The following opinion piece was written by and first published in Warren Cosford's newsletter, WarrensNetwork and re-published in entirety with the author's consent.
Someone has got to. I keep hearing, though, that this will The Year of The Woman in Politics. Will it? I hope so.
Ever since I first became a Program Director I've thought that Women could be The Secret Weapon in Radio.....so why not Politics? I worked with some great Women Talent as I was producing Commercials, but it wasn't until I was a Program Director that I was able to hire a woman in Big City Radio to do her own show. Consultants told us that Women don't like Women on The Radio. They are wrong. You've just got to have what I call 'my Mary Tyler Moore'. That's a Woman who has appeal to Men because she is a Woman yet also has an appeal to Women because she doesn't flaunt her sexuality.
In 1963 Winnipeg there was exactly one Woman I knew of who was On The Air. If you're really old and a Winnipegger you may recall 'Betty O'Bee'. She worked weekends on CJOB going around to Grocery Stores encouraging people to sample things they may have heard about during the week on 'OB.
In 1970 I moved to Toronto. 1050 chum had a Woman Traffic Reporter. It's terrible, I know, but I forget her name.
Then....a few years later, J. Robert Wood enlisted me to help him audition Women. We virtually picked them off up off The Street and into The Studio. Also some actresses. But it wasn't until Maryanne Zuma came to 1050 chum that we found someone who was a 'Natural'. Then...in 1978, when Rick Moranis went off to Hollywood to see if he was funny enough yet, Bob Wood suggested a young lady fresh out of Fanshawe.
Ingrid Schumacher was wonderful on CHUM-FM for the next 40 years. Next was Jeanne Beker and then Melanie Devoe. J. Robert Wood was 'on a roll'.
As Special Projects Director for CHUM Group Radio, Talent Development was part of The Job. In an 'embarrassment of riches', Marilyn Denis and Erin Davis sent tapes to me about the same time. Marilyn was in Calgary, Erin in Windsor. Roger Ashby chose Marilyn, but Erin went onto a fabulous career with Rogers Radio.
With Ingrid and Marilyn on CHUM-FM and Erin on CHFI....Women AND Canadian Radio now had a 'Template.'
Then I went to New York and WDRE, the station that Dared to Be Different. How Different? Catherine McClenahan
caught my eye on City-TV. SHE was My Mary Tyler Moore. Ironically she had once been married to Gene Valitis the Gene of the Jesse & Gene Morning Show. Why hadn't someone thought of putting her on the air? She was FABULOUS. I put her with Danny Toy who had never been on the radio before because he had a Bronx Accent. They were kind of like The Bickersons. https://soundcloud.com/user-214699473/danny-the-cat-weather
So....Catherine became New York Radio's first Morning Anchor who wasn't a Newswoman. Newswoman? In 1988 it was always Newsman, wasn't it? How many times did you hear Newswoman? They were The Traffic Girl or The Weather Girl. They were often hired because they had a Great Laugh. Great Laughs were required to prop up The Morning Man.
Coming back to Canada to 'fix' CJBK/BX-93 in 1989, Catherine had gone off to Hollywood with her boyfriend Bill Fagerbakke
. His audition for the role of Dauber blew up any thoughts of bringing in Catherine. Fortunately, Steve Garrison suggested a former Beauty Queen who was working in the middle of 20 minutes of Non-Stop Rock on FM 96.
And that's how Heather Hiscox became Canadian Radio's first Female Morning Anchor on Big City Radio Is it any accident that, since Heather became CBC Newsworld's Morning Anchor, we are now seeing and hearing so much more from Women on Canadian Media.
So....Women. Your Time is NOW. I know, I know. Many of you have not be trained to Step Out and Step Away. Men CAN get away with Being Arrogant. Women CAN'T get away with Being Bitchy. No one said that this was going to be easy. But for God's Sake Ladies.....SAVE US! Be inspired by Political Pioneers such as Judy LaMarsh and Sheila Copps. Both were often criticized for simply being Women! Can you imagine a man in Politics being criticized for being A Man?
Sheila is one of my favourite Politicians. When MP Ralph Ferguson and I were working on getting MMT out of gasoline and replacing it with Ethanol, Prime Minister Jean Chretien assigned the task to Sheila. The Ethal Corporation threatened to take us to The WTO. So Sheila called the Presidents of The Big 3 Auto Companies to tell them our problem. They all agree to come to Parliament to say that MMT was screwing up Catalytic Converters. When 'the smoke cleared' everyone agreed that MMT would be replaced by Ethanol by 2004.
Thank you, Sheila.
So....C'mon Ladies. We need you to Save The World from the dominance of the too often Arrogant, Greedy, Entitled White Men leading The World to Fascism. Be inspired by Angelica Merkel. Forget Kim Campbell. I believe we are coming up to The Decade of The Woman in Politics. Every time I see Donald Trump walking ahead of whichever woman is accompanying him I get angry.
What happened recently with a woman not being believed over a Judge who is clearly an Entitled Asshole reminds me that..... that incident alone is why I felt a Trump Presidency might lure America's Greatest Scumballs into view.
And it has.