Women play second fiddle to men on radio, says top female presenter.

By Ciar Byrne, Arts and Media Correspondent

The Indepenent Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Women are still being relegated to a sidekick role in radio, according to one of the few female breakfast show hosts in Britain to have equal footing with her male co-presenter.

JoAnne Good, who presents BBC Radio London's Breakfast Show with Paul Ross, believes that women still face significant challenges in radio, more often than not playing second fiddle to a male presenter.

Since taking over from Danny Baker, Good has been in the hot seat at BBC London between 6am and 9am with a series of male presenters who have had to fit in with her, rather than vice versa, including Les Dennis, Andi Peters and Roland Rivron.

But when she first moved to the breakfast slot from the Late Show, the station's bosses hired Jono Coleman from Heart FM to join her in the studio. At that point, she says, she was "literally moved out of the big chair".

Now she points to other female DJs such as Harriet Scott, who co-presents Heart FM's breakfast show with Jamie Theakston.

Although he hosts the programme jointly with Scott, Theakston has been nominated alone for radio personality of the year at the radio industry Oscars the Sony Awards.

In an interview with The Independent last week, Theakston admitted: "It seems odd to be nominated personally for an award that's really for both of us."

Good said: "I think Harriet is very generous if she's celebrating Jamie being up for that award, because I know as the female part of the duo she merits a lot of the success of that show." The problem she is identifying is widespread, with female presenters in commercial and BBC radio playing a deputy role alongside male presenters.

Good believes that she has always been paired with family men because she is a "middle-aged Bridget Jones" who goes out every night in London. "Jono fitted the bill because it's a family breakfast show and he's got his requisite 2.4 children and a wife," she said.

Good believes the female voice is partly to blame because it is "not as authoritative" as the male voice, which "creates confidence". She said: "I work a lot as a voice-over artist; 80 per cent of voice-overs are male. Women do cosmetics and confectionery."