Western campus radio celebrates first all-female hockey broadcast

Rachael Bishop and Emily Renneberg will be the on-air commentators during Radio Western's all female staffed broadcast of the Mustang women's hockey game against Laurentian at Thompson Arena on Saturday. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

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All women, on air and on the ice.

Western’s campus radio station is going live with an all-female broadcast crew when the Mustangs women’s hockey team hits the ice Saturday afternoon — a first in the station’s more than three-decade history.

“Last year we didn’t have enough female volunteers to do this,” said Rachael Bishop, second-year master’s student and play-by-play announcer on 94.9 CHRW Radio Western. “This year luckily there’s a lot . . . Even behind-the-scenes they’re all going to be females as well. It’s really us running the show.”

From the players shooting the puck to the Radio Western photographer shooting the photos, Western’s matchup against the Laurentian Voyageurs at Thompson Arena will be one to remember — regardless of the score.

“Every voice, every contribution, everything will be female-influenced and female-produced right to the very end of the broadcast,” said John Urban, Radio Western news director. “I can’t find anybody that’s done that yet.”

Ryerson University in Toronto has had all-female broadcasts before, but that didn’t extend to the off-air support.

Western’s broadcast has a female producers, in-studio support, commentators, hosts and social media co-ordinators. It’s a chance for young women to show their sports broadcasting and producing skills, Bishop said, and prove they can talk the talk.

“Most of the women that we see are hosting . . . they’re not usually actually calling the game,” she said. “It is changing, but it definitely is still male-dominated.”

The tide in the industry is changing and has been for years, Fanshawe College broadcast journalism co-ordinator Jim Van Horne said.

“We’ve skewed female for quite a while . . . I’ve seen a lot of interest over several years of women in sports,” said Van Horne, who is also an on-air commentator for London Knights games. “I absolutely applaud CHRW for doing this and making it happen.”

Rachael Bishop interviews player-of-the-game Mack Graham after the Laurier Golden Hawks 5-1 victory over the Western Mustangs in London. Bishop will be one of the on-air commentators during Radio Western’s all female staffed broadcast of the Mustang women’s hockey game against Laurentian at Thompson Arena on Saturday. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Western finance student and Radio Western colour commentator Emily Renneberg hopes the all-female broadcast will have implications beyond the third-period buzzer.

“I think even just having more of a presence outside of the team itself, with women, shows women that they can do other things beside play the sport or coach the team,” she said. “It’s important that we put ourselves out there so other women can see that.”

Tune in

Puck drops Saturday at 2:30 p.m. live on 94.9 CHRW Radio Western or online at www.radiowestern.ca

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