The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) is still inviting last-minute applications for this year’s awards program, including its new Inspiring Women Award.
Mora Austin, past president of OAB, says the award is aimed at recognizing and helping women advance in an industry where they remain under-represented at the executive level.
“Sitting around the OAB Board on numerous occasions, I was the only woman and the more industry things I went to I found myself in that same position and thought why is this? Why am I one of the only ones?” questioned Austin, who serves as General Manager, Northern & Central Ontario, for Bell Media.
“Even when we have board vacancies, it always seemed to be a struggle to get female representation. I think broadcasting in general has been known to be a bit of an old boys club and I thought we need to change that,” said Austin.
Early in Austin’s career, she was the recipient of a Canadian Women in Communications and Technology scholarship that acted as a career accelerator by offering 20 women in broadcasting a week in Toronto, introducing them to broadcast executives and giving them insight into the role of the CRTC, among other organizations.
“That week changed my life. I was working for a small independent broadcaster and didn’t realize when you talked about the industry what that exactly meant…the challenges facing the industry and where it was and where it was going,” said Austin. “I thought with that award not around anymore and with training budgets cut at pretty much every company, let’s put this all together and call it the Inspiring Women Award.”
The inaugural award will see the winner receive full delegate passes to this fall’s OAB Conference, Canadian Music Week (CMW), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Radio Show or NAB 2020 in Las Vegas; opportunities to shadow OAB board members throughout the year, in addition to the CRTC Ontario Regional Commissioner; and music industry networking with the support of Warner Music Canada.
Austin says the hope is that the winner will have their horizons expanded no matter what department or role they’re in. She believes getting more women into the C-suite in broadcasting – roles like chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), and chief information officer (CIO) – is key to increasing their numbers overall in executive positions.
“When you have more women in those positions, they can mentor other women and push them to do bigger things. There are a lot of women in sales, and even sales management, but when you get to the GM level, the president level, even the vice-president level, things really fall down,” said Austin.
- An excellent work ethic, with superior leadership qualities.
- Passion for the industry and community service.
- Currently employed in the industry with at least two years experience.
- Willingness to grow and develop beyond their current role.
- Willingness to mentor other female broadcasters.
OAB is also still accepting applications for its:
- Best In Class Sales Award – recognizing an individual sales person who demonstrates an ability to recognize and speak to the needs, wants and wishes of a new client with a successful radio campaign (new to them or new to radio).
- Creative Award – presented to the writer/producer who creates the best 30 or 60 second radio ad that inspires action, evokes emotion and produces results for the client.
- Community Service Campaign(s) Award – presented to a station for outstanding contribution to worthwhile organizations in its community.
- Promotion Award – awarded to the station that best promotes itself. Promotions will be judged on originality, station benefit, goals achieved and impact in the community.
Link to more information and the OAB Awards Entry Form here. The deadline for entries is this Friday, Oct. 18.
The winners will be announced at the OAB Conference and Gala Awards on Nov. 7 in Toronto.
“It’s a great thing to be recognized and while it takes a bit of time, it’s well worth it,” said Austin. “People are doing great things in radio and we need to celebrate that.”
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