Women in Chicago radio call out ‘toxic and sexist’ culture in male-dominated industry

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First Kathy Hart disappeared from “Eric & Kathy,” the morning radio showcase on WTMX-FM that bore her name for two a protracted time. Then one other co-host, Melissa McGurren, departed three years later, with out clarification.

As these females’s voices vanished from The Mix, Eric Ferguson remained, persevering with as host of his unusual showcase till a furor over allegations of substandard conduct pressured the Radio Hall of Famer from the airwaves final month. The controversy has fueled dialogue about the vogue females who work in Chicago radio are treated, with all four females who spoke out about Ferguson alleging administration of 101.9-FM safe him thanks to his high rankings.

“The overall response was once that we all needed to ‘provide protection to the quarterback,’ meaning Ferguson,” McGurren wrote in a U.S. Equal Employment Different Commission criticism included in a recent court submitting.

Struck by the number of high-profile females departing radio jobs, the Tribune interviewed three dozen females in Chicago radio right by draw of the final 10 months, finding every enthusiasm for their work and standard frustration with what many described as a male-dominated commerce. Ten females mentioned they left their jobs because they weren’t joyful with the vogue they were treated, while other female voices were lowered or silenced thanks to payment-cutting efforts by radio firms — at the side of right by draw of the pandemic.

In Chicago, some situation audiences can accelerate hours with out listening to a female host.

“It’s unhappy. The voices on the radio have to deem the workforce that they succor. No longer wonderful is it inferior for females, nonetheless it absolutely’s inferior for of us of coloration,” mentioned Lisa Dent, who lost her noon host job at WEBG-FM 95.5 in September 2020 when the iHeartMedia situation transitioned from country to rock. The Nation Radio Hall of Fame inductee is currently heard on WGN-AM 720. “Originate air of the Dusky radio stations in city, that are hugely a success and possess colossal ability, you don’t hear many (Dusky) voices, in particular females.”

Oldschool radio character Trish Biondo — a mainstay at WUSN-FM 99.5 till her 2013 exit — told the Tribune she had a “amazing occupation” with “many shining bosses and co-workers” nonetheless left the country situation after more than 27 years thanks to what she described as a “custom of unprofessionalism” that stemmed from situation administration’s attempt “to be edgier.”

Biondo mentioned in a assertion that before her departure she was once “consistently introduced” with subject subject to debate on air she “felt was once degrading to females” and received a proposal from one of her bosses to pose for a “strategically coated topless picture” for the placement. Biondo, who now serves on the board of advisers for Loyola College’s College of Communication, furthermore described the picture suggestion and other alleged incidents in a Facebook post in 2017, because the #MeToo movement received steam.

“There are things that females must address in radio that I deem females must address in every profession. You ignore it, miss out on it and even giggle at it till at some point soon you assert it’s now not worth it,” Biondo wrote to the Tribune. “Must you allow, the long-established line is ‘she desires to be alongside with her family.’ The part they’re leaving out is ‘because it’s now not worth being away from family to work in an ambiance admire this.’ ”

When Biondo left US99, it and 6 other stations in the Chicago market were owned by CBS Radio, which merged with Philadelphia-based mostly Entercom Communications in November 2017. One in all a entire lot of out-of-city broadcasting giants that characteristic more than one stations in Chicago, Entercom now not too long ago changed its name to Audacy.

Audacy declined to touch upon alleged incidents from when CBS Radio owned its stations. In a assertion to the Tribune, Audacy mentioned “providing a working ambiance where workers of all genders, bustle and backgrounds thrive is a high priority, and we feature out now not tolerate any forms of discrimination or harassment.”

Since Felicia Middlebrooks left WBBM Newsradio, her male on-air partner, Pat Cassidy, has been the solo morning drive anchor.

Since Felicia Middlebrooks left WBBM Newsradio, her male on-air companion, Pat Cassidy, has been the solo morning force anchor. (WBBM Radio)

Middlebrooks is belief for being the principle girl and the principle African American in the country to co-anchor morning force on a network-owned news situation. However she lamented that her managers at WBBM allowed her to co-anchor with a lady wonderful twice, when a male anchor was once on accelerate back and forth. Her susceptible on-air companion, Pat Cassidy, has been the solo morning force anchor since her departure.

