A boost for female radio presenters

Kirsty Young Kirsty Young will mentor women in local radio

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Kirsty Young, Jenni Murray and Victoria Derbyshire are among some of the big names who will help mentor 20 female presenters in local radio.

Seventeen well-known broadcasters will take part in mentoring sessions over six months, with the aim of giving women working in radio the skills, confidence and ambition to land a presenting job on a high-profile programme or at one of the bigger BBC local radio stations.

The scheme - launched in March with Sound Women and supported by the BBC Diversity Centre - is one of several measures that it's hoped will help boost female representation on air, an aim of director general Tony Hall.

Last August, Hall announced that he wanted 50% of local radio stations to have a woman presenting their most important show - either alone or as part of a team - by the end of this year.

Currently, 11 out of 41 breakfast shows in local radio have a female presenter; three are solo presenters, with the rest co-hosting.

Speaking about the scheme's launch, the DG said: 'This is a great opportunity. We want to encourage women presenters and offer first-rate support for them - and our brilliant local radio stations - across the country.'

Matthew Barraclough, local radio development editor, added that it's 'an incredible opportunity' to work with some of the biggest names in the radio industry.

'A lot of our focus has been on finding new talent, but this mentoring scheme is aimed squarely at the huge talent pool we already have, and who we hope will go on to inspire others to follow them into BBC local radio,' the editor said.

Sound Women - a networking group for the whole of the UK radio and audio industry - has designed bespoke training for the 20 women who have been selected for the scheme, with the majority of the funding coming from the Diversity Centre.

Amanda Rice, head of the Diversity Centre, said: 'Increasing the representation of talented women from a range of backgrounds on air and screen is incredibly important to us and will help us connect with an even wider audience.'

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