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YEAR IN REVIEW A look back at 2009

DIVERSITY Moving Forward

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

BELVA DAVIS In her own words

Winter 2009


Vo l u m e 4 1 N u m b e r 4




Year in Review



AFTRA takes a look back at the accomplishments and events that shaped the union this past year.




AFTRA celebrates the achievements made on the equal employment opportunities and diversity front in 2009.

Belva Davis


The legendary newswoman and AFTRA leader gives a first-person account of her more than four decades in broadcasting.

AMEES 2010


Veteran broadcaster Charles Osgood and “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts are among the honorees who will receive the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards on Feb. 22 in New York City.

Diversity photo: Joe Moore Illustration: AFTRA

YEAR IN REVIEW A look back at 2009

DIVERSITY Moving Forward

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists


On the Cover

In her own words

Winter 2009

The AFTRA-covered video game “The Saboteur” developed by Pandemic Studios. Photo: Electronic Arts/Pandemic Studios

“★★★★! THE COEN





AFTRA Agency


We Remember


Executive Report




AFTRA Locals


At the Table


Dateline AFTRA


For up-to-the-minute screening information, go to: To read complete rave reviews from across America, visit:

From the President

©2009 Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.


AFTRA NATIONAL OFFICERS President Roberta Reardon

First Vice President Bob Edwards

Second Vice President Ron Morgan

Vice Presidents Catherine Brown, Bob Butler, Craig Dellimore, Denny Delk, Jim Ferguson, Holter Graham, Shelby Scott

Treasurer Matthew Kimbrough

Recording Secretary Lainie Cooke

NATIONAL STAFF National Executive Director Kim A. Roberts Hedgpeth

Assistant National Executive Directors Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., Commercials, Non-Broadcast, & Interactive Media Randall Himes, Sound Recordings Joan Halpern Weise, Entertainment Programming

National Directors

Winter 2009

Valley View School

AFTRA Magazine




Providing all appropriate psychological and psychiatric services designed to help youngsters become the best version of themselves. History of discrete and highly confidential service to families within the entertainment industry. Please Visit Our Website: Or Contact Dr. Phil Spiva at (508) 867-6505

Ray Bradford, Equal Employment Opportunities Megan Capuano, Agent Relations Tom Carpenter, General Counsel/Director of Legislative Affairs Christopher de Haan, Communications Philip Denniston, Organizing John Eilhardt, Finance Debra Osofsky, News & Broadcast Anthony Papandrea, Technical Systems Andy Schefman, Research & Contract Administration Natasha D. Shields, Information Technology Terry Walker, Administration





EDITORIAL BOARD John Henning, National Chair

ADVERTISING POLICY COMMITTEE John Henning, National Chair Joe Krebs, Nancy Sellers, Ann Walker, Sally Winters


AFTRA National Communications Department Christopher de Haan, Director Leslie Simmons, Manager Rachel Rifat, Art & Media Design Manager Marina Martinez, Communications Assistant Dick Moore, Consultant

PRINT PRODUCTION IngleDodd Publishing 310.207.4410 or ADVERTISING Dan Dodd, Advertising Director 310.207.4410 ext. 236 or

“‘Crazy Heart’ is the real deal. It's a beautifully told story by first time writer-director Scott Cooper, made even better by a terrific performance by Jeff Bridges.�

“Gyllenhaal holds her own and provides a complex, emotional core to the story.� INCONTENTION.COM

AFTRA Magazine Vol. 41, No. 4 (ISSN 00-0047676) is published quarterly as the official magazine of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036. 323.634.8100 Š 2009 American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Printed in the U.S.A.




consider this

From the President Flash Forward: 2010

Winter 2009

The year 2009 was eventful for AFTRA—from successful national contract negotiations to our National Convention. You can read more about AFTRA’s 2009 achievements in our featured story, “AFTRA: A look back at 2009” (page 18).

AFTRA Magazine


Best Actress

Managing change means being alert and educated. It means listening and understanding how change is happening around us, and how we can participate in growth. Flash forward to 2010, we see what we can, and will, do through our union: AFTRA’ s internal organizing program, which is now rolling out in Locals across the country will build and train a larger, stronger cadre of present and future Local member leaders and activists. Wages and working conditions meetings will inform our leadership about how best to coordinate and achieve your priorities in negotiations. We will continue our work on legislative and public policy issues in ways that can educate, activate and connect AFTRA members to each other in order to improve our careers and lives.

