Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the women who have built broadcasting and are continuing to lead the industry into the future. We talked to Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO, Neuhoff Media. For the last six years she has been named one of the “Most Influential Women in Radio” by Radio Ink magazine. In 2016, she received the Illinois Broadcaster of the Year from the Illinois Broadcaster’s Association and was also recognized with the Frances Preston Trailblazer award. In 2018, she received the Gracie Leadership Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. Read her career stories, advice and insight into broadcasting’s impact and future below.
How did you get your start in broadcasting?
I began in the national rep industry, selling local radio station advertising at the national level to big brands and ad agencies. It’s there I learned the importance of connecting to consumers in a personal way, no matter how big your footprint.
Why were you interested in working in the broadcast industry?
Like many others, I dreamed of being in front of the camera, but I suppose I had a better face for radio, as they say! I love the intimacy radio creates. Audiences feel so connected to personalities… and personalities are the voice of everything important happening in local communities.
How has broadcasting changed during your career?
Although it’s daunting at times, the migration of our audiences to more and more digital platforms, podcasting and connected devices is a game changer. I’d love to see changes in the ownership rules that are more reflective of the competitive environment we’re in – considering our last meaningful regulatory change was in 1996! Half our competitors didn’t even exist! Still, the opportunities to connect at the local level, particularly in light of the pandemic, have never been greater.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s inevitable that you will fail on your way to success. It’s what you do with that failure that defines you.
What advice would you give to young women interested in a career in broadcasting?
There’s never been a better time to join the industry. We are content creators, connectors and community servants. I’m particularly proud of the radio industry for its focused efforts through Mentoring and Inspiring Women to help the next generation of women become our industry’s leaders.
Where do you see broadcasting headed in the next five, 10 or 20 years?
I believe the rapid changes in delivery systems will continue. I believe audiences will continue to find new and different ways to connect with my local station whether that’s by podcast, streaming, smart speaker on social media or some yet-unknown technology. What will be consistent is the importance of local voice. We’re not married to our towers, we’re married to our local audiences. It’s our job to always find ways to be relevant and stay connected to them.