should be providing their audience with as much information as possible about as many topics as possible.

Television networks accomplish this by providing a wide variety of shows covering a wide variety of topics. Newspapers provide their readers with different articles in different sections of the paper. And radio stations air different shows with different focuses. We must ask, is the RAQ student radio station at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse providing their listeners with the information they need, or what they think the student body wants?

RAQ Radio is a radio network that is produced, according to their website, “by the students, for the students.” Each member of the staff at RAQ Radio is a student at UWL, as are all of the radio show hosts. RAQ Radio is certainly produced by UWL students, with the intended audience of UWL students, however, most of the shows aired on RAQ Radio are hosted by men. 

*Seven out of the 20 radio shows listed on the RAQ Radio website list sports as the solitary topic of the show. Another two shows list sports among the variety of topics covered by the show. This means that nine out of 20, almost half, of the shows have a focus on sports. Meanwhile, only two shows list politics as the topic of discussion, while the other shows cover a variety of other topics, including music, movies, and supernatural discussions. All of the shows about sports are hosted by men.  

The disparity between men and women at RAQ Radio is reflective of the disparity of men and women in the field of journalism as a whole. According to the Women’s Media Center, women make up only 41.7 percent of the overall workforce in American newsrooms. Additionally, on the Racial and Gender Report Card issued by the Associated Press Sports Editors, sports desks at 75 of the nation’s newspapers received an “F” in gender equity. The lack of women’s representation in the media and in sports reporting is not a problem unique to RAQ Radio but without changes made at small organizations such as RAQ Radio, the world will be unable to achieve progress on a larger scale.  

According to the UWL website, “diversity and inclusion are integral to the achievement of excellence.” UWL prides itself in being an inclusive and diverse institution which should include equal representation of all minorities, including women.  This means that women should be empowered to join organizations such as RAQ Radio, and make their voices heard in the media.  

RAQ Radio is a great organization that provides students with unique experiences in broadcast media, and the shows and hosts of RAQ Radio are entertaining and knowledgeable. There’s no question that sports unite people, provide entertainment, and give everybody something to do on Sunday afternoons. Yet presuming that sports are the primary interest to RAQ Radio listeners and UWL students in general is underestimating to UWL students.

UWL is a vibrant community, full of activism, education, diversity, and curiosity. UWL students want to know more about the world around them and, in a tumultuous political and social climate such as the one we live in now, education about a wide variety of topics is more important than ever. It’s time for RAQ Radio to reflect the interests of the students it represents.  

For more information about RAQ Radio, please visit their website. For information about joining RAQ Radio, please visit their application page 

 *At the time of this publication the RAQ website stated this was their show amount, since then, more shows have been added.   

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