The coming year, 2010, will no doubt bring its share of challenges and opportunities. Four major national contracts We have incredible potential ahead of us as AFTRA members. are set to expire next year— We are 21st century media professionals who, from Miami to the Sound Recordings Code, the Twin Cities to Portland, from San Diego to St. Louis to the ABC/CBS Network Staff Rochester, work together as actors, journalists, singers, Newspersons Agreement, the dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys and other Network Radio Code and the performers across the media industries from television to radio, Network Television Code cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, “Front of the Book”—in addition to many other Local agreements audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, video games, the that are up for renegotiation in our broadcast television and Internet and other digital media. As we radio markets around the country. There is work together through our union, each also the yet-to-be resolved question of the Managing individual member is connected to another, Exhibit A/Primetime Television Negotiations. and each member serves to complete the change means bigger picture: the community of It’s clear that the 2010 negotiations will be professionals and artists that is AFTRA. as challenging as they were three years being alert and ago. As we knew in 2007 and 2008, digital In 2010, we will continue our work to media holds great promise for new revenue educated. It means understand, manage and participate in streams and work opportunities for AFTRA our changing and evolving industries. We members. Yet, while its growth is listening and will connect through our AFTRA community undeniable, the data reveals that digital as our careers and industries evolve so media is still fitfully evolving. Further, digital understanding that we are successful partners in a piracy of our members’ work increasingly changing, thriving America. Each threatens both the business models of how change is individual member is vitally important to traditional media and the ability to monetize our collective success in 2010, and we digital media. As in 2007 and 2008, our happening around need to hear from you—the working challenge in 2010 will be to understand this members of AFTRA whose wealth of evolution, identify ways for AFTRA us, and how we can experience in both digital and traditional members to participate where there is profit media will inform and augment our work and to be prepared for new opportunities participate ahead. As our W&Ws and internal as they emerge. organizing meetings unfold, from sound in growth. recordings to news to daytime and We will continue to organize new work for primetime television, please heed your AFTRA members in 2010: both the highunion’s call in 2010. Come to a union meeting, make your end projects, like this season’s scripted network primetime voice heard and participate in shaping your future and the shows, as well as the hundreds of lower budget projects future of our industries. exploding across the media landscape, from basic cable to digital media. These smaller productions are important to In solidarity, union members because they provide the type of work that professional performers need to build their resumes and sustain their careers in between bigger budget jobs. This work allows members to grow their careers through the union, not outside of it, and it enables the union to gather the Roberta Reardon information critical to understanding how the industry is AFTRA National President evolving.

Gabourey Sidibe

Best Supporting Actress Mo’Nique Mariah Carey Paula Patton

“‘Precious’ performs the same miracle as every

great work of art: It gives its viewers new eyes, and the sense that they’ll never see the world – or the people in it – in quite the same way.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

From the National Executive Director Negotiating Leverage for the 21st Century Union

Winter 2009

AFTRA members reached a two-year agreement with employers in May of 2008 on the ABC/CBS Network Staff Newspersons Agreement. This agreement included increases in pay for both staff and freelance newspersons, improvements in pension coverage and coverage for work by members working in new digital platforms. The changes in the economy as well as in technology will present significant challenges for union members working under these contracts. Solidarity among AFTRA Network Correspondents across a spectrum of wide-ranging issues will be critical to their success at the bargaining table next year. Expiration: May 15, 2010

AFTRA Magazine


In new media, which we now call digital media, AFTRA’s bargaining committees negotiated the same framework achieved in the DGA and WGA negotiations, but also resolved the questions of “clip consent” and “covered performers” in made for digital media projects, which had not been addressed in the preceding negotiations. AFTRA Network Code “Front of the Book” Expiration: Nov. 15, 2010. AFTRA Network Code “Exhibit A” (Primetime Television) Expiration: June 30, 2011

only the nascent economic models of D2 platforms but also the need for professional performers and broadcasters to receive compensation appropriate for professionals in today’s economy.

TV AND RADIO COMMERCIALS CONTRACTS: We successfully concluded the 2009 Commercials Contracts negotiations and are currently implementing follow-up studies to determine whether the “Gross Ratings Points” (GRP) model will work as a viable alternative. Prior to the expiration of the contract in 2012, the parties will meet to discuss, independently of other issues, whether or not to implement the GRP model. Also, a monitoring component will be researched and reported to the Commercials Contracts Steering Committee.