“I’m impressed by some changes that I’m seeing,” she mentioned in a phone interview, noting that “an unprecedented girl,” Rachel Williamson, was once named to an executive location at Entercom in leisurely 2019. “That mentioned, I deem Rachel has an responsibility to employ her highly effective platform to succor obliterate the toxic and sexist custom in our commerce.”

The uproar over Ferguson started after Cynthia DeNicolo, a susceptible longtime assistant producer on his showcase, sued the radio host in Also can fair, alleging he coerced her correct into a sexual relationship and careworn her after it ended. His lawyers possess denied those allegations. McGurren later alleged in court filings she was once “mentally and verbally abused, careworn, put into tears, yelled at, belittled, left out, mocked” by Ferguson. Both McGurren and DeNicolo every possess filed particular particular person defamation suits in opposition to the placement owner, Hubbard Radio Chicago, and two other females filed appropriate statements in toughen of those claims.

Hubbard declined to touch upon particular allegations for this account. In a transient assertion, the company mentioned it “strives to provide an commence, joyful and welcoming atmosphere for all individuals.”

First, Mary Dixon was once shut out of WXRT-FM 93.1′s annual broadcast of the Cubs dwelling opener, even though she had been a part of the placement’s lineup for years. Then her morning newscasts were lowered by half, a transfer accompanied by a pay slash of nearly 40%.

In the end, in 2019, she was once escorted to her shared situation of enterprise and equipped a field for her stuff. She was once being laid off.

The Audacy rock situation later issued a assertion about staffing changes, which furthermore observed Dixon’s longtime morning co-host, Lin Brehmer, transfer to middays. On the pause of the assertion was once this line: “With these shifts, most modern morning news anchor Mary Dixon will accelerate away the placement.”

“I had been at XRT on and off for 28 years,” Dixon told the Tribune. “And that was once what (boss Greg Solk) belief of me, one line at the pause of a in level of truth long press unencumber.”

Mary Dixon, current host of

Mary Dixon, most modern host of “Morning Edition” on the public radio situation WBEZ, was once laid off from rock situation WXRT in 2019. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Several females who labored with Solk raised questions in Tribune interviews about his leadership vogue, pronouncing their suggestions were regularly disregarded and so that they felt excluded from conferences and events. In a single day DJ Emma McElherne, known on the air as Emma Mac, told the Tribune in an electronic mail that Solk regularly called her “babe” or “kiddo,” failed to map shut her severely and once joked about now not getting “handsy” alongside with her.

Solk’s most modern job at Audacy is vp of programming and operations for its Chicago market, a promotion he received in July after four years programming XRT. Laura Duncan now not too long ago succeeded Solk as XRT set aside supervisor.

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Greg Solk, shown in 2011, is now vice president of programming and operations for Audacy's Chicago market.

Greg Solk, proven in 2011, is now vp of programming and operations for Audacy’s Chicago market. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

Audacy declined a Tribune quiz for an interview with Solk, as an alternative providing a assertion from him and diverse letters of toughen from females who labored with him, at the side of susceptible WDRV-FM 97.1 morning news anchor Kathy Voltmer, who described him as “a colossal boss,” and longtime XRT DJ Terri Hemmert, who mentioned her skills of working with Solk “has been wonderful” and she belief to be him “pleasing, gentle and respectful.”

“I’m comfy with my file of hiring, mentoring and selling females on the air and in administration roles right by draw of my 40-twelve months occupation,” Solk mentioned in the assertion. “Many who possess labored with me in level of truth feel that I’m a crew builder and take a look at to provide an inclusive and respectful situation of enterprise. Managing extraordinary groups is now not an precise science, nonetheless I continue to are trying to set out higher and apologize to somebody I in level of truth possess unintentionally offended. At a time of rampant cutbacks in our commerce, my greatest efforts possess been to present protection to the roles of our workers.”

