SAN FRANCISCO (April 5, 2014) --- SAG-AFTRA has launched a Save Local Radio campaign to support members fighting for a better contract at top-performing San Francisco radio station 96.5 KOIT.
On Thursday, SAG-AFTRA launched www.savelocalradio.org/koit to encourage Bay Area listeners and the public to support the five-member bargaining unit at the station, which is owned by Pennsylvania-based broadcasting company Entercom. The launch of the website and social media campaign coincided with the latest round of negotiations with a federal mediator.
On Friday, the bargaining team concluded two days of federal mediation and are still locked in a struggle with Entercom for a fair contract. The next mediation session is currently scheduled for May 20.
Entercom, based just outside of Philadelphia, is one of the largest broadcast corporations in the United States. In 2007, Entercom bought KOIT and has proceeded to gut the union contract at the station, lay off employees and depend more heavily on “voice-tracking,” a practice of prerecording a show with the intent of making it sound live to the otherwise unsuspecting local audience. Voice-tracking allows the company to pay employees for just a few hours of work instead of for the whole shift, so the company can make the same profits while slashing employee hours. Prerecording programs means that when local events are unfolding, there is no one on the air to react to them.
Since Entercom has taken over, workers at the station have seen their pay cut, their severance halved, their duties increase and their job protections severely eroded. Entercom thinks it can get away with this because their target is a small group of people, and because they think the Bay Area is just another market where they can implement an anti-worker corporate agenda without anyone standing up to them.
With the Save Local Radio campaign, KOIT staff members are hoping the public will support them in their right to have Entercom provide them a better contract for a better workday.