‘The future is female’ applies to sports broadcasters

By Savannah Cooper | Broadcast Reporter

Take a moment and think of a time when men have been told directly or hinted at indirectly to refrain from commenting on an issue or situation. My thoughts immediately went toward things like determining the price of tampons, governing what a woman should do once she’s pregnant or deciding on universal access to cervical cancer screenings. The list goes on and on.

The sad part is that men have had the power to not just comment on those topics, but they’ve primarily been the ones determining legislation for such issues. If you were to use that same question and simply replace men with women, a longer list can easily be curated with one particular topic at the top: sports.

Pioneers for women in sports media Jayne Kennedy and Phyllis George helped pave the way for Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews to be present on the sidelines, offering an olive branch to women. But such careers have been accompanied with great criticism and barriers that their male counterparts don’t encounter.

Women in sports media are typically associated with sideline reporting, hosting a studio-based show or curating social media content. The one area where the glass ceiling had yet to be broken until recently is in the broadcasting booth.

That all changed on Sept. 25, when Amazon announced that Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer will make history as the first all-woman announcing booth to call any major men’s team sports. The veteran reporters are partnering up to provide commentary for Thursday Night Football streaming via Amazon Prime for its subscribers. Prime members can also stream the Fox Sports telecast.

Although this is an exciting step in the right direction, Storm and Kremer will be one of three alternatives to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman’s broadcast for Fox and NFL Network. The alternatives are a Spanish and a U.K. stream. Ultimately Storm and Kremer’s voices will have a platform but may not be in the forefront of viewers’ minds.

Having a female perspective is a huge asset to any industry because women have a completely different viewpoint of the world around them. Many argue such a difference can led to limited productivity, but I say it enriches the workplace and allows for a company to put out a product that can cater to an even broader audience.

Sports fans from all walks of life should vouch for women in sports media so they can see a full range of representation on screen. Yes, knowing the difference between a slant and a post route or cover-1 and cover-3 is crucial to football, but in addition to that there are other aspects to the game and overall to sports that an audience deserves to know. Issues like domestic violence and the growing rate of females in prominent coaching positions need a balance of opinions.

“The future is female” is a catchy, easily re-tweetable phrase, but it fuels a key moment in our nation’s history. Industries, corporations and higher politcal and educational institutions need to recognize the value of a woman’s thoughts that extend far more than nailing a new recipe or catering to the well-being of her children.

Savannah is a junior journalism major from Charlotte, S.C.