For years, I have been a vocal advocate for networks, especially sports talk radio outlets, to give women a higher-profile role in their programming. Sports talk radio is a medium dominated by men, many of whom never played sports professionally but are paid to offer their insights, myself included.
There are many smart women out there who can hold their own in the world of sports talk radio if networks would give them a chance. Case in point: Amy Van Dyken of Fox Sports Radio.
She is the co-host of Fox Sports Tonight with veteran broadcaster Rob Dibble, the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher and two-time All-Star who also served as the Nationals color analyst. Their show can be heard weeknights 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fox Sports Radio. There is not a local over-the-air FSR affiliate, but the show can be heard on Sirius XM channel 169, at FoxSportsRadio.com or via a free app for your smartphone or tablet.
I spoke with Van Dyken, a swimmer who in Atlanta in 1996 became the first American woman to win four gold medals in one Olympics and captured two more gold medals in Sydney in 2000.
On her show » "I take my job seriously, and having Rob as a partner is great. He is not threatened by me debating him on any subject. Sometimes I am right, and sometimes he is, but the dialogue is always fun, and we get the audience involved."
On the women audience » "Women are as passionate about the teams and sports they follow as men are. I am married to a former NFL player [punter Tom Rouen] so I love football, but I also love golf, the NBA, all types of auto racing. I love giving my perspective as a woman who loves and knows sports. It is an educated, well-researched perspective because I am a sports broadcaster who is a woman and I should be judged on my knowledge and ability to interact with the audience."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.