Action Alert | NBC's Olympic BROADcasting Fail

 
 PyeongChang. Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service [ CC BY-SA 2.0 ],  via Wikimedia Commons

PyeongChang. Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

According to this Reuter’s article, “for the first time in the history of the Winter Games, there are nearly as many female as male competitors — with women making up a record 43 percent of all athletes at PyeongChang in South Korea, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.” Women from the United States have currently won more gold medals than the men and still have major skating and skiing events to go.

 Samples of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games medals. Photo credit: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service [ CC BY-SA 2.0 ],  via Wikimedia Commons

Samples of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games medals. Photo credit: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There is a place, however, at the PyeongChang Olympics where women are scarce — the NBC coverage. For the most part, each Olympic sport covered by the network includes at least one play-by-play announcer, at least one analyst, and at least one reporter. The play-by-play announcers explain everything that’s happening in real time; the analysts provide information about the sport, the athlete, the location, etc; and the reporter is the one at the bottom of the ski hill or in the “kiss and cry” figure skating booth asking the tough questions like “How did it feel when you heard you were headed to these games?” or “How devastated were you when you fell instead of nailing that jump you’ve been working on for the past 4 years?”

So, given the fact that 43% of the athletes are women, you might assume that the same would be true for the commentators. Well, you know what they say happens when you assume…

 The Speed Skating - Women's 1500m flower ceremony at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games: Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands (gold), Nao Kodaira of Japan (silver), Miho Takagi of Japan (bronze). Photo credit: J. Gewald [ CC BY-SA 4.0 ],  via Wikimedia Commons

The Speed Skating - Women's 1500m flower ceremony at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games: Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands (gold), Nao Kodaira of Japan (silver), Miho Takagi of Japan (bronze). Photo credit: J. Gewald [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

100% of the play-by-play announcers and 79% of the analysts are men (and one is even covering two different sports). 67% of the reporters are women, but the problem is that these reporters get much less air-time than the announcers and analysts. The higher number of women is in the category with the most fluff. The after-event interviews just report the facts and don’t require any original insight, whereas the analysts and play-by-play announcers get to share their expertise, knowledge, and opinions about the sport. The reporters have much less air-time, and when they do snag an interview the time only allows for one or two questions.

One of the problems may be that, via a quick Google search, there doesn't seem to be many women play-by-play announcers in sports. The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, though, are set to be the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history, so, if you’re a woman in broadcasting with an interest in sports, you may be in luck. You have two years to show NBC that women’s voices count.

Let NBC know we're watching and that we expect more!

43% of the athletes at #PyeongChang2018 games are women, so why are 82% of the @NBCOlympics commentators men? #genderavenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/nbc-olympic-broadcasting-fail

Women in broadcasting with a knowledge of sports, holla at @NBCOlympics so they can hire you to cover the #Tokyo2020 games. NBC needs more women in their Olympic coverage! #PyeongChang2018 #genderavenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/nbc-olympic-broadcasting-fail

100% of the @NBCOlympics play-by-play announcers are men, but 43% of the athletes are women. If the events are split 50/50, shouldn’t the announcing be too? #PyeongChang2018 #genderavenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/nbc-olympic-broadcasting-fail