Internal a twelve months of Solk’s arrival, Dixon mentioned, she stumbled on herself the correct girl in the room for conferences. Dixon, who started working for XRT as a reporter in 1991, told the Tribune: “It had been a in point of fact long time since I had felt that roughly exclusion, and to in actuality feel it in 2017, 2018, 2019, it was once in particular painful. I correct belief we had come extra than that.”

Dixon mentioned that in 2017 she selected Solk’s pay slash provide in preference to a layoff with 12 weeks’ severance because she needed medical health insurance for herself; her husband, Label Caro, a susceptible Tribune reporter; and their two daughters. The frequency of her newscasts was once slash in half; she was once allowed to return to work 15 minutes later; and the pay slash was once conducted over six months.

Dixon mentioned she felt frustrated and powerless when, by her memoir, Solk told her in 2019 now not to be in the most major studio after 9 a.m. “because he mentioned I was once distracting Lin.” Brehmer, her on-air companion for more than two a protracted time, confirmed to the Tribune that Dixon was once now not allowed in the studio after that time. Dixon mentioned she felt admire she was once no longer a part of the crew.

It had became obvious “that this was once now not going to work for me,” Dixon mentioned in a phone interview. “I was once strolling into the constructing every day with a boss who didn’t understand what I was once doing there.”

Audacy’s spokesperson told the Tribune that Dixon’s layoff was once the “result of the elimination of reports on all tune stations.” Dixon mentioned she was once equipped an overnight anchor location at sister situation WBBM nonetheless the salary and hours didn’t work for her and her family.

Dixon started in January 2020 as morning news anchor at WBEZ-FM 91.5, a public media situation that has seen its morning rankings continue to grow.

McElherne, who joined XRT as an intern a decade ago before becoming a promotions assistant and then a part-time host starting in 2014, mentioned she felt Solk was once “extraordinarily condescending” to her from the commence. In Solk’s first week, she told the Tribune, he canceled her Saturday morning showcase, “Deep Digs at Destroy of day.”

“Searching succor on it, I in level of truth feel admire I didn’t possess a possibility the 2d he walked in the door,” she mentioned.

McElherne mentioned she reached her “breaking level” at an October 2018 situation picture shoot when Solk allegedly went to regulate the XRT jacket she was once modeling before stopping himself and pronouncing: ”Can’t catch handsy.” McElherne mentioned she felt humiliated, objectified and powerless in front of a handful of her colleagues. McElherne told her boyfriend at the time about the interplay, her ex confirmed to the Tribune.

She mentioned she straight filed a criticism, assembly for an hour with Entercom human sources coordinator and situation of enterprise supervisor Elizabeth Geerling. McElherne mentioned Geerling told her to provide a list of things Solk had mentioned that she believed were substandard.

McElherne told the Tribune she slipped a list beneath Geerling’s situation of enterprise door, at the side of an allegation that Solk had, in a 2017 dialogue about a doable lift, mentioned: “Lay it on me babe, correct admire you practiced in the deem.” She mentioned she didn’t catch the lift. She furthermore mentioned she reported that at a 2018 Fleetwood Mac live performance at the United Center that Solk mentioned to her boyfriend: “Good to fulfill you Andy. She looks to be to be like colossal, correct? Don’t anguish, I’m now not transferring in on her.” McElherne’s ex furthermore confirmed this memoir.

In an electronic mail, McElherne told the Tribune that Geerling told her by phone she had spoken to Solk about “his therapy in opposition to his female workers.” Geerling, who no longer works for the company, didn’t answer to Tribune requests for comment.

A company representative told the Tribune in April there was once no file of any criticism in opposition to Solk. After the Tribune described McElherne’s allegations, the Audacy spokesperson replied that a review of inner details had stumbled on “a single criticism” in opposition to Solk from McElherne in 2018.

“We dealt with the criticism by draw of our long-established project, which included addressing it instantly with Greg,” the assertion mentioned. “We aren’t responsive to any complaints since then. We map shut these investigations extraordinarily severely at Audacy and we are committed to taking action to address any occasion in our situation of enterprise that does now not align with our values.”

Wendy Rice had hosted XRT’s “Saturday Morning Flashback” for roughly three a protracted time when she mentioned Solk told her he deliberate to map shut the tune for the showcase, slash it from four hours to three and slash her pay.

