Yesterday, I read a story in “Shoptalk”, a TV news industry publication about situation at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida involving their producers.
They received this letter earlier in the week, published by Shoptalk from an anonymous source at WFLA.
For the record, some employees, reporters, anchors and in this case producers, sign personal services contracts with their employers.
The deal would, in essence, force producers to sign a re-worked, one-sided contract that would basically, reduce their salary and no guarantees of raises.
What makes matters worse is that Florida, a “right-to-work for less” state, has very few options for non-union workers. In other words, “they’re fucked!”
My blood was boiling! The business no longer has any shame!
So I sent a letter to Shoptalk editor, Tom Petner, who was soliciting advice about what you would do in that situation.
Politely, I let my feelings known.
I’ve been working in the TV News business for over 12 years. I have never seen anything like the conditions I’ve seen in the broadcast business in my life. During the late 80’s/early 90’s when we had our previous recession, business, including TV broadcasters, have grinned and bared it. They rode out the storm.
But it’s almost like General Managers, News Directors and others in key leadership positions at corporations have taken a position that, “The ship’s going down! I have to get everything I can and get off the boat while it’s still time! AND SCREW EVERYBODY ELSE!” All done without taking account the livelihoods of those affected.
How many GM’s, ND’s, CEO’s, CFO’s have been given a bonus last year? How many have volunteered to give their salary back or to work for $1, as was the case of the CEO of Royal Bank of Canada a few weeks ago. I challenge anyone in charge to give full disclosure of what they’re doing to ease the burden of their employees! But you won’t see that because many have taken a “hush, hush” attitude. They don’t want to get caught with their hands in the cookie jar!
For one thing, I don’t believe some businesses are as hard up as they say they are. If companies are using government bailout money to dish out bonuses to their managers, then the money’s there!
It’s the same with broadcasting! The old saying goes, “The Captain goes down with his ship!” Don’t let the employees suffer as the ship’s going down because of your incompetence!
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It’s a shame! The TV news business is a shell of what it once was. I remember going to college 20 years ago, hoping I’d be able to work in broadcasting. I struggle for 7 years trying to get into the business. I made my career breaking big news stories over the years.
Now, I couldn’t get away fast enough!