The roar of the Husker crowd fills Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska as three young college females fulfill their dreams and realize this moment is bigger than they could have ever imagined.
Caroline Franke, Molly Robinson and Hailey Ryerson hosted UNL’s first all-female sports broadcast on Dec. 7 when men’s basketball hosted Michigan.
“It’s definitely a milestone and a step in the right direction,” Robinson said. “Even when I first worked with KRNU and I was on sports staff my first semester sophomore year, I was the only girl.”
While these women have been calling a variety of different sports this past semester, never have their broadcast partners been all of the same sex.
“In this day of age, things are starting to take a turn so people that come to this college or specifically women come to this college and want to do exactly what me, Molly and Hailey are doing and seeing that we have done an all-female broadcast on the radio is something that can really attract them to this college,” Franke said.
Franke, Robinson and Ryerson are enrolled in Broadcasting 375 with Professor John Shrader. They are the only females in this section of their class, which broadcasts Huskers football games, basketball games, soccer games and even some high school football games.
“This is something I would’ve never imagined last year because nine times out of 10, I was the only girl broadcasting besides Hailey who would’ve been the other girl broadcaster,” Robinson said.
As of the beginning of Fall 2021 semester, 57 females declared sports media as their primary major out of 269 total sports media students. There may be additional students (both female and male) with sports media declared as a secondary major, but those numbers are harder to nail down.
“It’s pretty cool,” Franke said, “especially now that I feel like a lot more women are starting to get into this industry, whether that is sideline reporting or play-by-play, so actually being able to be up in the press box with both Molly and Hailey is something special that we haven’t had here at UNL yet.”
A lot of the talk today is that there are not enough women in the broadcasting field because it has been stereotyped as a man’s job. The bright side with this though is that a lot of females are starting to earn positions as play-by-play and color commentary personnel.
“If you are qualified, then you can get a job,” Robinson said. “I think that there is a huge gender gap when it comes to women of the same qualifications not being hired because she is a woman. This all-female broadcast is a step in the right direction, especially for our generation.”
When asked if gender or sex should matter in the broadcasting world, all three brought up the word “equality.”
“To see more women on television, I think it’s important,” Ryerson said. “To see that representation and to have role models, that’s always exciting. I know when I watch football, basketball and volleyball, it’s always nice to see women either doing play-by-play, sideline reporting or color commentary.”
Ryerson has the special opportunity of working with FOX Sports while attending UNL and talks about her work environment and how many females are in her department.
“I work with two other females in the department of talent development and production,” Ryerson said. “We all get along great and the culture there, there’s nothing like it and there is a reason why it is called the FOX Family.”
“It’s going to open doors and inspire those that might’ve been hesitant to go into the industry or want to take that next step forward,” Robinson added.
All three females said they are very grateful for the opportunity that they had on Dec. 7 and they said it will be a long lasting memory in all their years to come.
“Being able to see someone else in the same footsteps or the same path as I do and seeing them succeed and do well makes me more confident in myself saying, ‘I can do this,’ and ‘I can put my mind to whatever I want and take it to wherever I want,’” Franke said.