Andrea Joyce: A Pioneer in Broadcasting

Throughout the history of the world, women have seemingly always been put on a lower pedestal than men. Whether this is in the world of sports, in the workforce, or even in the media, women have never been as successful than men simply due to long lasting gender ideologies that exist within society. This was no different in the 1970’s as women struggled to gain a voice in television broadcasting, specifically in the realm of sports broadcasting. Andrea Joyce, was one of the first female sports broadcasters in the United States. Even though she might be easily recognized today, the road to her success was not an easy one. She overcame many obstacles throughout her career, including tearing down the dominant, long lasting gender ideologies that plagued our society in the 1970’s.

For many years, women’s role in television broadcasting was limited to the position of being the “weather girl.” When Andrea Joyce first started her career in broadcasting, like many other women, she was thrown into the stereotypical weather girl role. As Joyce explained in her interview, even if a woman knew absolutely nothing about weather or was more qualified for another position, the only television jobs that were usually available for women were in weather broadcasting. This simple instance truly shows how strong of a role gender ideologies once played, and continue to play, in our society. For many years, women have had to fight to gain the respect of men not only in broadcasting, but throughout nearly every career field. For some reason, our society has always deemed that women simply cannot do anything better than men — aside from cooking and cleaning — when in reality women are more productive and efficient in many areas. Andrea Joyce worked her entire career to challenge these ideologies, and pave a way for women in television broadcasting, as well as other professions.

One of her most memorable instances for Andrea was her very first sports related broadcast. While being the weather broadcaster for a local Denver, Colorado television station, Andrea finally got her call to the “big leagues.” With one of her colleagues sick, her television station was in desperate need of someone to interview a person associated with the Denver Nuggets franchise, and so the station gave Andrea a chance to prove herself. While Andrea’s boss would have been happy if she had simply interviewed anyone that had a relation to the franchise (player, general manager, or owner), Andrea went for the homerun and attempted to get an interview from Nugget’s coach Doug Moe.

Doug Moe coaching the Nuggets.

This was a very daunting task for Andrea not only due to the fact that she was a woman entering a sports broadcasting role for the first time, but also due to the fact that Doug Moe wanted nothing to do with her particular television station. In previous years, Doug Moe and Joyce’s station had never gotten along, in fact, the relationship between the two became so bad that Moe would not answer questions from her station. Although she knew it would be nearly impossible to land this interview, she tried anyway and ultimately succeeded. As a matter of fact, she did so well that Doug Moe would only interview with her station if the interview was conducted by her. After this interview, Joyce’s career took off and she became one of the most well known sports broadcasters in America. Throughout her career Andrea Joyce has covered a wide variety of sporting events such as the Super Bowl, NBA/NFL games, and most notably the Olympics.

Even though it may have taken her a while to get a chance, Andrea Joyce ultimately proved that women belong in sports broadcasting. She proved to a sports-crazed American society that women can be just as effective, and possibly more interesting, at covering sports than men. Joyce’s success, however, did not come without many obstacles. For example, in her interview Joyce explained the difference in expectations that she has been held to throughout her career. In many cases, Andrea felt like she had to “overcompensate” the amount of time and effort that she put into her job because people were constantly waiting for her to make a mistake. During her early years many people, especially men, would analyze every one of her interviews just so they could call her station and complain. Fortunately for Andrea, she did not make many mistakes, but regardless hate-mail flowed into her stations simply because she was a women covering men’s sports. Along with constant pressure throughout her career from male counterparts, Andrea felt that their was always a standard of perfection that she, and many other women in sports broadcasting were being held to. She explains that although many might have seen this as a bad thing, this standard for her to be perfect in everything she did, actually made her better at her job. Joyce says that this standard seemingly “made her neurotic” to the point where she would not take lunch breaks and stay up all night doing research. Andrea didn’t want to give her adversaries any reason to think that they were better at their job — and she ultimately she didn’t.

Andrea Joyce has been a pioneer for women in the sports broadcasting world and has paved the way for many other female broadcasters such as Sage Steele, Doris Burke, and Rachel Nichols. While dominant gender ideologies may never truly cease to exist, Andrea Joyce made it evident that these ideologies can be overcome. She proved to our society that a person’s gender really has no real effect on how good that person is at that job. In fact, it seems that while disproving the notion that women cannot cover sports, Joyce was able to further prove the old adage, “hard-work pays off.” So the next time you attempt to attribute a person’s success in anything to their gender, you should ask yourself, “Did their physiological makeup truly get them this far or was it their work ethic?” After all, gender is essentially just a category.