She could doubtless per chance furthermore peaceful host, he mentioned, nonetheless Rice, furthermore a heart faculty instructor, voluntarily exited “Flashback” in June 2017.

“They took away what I loved about the job, which was once the ingenious freedom to put collectively the showcase,” she told the Tribune. “I had the freedom to train, what? I’ve got one other occupation, and I’ve got a family and a existence. … I walked out of there, and I in level of truth felt colossal.”

“Flashback” is now hosted by a rotating roster of fellows. The particular female DJs currently at XRT are McElherne, Lara Mondae and Hemmert. They’re on the air part time, although Hemmert is a paunchy-time employee. Mondae didn’t answer to a Tribune quiz for comment.

In an emailed assertion, the Audacy spokesperson mentioned it was once now not unprecedented for set aside spanking unusual program administrators to provide changes, and well-known that Solk had to manipulate by draw of a merger and the COVID-19 pandemic. At XRT, he mentioned, every men and females were affected with “shift changes, location changes and subsequent impacts to hours labored and income.”

“After wanting into these changes, we’ve definite that females weren’t affected disproportionally to men,” the spokesperson mentioned.

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Hemmert, who has battled cancer, left the noon shift at XRT in 2019 after more than 45 years with the placement nonetheless continues to host “Breakfast with the Beatles” on Sunday mornings. In a assertion equipped by Audacy, Hemmert mentioned: “I in level of truth possess been on the inferior pause of gender discrimination for a protracted time of my occupation. I in level of truth possess by no manner had a strategy that I confronted that with Greg. Never. He has been pleasing, gentle and respectful.”

Audacy furthermore equipped a assertion from Voltmer, who labored for Solk at Hubbard. She wrote: “He was once supportive, inclusive and encouraging. To in the interim, I peaceful map shut into memoir him a mentor, a chum, and a champion of my occupation. … In all my time working with Greg I by no manner felt admire I was once the article of discrimination and I by no manner observed him discriminate in opposition to other females.”

Longtime radio executive Jimmy de Castro has “always been a gregarious man,” a spokesperson told the Tribune. “He connects and communicates with of us in a strategy that he sees as very private and friendly.”

That situation of enterprise vogue was once beautiful with some female colleagues with whom the Tribune spoke. However others mentioned they’d a negative reaction.

De Castro, a susceptible president and same outdated supervisor of WGN Radio, was once installed as senior vp and market supervisor of Entercom Chicago in November 2017. That reunited him with Solk, who had labored with him years earlier to provide the long-established WLUP-FM 97.9 correct into a rebellious rock radio set aside.

Julie DiCaro, who labored for years in Chicago sports radio and crossed paths with de Castro at every WGN and Entercom, told the Tribune he “was once always a entire lot of fun to be round” nonetheless “he’d kiss you.“

Jimmy de Castro, shown in 2013, is a former president and general manager of WGN Radio. He later worked at Entercom, now Audacy.

Jimmy de Castro, proven in 2013, is a susceptible president and same outdated supervisor of WGN Radio. He later labored at Entercom, now Audacy. (Alex Garcia / Chicago Tribune)

“It was once form of admire on the cheek, nonetheless it absolutely wasn’t an air kiss and usually it was once if truth be told roughly closer to your mouth,” DiCaro mentioned. “And I survey succor, and I correct despise myself for now not pronouncing the relaxation. … However it was once correct a form of things. Jobs are so precarious. You don’t wish to set out the relaxation to rock the boat, so I correct put up with it.”

Judy Pielach, who was once news managing editor when de Castro started at WGN Radio, described him as a “hugger” whose “sensitive-feely, palms-on” manner was once substandard and annoying nonetheless now not sexual. Pielach mentioned she told him “level blank” now not to the touch her nonetheless he “doubled down” while furthermore teasing her about it.

“Males admire that … correct giggle about it and deem it’s now not major,” mentioned Pielach. “It was once major to me.” Pielach current a buyout from WGN in 2018 after more than 30 years with the placement and now contributes to Bruce St. James’ morning showcase on WLS-AM 890.

