This case study explores Learning Waves' journey in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the Independent Radio Sector in Ireland. Through research, the establishment of a steering group and EDI leads, training programmes, and sector-wide strategies, Learning Waves has made significant progress in fostering EDI awareness and engagement across the sector.


Learning Waves is the learning and development organisation dedicated to providing education, training, and networking opportunities for those working in the independent radio sector. Recognising the need to address EDI, Learning Waves has actively promoted inclusivity and equitable practices in the industry. This case study delves into their journey, focusing on educating and embedding EDI practices across the sector. The Independent Radio Sector believes that having an inclusive workplace and inclusive content benefits its people, its listeners and the communities it serves


Simply put, equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) describe a culture and framework that welcomes people from all walks of life. EDI makes good business sense, and developing procedures, policies and practices in this area is the right thing to do The Independent Radio Sector recognised that EDI is a rapidly evolving and nuanced topic. In this regard, the sector turned to Learning Waves for guidance on best practices in order to support its key objectives, which are outlined as follows:

  • Radio stations in the sector would be a true representation of Ireland’s society and will be able to effectively understand the needs of their listeners, thus strengthening their position within the Irish radio market.
  • Ensure the recruitment of the best talent from the broadest possible talent pool that can challenge the norm and foster new ideas.
  • Encourage diversity of thinking, perspectives and experiences to enhance difficult decision-making processes, problem-solving, innovation and creativity.
  • Have employees who are satisfied and engaged and who feel a sense of belonging will stay, progress and perform.


The starting point for this work was to engage with leaders in the independent radio sector to get their views on EDI and what supports they needed in this area. Learning Waves conducted an Inclusive Leaders survey in 2021 which led to the following recommendations:

  • Undertake an employee survey to establish their perception of EDI in the sector
  • Establish an industry-wide EDI Steering Group.
  • Appoint equality and diversity leads in stations.
  • Develop and deliver EDI Lead Training Programme.
  • Develop policy templates and resources for radio stations to enhance their EDI practices.
  • Deliver training programmes for Leaders and roll out of general equality and diversity awareness training across the sector.

The EDI Steering Group engaged the Irish Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to design and conduct the survey between Nov 2022 and Jan 2023. In total, 385 people responded to the survey from 28 organisations across the sector.

Key findings from the survey were:

  • 90.2% said they think most, or all of the people they work with are accepting of other people, whatever their background.
  • 87.5% said their colleagues take EDI seriously in what they say and the way they behave.
  • 84.9% of respondents felt that their line managers take EDI seriously in how they behave and what they say.
  • 72.2% agreed or strongly agreed that equality and diversity policies exist in their organisation.
  • 63.6% said policies and procedures are followed.
  • 61.8% rated their organisation as good or outstanding in preventing discrimination.
  • 52.2% rated their organisation as good or outstanding at advancing equality of opportunity.

Areas for improvement cited in the survey were:

  • More communication was needed regarding sharing information in relation to D&I across the sector.
  • More focus was needed on the advantages of having diversity in the workplace.
  • Need to highlight what the industry is doing in relation to D&I more.
  • Need to get the message out that ‘everyone is responsible for D&I’ rather than being the responsibility of one or a few people.
  • More focus on ensuring inclusive recruitment practices are implemented.

Results and Benefits

The management and employee surveys revealed valuable insights, highlighting several areas for improvement, including the need to provide EDI training and develop EDI Leaders within the sector.


An introductory course on EDI was developed. All employees working in the Independent Radio Sector are encouraged to complete this training course. Additional modules on various topics, e.g. were developed for employees with specific EDI responsibilities.

EDI Leads

EDI Leads EDI Leads were selected by station management, and a role description is agreed between the EDI Lead, the station and Learning Waves. A specific training programme for EDI leads was developed and delivered over a period of 6 months. The training programme included the following modules:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Masterclass
  • Disability Awareness
  • Race Awareness
  • LGBTQ+ in the Workplace
  • Gender Equality/Gender Matters
  • Mental Health in the Workplace
  • Cultural Awareness

The establishment of EDI Leads facilitated knowledge sharing and collaboration among stations. The initiatives have increased awareness and have allowed stations to create more diverse content, improve connections with diverse audiences, and foster equal opportunities for all.

Development of policies/ resources

Learning Waves has created a section on its Learning Hub where all members can access all content, research reports, training materials, policy and document templates. In addition, Learning Waves is currently developing an EDI Toolkit, which all members can access from September 2023.

Diversity in Content

While the development of training and EDI Leads have been core outputs, the EDI programme has inspired lots of other great things to happen across the sector related to the topic of EDI, including but not limited to:

  • Building more wheelchair-friendly studios and providing more access for people with physical disabilities.
  • The introduction of programmes made by people from Ukraine to the main schedule.
  • The introduction of new policies for maternity leave and menopause and the development of EDI strategic plans in stations.
  • Participation in, support of and broadcast of Pride festivals across the country, and the establishment of the Pride station for Pride Month
  • Speak Up series on Radio Kerry, which was run in conjunction with the Open Doors Initiative, provided training for marginalised groups and gave them the opportunity to create, produce and present content on the radio station.
  • The Music Tree – a programme which includes a wide range of music from around the world with reference to different cultures behind the music, programmes were made by members of the traveller community.

Lessons Learned

  • Engaging with key stakeholders from across the industry at the outset of the project has been critical to the success.
  • Stakeholders need to be involved during all stages of the project to ensure commitment and agreement to all phases of work.
  • Engaging with the Irish Centre for Diversity to shape and conduct research with leaders and employees played a crucial role in defining the initiatives.
  • Establishing a sector-wide steering group was key to this project’s development now and into the future. The steering group represents all stakeholders.
  • Involving station CEOs and diverse EDI leads has contributed to a comprehensive and inclusive approach.

Next Steps

Next Steps in Learning Waves EDI journey:

  • Learning Waves will work with all managers across the sector to commit to adopting the EDI Strategy.
  • Seek commitment from all members to engage in continuous training in this area.
  • Appointment of EDI leads across all member organisations.
  • Delivery of EDI Lead training in 2023 for new EDI Leads.
  • Networking among EDI leads to share ideas, challenges and opportunities across the sector.
  • Development of an EDI Toolkit to support members on their EDI journey.
  • Scheduling of courses in 2023 and 2024 to ensure that this topic remains at the forefront of the training plans across all member organisations.
  • Capturing of data in relation to D&I activity across stations to highlight what the sector is achieving and to showcase this to employees, clients and the general public.
  • The sector is currently looking at running a National D&I day across all stations, this is a work in progress.
"An enlightening course, delivered with signature enthusiasm by Liza-Jo. Content is brought to life with real-world examples and regular interaction and opinionated chat from participants is encouraged. A real eye-opener which makes you think (and re-think!) when it comes to your attitudes and policies and decisions across a broad range of areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion. Highly recommended!"
Dave Harrington, Programme Co-ordinator, East Coast FM
“The EDI Leadership Programme was an excellent programme, very well delivered and facilitated, which will contribute hugely to the development of the sector in its approach to EDI.”
Cormac O’Halloran, CEO, Galway Bay FM
"EDI Training is a great tool to help stations implement the very best standards in radio stations in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion."
Abigail Bernard, Presenter, Radio Kerry

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