steinem.jpgI’m not sure how many people have gotten to hear the new radio station GreenStone Media launched in July by a group of so called high-powered women, including Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. You probably haven’t because it’s only in a few limited markets right now.

The whole idea of this radio brainchild is to offer women, a dwindling radio audience, a kinder gentler radio. With so much radio filled with argumentative political and moral chatter, Steinem and Fonda, two women who went out on a limb in the past bucking the status quo, want to offer something different, something Oprah-esque. The mission: “offer what is missing in talk today – radio that is thought-provoking, emotionally involving, believable and trustworthy.”

Steinem said in a CNN interview that women have run away from radio, other than listening to light rock, because it is “too hostile and argumentative and crazy.”

But I don’t get it. What’s wrong with being hostile, argumentative and crazy? I am sure that’s what many Americans thought when women were burning bras and yelling about how the didn’t have the same rights as men decades ago.

I caught a sampling of GreenStone’s radio programming on its website greenstoneradio.com. What I listened to was a morning show called the Radio Ritas. Their soft, nice-girl voices seemed anything but “believable” and their discussion was anything but “thought-provoking”.

The Ritas were discussing the shooting at a Montreal college last week and of the shooters one of the women said, “I bet you anything he played that crazy dungeons and dragons.” An another took a moment to share how “I don’t understand why they have to shoot people when they’re crazy. I don’t understand it.”

Hey, last I heard, crazy people are the ones who usually do the shooting. Hello.

Anyway, what is wrong with mixing it up and arguing a point? Dr. Laura, who is the antithesis of a shrinking violet, has some of the highest ratings out there. She yells at her listeners and tells them to quit their jobs and stay home full time with their children. And many of these listeners do what she commands.

Gloria. Jane. What about putting on an anti Dr. Laura who encourages her listeners to go out and get a job?

Maybe we should take a moment to remember Ann Richards, the former Texas Governor who was always raring for a fight. She died last week after battling esophageal cancer, and what people remember most about her was her spirit.

Maybe women, especially in the workplace, can’t really afford to be too touchy feeling, not yet. Women still don’t make equal pay for equal work; women still only occupy a small percentage of the CEO jobs; the daycare system…well, there really isn’t any organized daycare system; and women’s reproductive rights are continually under fire. The “radio-for-women” concept GreenStone espouses, unfortunately, is not the type of radio that will help women rise above the many challenges they still face today.

Maybe, at age 72, Steinem is coming to terms with her own mortality and may not want to face the reality that the women’s movement has only scraped the surface. Alas, we need to keep arguing.

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