Nexstar Media Neighborhood, which started working WGN Radio in September 2019, declined to comment about de Castro, who left WGN in leisurely 2016.

De Castro’s spokesperson, Natalie Bauer Luce, mentioned that in his interactions there was once “by no manner any design in a sexual draw.”

“However I deem he recognizes that social norms possess developed,” she added, “and as a man in a location of vitality in that role he understands … the variety of us generally received his gestures was once now not necessarily how he intended them and he indubitably does apologize to the females who’ve mentioned they were dejected.”

Patti Vasquez, who was once an on-air host at WGN by draw of many of the 2010s, told the Tribune she had interactions with de Castro that made her in level of truth feel dejected from the time he arrived at the placement in 2013 nonetheless his stature in the commerce and the shortage of jobs held her succor from complaining till after he left WGN.

“I needed it to close, was once all I needed,” she told the Tribune. “And I didn’t know of a strategy to set out that that wasn’t going to be very painful for us, for my family.”

Vasquez, who was once fired from WGN after a customer’s on-air swearing incident in June 2019, joined WCPT-AM 820 with a one-hour talk showcase earlier this twelve months.

Former WGN host Patti Vasquez told the Tribune she had interactions with longtime radio executive Jimmy de Castro that made her uncomfortable.

Broken-down WGN host Patti Vasquez told the Tribune she had interactions with longtime radio executive Jimmy de Castro that made her dejected. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

One female susceptible employee at Entercom, a longtime memoir executive, alleged in a 2019 federal discrimination lawsuit in opposition to the company that she was once pressured from her location rapidly after administration was once told that de Castro kissed her “and other females in the morning and before conferences.”

The lawsuit filed by Sara Horkavi alleges Entercom told her that to protect her job she had to allege to the placement of enterprise 5 days a week, slightly than twice a week as she had done for nearly two a protracted time, and secure a salary that was once lower than two-thirds her annual earnings.

“When Plaintiff first voiced her discontent and indicated she was once successfully being fired, she was once told by her supervisor that he could doubtless per chance furthermore now not toughen Plaintiff’s location for anguish of shedding his acquire job, pronouncing, ‘It is probably going you’ll doubtless per chance furthermore’t accelerate in opposition to Jimmy’s wants, or you must per chance doubtless per chance furthermore be out,’ ” the suit states.

Horkavi’s lawsuit says she was once pressured out of her location after declining the “ultimatum to map shut the unacceptable provide of more time and much less money.” Last twelve months, Entercom agreed to pay her $36,200 to quilt succor pay, beyond regular time compensation, alleged compensatory damages and licensed legit’s payments, court details showcase.

Reached by phone, Horkavi mentioned a nondisclosure settlement done with out her from commenting. An Audacy representative declined to touch upon the suit.

De Castro, now 68, left Entercom in December 2019 after a two-twelve months stint. Bauer Luce well-known to the Tribune that he was once now not a defendant in Horkavi’s suit and there was once no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement. She attributed Horkavi’s departure to a major consolidation right by draw of a entire lot of markets, at the side of Chicago.

Several females who labored with de Castro told the Tribune they’d now not experienced objectionable conduct. Longtime WGN anchor and host Andrea Darlas mentioned de Castro was once “always legit.”

“Jimmy de Castro was once one of many finest bosses I in level of truth possess ever, ever had,” mentioned Darlas, who left the placement voluntarily in 2019 for a College of Illinois communications job. “I am hoping what you’re listening to is all obvious because he’s correct this form of motivator and he introduced so grand vitality. He in level of truth reinvigorated WGN.”

Broken-down WBMX-FM 104.3 noon host Diana Steele mentioned she “by no manner observed or experienced any substandard conduct” while working for de Castro at stations in Los Angeles and Chicago. Steele was once laid off from WBMX final twelve months as a part of what Entercom described as coronavirus-connected cuts.

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Broken-down Tribune columnist Kathy O’Malley, whose unusual showcase with Judy Markey was once introduced succor by de Castro when he took over at WGN in 2013, mentioned: “I deem Jimmy’s enthusiasm could doubtless per chance furthermore fair be misinterpreted, nonetheless it absolutely was once by no manner a scenario for us.”

