‘Put Double J On FM’: Major Female Artists Highlight Inequality On Aus Radio

8 March 2022 | 1:22 pm | Staff Writer

Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Vikki Thorn and Deborah Conway share an open letter.

A number of high-profile Australian artists are petitioning to have Double J shifted to FM in order to give older female musicians a platform to be heard.

In an open letter to Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher, Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Vikki Thorn and Deborah Conway have highlighted inequality on the Australian radio landscape.

You can read their full statement below:

Dear Minister Fletcher,

We the undersigned are prominent singer/songwriters who are currently touring together as part of a successful new all-female Australian music festival called “Wildflower”. We write to you on International Women’s Day to seek your public support of a modest initiative which we believe would benefit all Australians, but particularly Australian women.

While our live performances together attract crowds of 5,000-10,000 people per night, none of these fans can hear our new music on local FM stations. In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 2 continues to play artists like ourselves. In the United States there are dozens of so called “AAA” and “Non-Comm” stations that allow fans to discover new releases from established artists. Thankfully, some older male musicians can still have their latest songs heard around Australia on the Triple M network but, sadly, there is no local FM equivalent for women.

Given the imminent federal election we therefore call upon the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party to commit modest extra funding during the first year of the next Government to allow the ABC’s “Double J” to start being broadcast on the FM spectrum – particularly in regional Australia. At the moment, this fantastic digital-only channel plays a lot of new music by female (and non-female) artists over the age of 30 but its reach is severely limited.

Some of us can fortunately still be heard on triple j and community stations. The rest of us benefitted hugely from FM radio exposure in our 20’s and 30’s and the hits we had in those years continue to receive recurrent airplay for which we are sincerely grateful. However, like our male counterparts, we continue to release new music of which we are proud and we believe that our fans deserve an equal opportunity to hear it on the radio. The expansion of Double J would be a relatively simple solution to this current inequity for artists and fans alike. To that end we have launched a petition HERE, and will be inviting people to sign it to show their support for this idea.

We fully respect that there are more significant issues which require the attention of Governments – particularly when it comes to the many serious challenges faced by women. Nonetheless, the United Nations’ expressed goals for International Women’s Day are to “celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and to take action for equality”. We respectfully submit that the expansion of Double J to the FM band would neatly meet each of those goals and for that reason we eagerly await your reply.

Sincerely Yours

Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Vikki Thorn & Deborah Conway

The collective's 'Make our voices heard: Put Double J On FM' Change.org petition is currently live.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter