GreenStone, sadly, is a sinker

Women's radio network tunes out.

Published August 8, 2007 5:50PM (EDT)

You know GreenStone Media?

Yeah, see, that may have been the problem. GreenStone is -- er, was, unless some fairy-godmother financing comes through -- a radio network targeting women, co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem (among others). But now, Mediaweek reports: "After two years of building a full slate of live, female-targeted Talk programming, GreenStone Media is preparing to discontinue operations effective Aug. 17. Only about eight affiliates cleared the programming in mostly mid-size and smaller markets, hardly enough to sustain the network."

President and CEO Susan Ness described the network's demise using terms like "turbulent marketplace." Translation: "We're broke."

Well, that's a bummer. Of course, as Mediaweek points out, the company had its work cut out for it: "Launching a new radio network is a tough proposition (just ask Air America Radio). Launching a new radio network targeting women with female-oriented talk programming in a male-dominated industry is even tougher."

It would be easy -- perhaps too easy -- to leap to conclusions, such as, "A woman needs a radio network like a fish needs a bicycle," or "Maybe they just sucked." At the very least, the female-audience demand is there, though the supply seems to be relegated to satellite radio. (According to Mediaweek: "Ironically, programming targeting female audiences is one of the most requested advertiser demographics, yet there are limited choices among traditional radio. ABC Radio Networks, which syndicates The Satellite Sisters, also abandoned its initiative to develop more female-oriented Talk. The network's former director of women's programming, Corny Koehl, left to join Oprah's Harpo Productions, which produces a channel for XM Satellite Radio. Sirius Satellite Radio also offers a full slate of female-oriented Talk, headlined by Martha Stewart.") That, and let's remember that in the media business, sucky and successful are not reliably mutually exclusive. To me, the demise of GreenStone "means" only, really, that with "women's" programming -- as with anything -- some hits, some misses; much is alchemy. Maybe commercial radio itself is sort of a lost or useless cause -- who knows. In any regard, we wish the GreenStoners the best in their next endeavor and hope that, whatever it is, it keeps people talking.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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