This Black History Month, we’re taking the opportunity to look ahead at the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies and commitments that will keep moving the broadcast industry forward. NAB Chief Diversity Officer and NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke sat down with us to discuss the tools broadcasters can use to shape their DEI strategies, including the NAB Leadership Foundation’s DEI Resource Center.

Michelle Duke

Why is it important for companies to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion?

Research has shown that companies that commit to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts benefit from more innovation and can see an increase in their overall revenue. McKinsey’s latest study, Diversity Wins, found that the business case for diversity is still relevant and that there is a tie between organizations with diverse executive teams and financial outperformance.

Also, the very foundation of broadcasting is to inform and serve their communities. To do this effectively, radio and television stations need to reflect those communities. A diverse team could strengthen content and coverage, building deeper ties to audiences.   

What should companies be doing to further their commitment to DEI?

Broadcasters should strive to go beyond checking the box by taking the old school approach to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations. Training and activities are still relevant, but only if they connect to efforts to build a culture that embraces DEI. This means doing the hard work of assessing and evaluating practices associated with recruitment, hiring, retention, promotions, awarding high visibility assignments and more. This takes time and change won’t happen overnight, but the organizations that dig in deep will get the best results.

I’ve spoken with several station managers and owners in small markets who say they don’t have diverse communities and struggle with attracting diverse talent. These stations can start by building relationships with the organizations and nonprofits in their communities that serve underrepresented individuals. It’s important to build a rapport with these groups long before you have a job to post.

What is NAB’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion?

We are committed to aligning diversity, equity and inclusion to providing resources, tools and initiatives that assist our members with building and implementing their DEI strategies. Some of our current offerings include the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resource center, the diversity-related programs offered in the NAB Leadership Foundation and our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board Advisory Committee. We plan to build from here.

In the coming months we will launch a diversity employment survey. In addition to providing us with key insights, the goal is to determine where there are gaps. This will help to become more targeted and effective our industry DEI efforts. We also plan to offer more learning opportunities for our members interested in hearing from experts in the DEI space.

Finally, NAB is building out an internal strategy to educate and engage our staff in building an inclusive culture. We are also working to create practices that help us attract, retain, advance any underrepresented individuals in our organization. We have a highly active Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that works closely with me and our head of HR to create programs, training opportunities and activities.