New All-Women Talk Radio Net Launched

The male-dominated bastion of talk radio now has some competition--women want to bring a kinder, gentler tone to the dial.

GreenStone Media--a radio company run by the Clinton Administration's FCC commissioner and founded by noted feminist activists, including Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda--has launched a national all-woman talk network, targeted to women 25-54.

The network's 12 hours of programming are currently syndicated to a quartet of radio stations in Jackson, Miss.; Flint, Mich.; New Haven, CT.; and Albany, NY, and includes a three-hour show by actress/comedienne Mo Gaffney. The programming is also available online at http://www.greenstonemedia.net.

Susan Ness, GreenStone's President and CEO, and former FCC commissioner, says the network is "not going to be a female Rush Limbaugh, a female Air America."

"For the most part, our hosts are progressive in bent, but this is not going to be a political station," she says. "Most of the issues that affect women's lives don't occur on a partisan scale. There is so much to talk about, commiserate on, and celebrate that does not fall on the political scale."

In addition to the four stations currently on board, Ness says several others will be added by the end of the year. GreenStone is also in discussions with satellite-radio services XM and Sirius. She says plans are in place for programming to be distributed through new media channels, like iTunes.

A survey of 1,000 women conducted by PhiPower reveals that 43 percent say they listen regularly or occasionally to talk radio, but 74 percent said they would listen regularly to talk radio for women.

"On one hand, with all the ways to reach women out there, I can't imagine a talk-radio format is necessary," mulls Michele Selby, executive vice president at Media Works, a media-services agency in Owings Mills, Maryland. "On the other hand, radio needs to do something, because it's not doing very well. Talk radio is geared largely to men, and cable TV networks like Lifetime, WE, HGTV and Oh! are doing well. It's got possibilities, but it will take time to grow into it. If they could get one of the satellite providers, it would definitely help. They'll be drawing a more upscale audience."

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