De Castro didn’t comply with talk instantly to the Tribune nonetheless mentioned in a transient showcase that his “file and popularity stand for themselves.”

“I in level of truth possess always promoted females and supported their careers and jobs for 45 years,” he wrote.

Bauer Luce mentioned de Castro retired after a transient stint running a North Side marketing and marketing company with two female partners whom he had labored with in radio. The company closed right by draw of the pandemic, she mentioned.

Broken-down WTMX host Kathy Hart has by no manner spoken publicly about her 2017 exit from her unusual showcase with Eric Ferguson. However months before other females’s allegations in opposition to him grew to became public, she equipped a assertion to the Tribune for this account.

“I got into radio at a time (early ’80s) when the correct female on-air was once in overall the ‘noon girl’ and in the greater cities, the ‘traffic girl,’ ” Hart wrote. “I even keep in mind scheduling the tune for my showcase succor then being told, ‘Live now not play two female artists succor-to-succor.’ (This was once before the era of companies taking the programming reins.)

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, shown in 2013, had a hugely popular morning radio show on WTMX.

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, proven in 2013, had a hugely unusual morning radio showcase on WTMX. (Todd Rosenberg Pictures)

“We’ve seen unprecedented progress and success with females main other industries, yet the radio commerce looks to be to be insist, and, per chance even quite frightened of straying from the homogenized, predictable speak it has been in for goodbye — off the air and on.”

Several female susceptible workers at The Mix furthermore spoke to the Tribune about reaching their dream of a occupation in radio, wonderful to endure a adverse work ambiance or much less pay and alternatives than their male counterparts. Some selected to disappear away.

Stephani Younger, a longtime part-time host at WTMX, mentioned her disappointment grew after a Los Angeles radio broken-down, Jimmy Opt, replaced program director Mary Ellen Kachinske in 2019.

Younger mentioned she quit the placement a twelve months ago after her on-air time was once lowered beneath Opt and then she wasn’t on the agenda in any admire. Younger mentioned she felt “he didn’t care about any suggestions I had.”

For somebody who started in the radio commerce as a teen, she mentioned, “it’s slightly sad that that’s the draw it ended.” Younger now works as a booking producer for the nationwide broadcast news network Newsy and as a podcast creator and producer.

Reflecting on her time at Hubbard, susceptible traffic reporter Jennifer Ashrafi mentioned her preliminary enthusiasm for the job gave strategy to feelings of worthlessness. She felt that Solk, a susceptible senior vp of programming at Hubbard, wasn’t supportive of her ambitions, telling the Tribune: “He makes sure you know your condominium.”

Jennifer Ashrafi, known on the air as Jennifer Roberts, left her job as a WTMX afternoon host in January 2020.

Jennifer Ashrafi, known on the air as Jennifer Roberts, left her job as a WTMX afternoon host in January 2020. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Ashrafi, who went by Jennifer Roberts on air, started co-web hosting a peculiar WTMX afternoon showcase with Kevin “Koz” Koske a twelve months after Solk left Hubbard in 2016. However she quit in January 2020 after more than a decade at the placement, making a transfer to human sources.

She told the Tribune her tasks had been lowered, Opt stopped giving her feedback and she felt she was once underpaid, in particular when compared alongside with her male counterpart, who she mentioned had a more profitable bonus structure. Ashrafi mentioned she felt increasingly more anxious and ashamed about a situation of enterprise she once loved. She furthermore belief about her two daughters, she mentioned, and how she by no manner wished them to be treated equally.

“Must you survey at a female strolling away from her acquire radio showcase, which was once always the design, at the tip of her game, there have to be more to the account, and of course there is,” Ashrafi told the Tribune.

In court paperwork included in McGurren’s lawsuit in opposition to Hubbard Radio Chicago, Ashrafi mentioned she told administration in her exit interview she was once leaving thanks to a “adverse, humiliating atmosphere” in opposition to females. “It is probably going you’ll doubtless per chance furthermore fair possess gotten a scenario with females at this company,” she reported pronouncing.

Melissa McGurren co-hosted the morning show with Eric Ferguson at WTMX before leaving in December 2020.

Melissa McGurren co-hosted the morning showcase with Eric Ferguson at WTMX before leaving in December 2020. (Todd Rosenberg Pictures)

McGurren, who described Ferguson as “a serial abuser of females” in court paperwork, mentioned she complained about his conduct dozens of instances with out success to Kachinske, who left the placement in 2018. McGurren alleged she furthermore “spoke over 10 instances” to Opt, furthermore to no avail.

Opt “would account for me to brush off Ferguson’s substandard and harassing behaviors by pronouncing things admire ‘that’s correct the vogue (Ferguson) is and all radio geniuses act admire that’ or asking me why I let Ferguson effort me,” McGurren mentioned in an EEOC criticism.

Kachinske, Opt, Koske and Ferguson didn’t return Tribune messages.

McGurren furthermore alleged in her criticism that Solk fielded complaints about Ferguson’s alleged conduct while Solk was once at Hubbard nonetheless “did nothing in response.” By draw of an Audacy spokesperson, Solk declined to touch upon the litigation.

The Tribune asked to fulfill with Hubbard representatives and despatched an intensive checklist of disorders females had raised. A company reliable replied with a assertion: “At Hubbard Radio Chicago, we are trying to provide an commence, joyful and welcoming atmosphere for all individuals. Since Hubbard Radio bought WTMX/WDRV/WSHE in 2011, we continue to toughen our values and keep up a correspondence our expectations to all workers on a in vogue basis.”

Hart now lives in Montana. In her assertion, she told the Tribune that whatever the challenges, “I will forever be grateful I selected radio as a occupation, it was once a damn unbelievable strategy to enjoy a living!”

She mentioned, “I continue to admire the females in radio who possess been pioneers in breaking stereotypes and I am hoping they’ll succor the exchange that radio so desperately desires correct now.”

When part-time hosts Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks were laid off final twelve months from sports situation WSCR-AM 670 as a part of pandemic-connected cuts at Entercom, the transfer left The Gather without a female hosts.

Even before that, although, DiCaro had emerged as one of many loudest critics of sexism perpetrated in opposition to females in media.

DiCaro, who joined The Gather in 2015 as a freelancer, later earned a solo leisurely-night showcase apart from a weekly showcase with Hendricks. However she felt the placement was once a complex ambiance for a lady to prevail, she told the Tribune. She mentioned she was once now not invited to the placement’s spring training events nor equipped alternatives to private in for sunlight hours male hosts after they went on accelerate back and forth.

Former sports talk radio host Julie DiCaro blasted the industry in her book “Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America,” published in March.

Broken-down sports talk radio host Julie DiCaro blasted the commerce in her ebook “Sidelined: Sports activities, Tradition, and Being a Lady in The United States,” printed in March. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

She furthermore mentioned she continued harassment from on-line trolls or of us that jammed the placement’s phone traces, a constant battle she mentioned the placement left her to fight on my own at the same time as she expressed concerns about her security.

Now a creator at the earn situation Deadspin, DiCaro blasted the sports talk commerce in her ebook “Sidelined: Sports activities, Tradition, and Being a Lady in The United States,” which was once printed in March.

“I went into radio feeling admire the luckiest girl on the planet,” she wrote, “nonetheless I left feeling disillusioned and sad.”

The cuts at Entercom, now Audacy, unfolded about a months after Rachel Williamson, a susceptible Cox Media Neighborhood executive, was once named regional president and Chicago market supervisor in leisurely 2019, succeeding de Castro.

An Audacy catch mentioned in April that females possess been appointed and promoted to on- and off-air jobs since Williamson took over, at the side of regional set aside supervisor Marci Braun and director of sales Sara McMurray. The corporate furthermore issued a assertion days later pronouncing “providing a working ambiance where workers of all genders, bustle and backgrounds thrive is a high priority.”

In January, Leila Rahimi grew to became the placement’s first female in vogue weekday host when she started co-web hosting a noon showcase with Dan Bernstein after filling in at the placement for about a months.

She is peaceful the correct girl featured in The Gather’s lineup.

Broken-down Tribune reporter Steve Johnson contributed.

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