VIDEO GAMES: On Nov. 12, 2009, AFTRA members ratified a new video game contract with industry employers (see page 16 for details of the agreement). AFTRA members have been working under the terms of a one-year extension agreement to the 2005-2008 Interactive Media Agreement that took effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and expires on Dec. 31, 2009. Today, AFTRA members working in video games enjoy the highest union rates and best benefits in the industry.

BASIC CABLE: Given the complex and diverse economics SOUND RECORDINGS: The AFTRA Sound Recordings Code is the union’s second largest single contract and generated more than $150 million in reported earnings in 2008. The new contract, ratified in early 2008, resulted in continued AFTRA health plan coverage for newly signed and established roster artists with a significant increase in the “special payment” to cover the cost of providing individual health coverage, a new structure to provide payments to session singers from the sale of permanent downloads and a breakthrough in establishing a separate—and higher— H&R contribution “cap” for royalty groups of three or more. Expiration: June 30, 2010

RADIO CODE: In 2008, the severe decline in the economics of radio, as well as a significant change in ownership that occurred in 2008 (Citadel Broadcasting’s purchase of the ABC legacy radio properties), led to the conclusion that an extension to 2010 was the strategically prudent approach to protect AFTRA members’ terms and conditions during the time of severe economic downturn in the radio industry. Expiration: Nov. 15, 2010

TELEVISION: Although the intense round of TV negotiations in 2008, starting with the “Front of the Book” of the Network TV Code (which covers all programming other than network and CW primetime dramatic programs), followed by separate

among basic cable formats and networks, this is an area that requires a balance between recognizing that “one size does not fit all,” while at the same time ensuring that the basic terms and conditions AFTRA members have negotiated and ratified for broadcast TV are extended to basic cable. In 2007, the AFTRA National Board reaffirmed four basic contract models for made-for-cable dramatic programs determined by budget, with each contract template requiring the base rates and working condition that have been negotiated and ratified by members for free broadcast television at the major networks and the CW. The overall growth in the cable industry is reflected in the increase in the proportion of dramatic programs covered by AFTRA’s higher budget contract models. In addition, the number of non-dramatic programs under AFTRA contracts, e.g., awards shows, home improvement, lifestyle programs, etc., continues to grow.

EMERGING MEDIA: AFTRA negotiated a multi-city agreement with ABC covering the “Live Well Network,” a block of programs made directly for local HD (“D2”) sub signals, launched in early 2009, which covers the hosts and other performers appearing on the “Live Well” block of programs. As AFTRA negotiates local programming contracts in the next year, setting terms and conditions for D2 sub-signals will be critical. We must fight to ensure that this emerging platform provides rates and basic conditions that acknowledge not

In 2010, AFTRA members will confront a number of key issues in the various negotiations to ensure: that professional performers’ and broadcasters’ wages and conditions of employment continue to improve notwithstanding the current difficult economic times; that AFTRA members’ rights to union protection are confirmed across all media platforms, whether traditional television and radio, cable, Internet, D2 signals, wireless, etc.; that members’ health and pension plans remain stable despite the financial market crash of 2007-08; and that members’ participation in the revenue models from emerging media increases as they develop. Therefore, working AFTRA members must be active participants in the wages and working conditions processes for each major contract up for negotiation in 2010, and remain involved as negotiations move forward in order to ensure a successful outcome at each bargaining table.

Kim Roberts Hedgpeth AFTRA National Executive Director

Winter 2009


bargaining for Exhibit A of the Network TV Code (which covers primetime dramatic programming on the four major networks and the CW), generated a great deal of press coverage on issues relating to “new media,” in reality the 2008 TV negotiations involved key priorities of working members to raise wages and improve working conditions in traditional media. Among other achievements, the Front of the Book negotiations resulted in a compounded increase over three years of 9.8% in most rates, and the Exhibit A negotiations resulted in base scale increases of 10.3% over three years, with “major role minimum” boosted by 13% over three years— these were, and continue to be, important gains for working performers in all categories in an era of salary compression.

9 AFTRA Magazine

As we approach the upcoming major contract negotiations in 2010, it’s important to step back and review AFTRA’s successful member-driven bargaining in the past two years that will set the stage for negotiations in 2010.

Dateline AFTRA

AFTRA was well represented at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association (INBA) Convention held Oct. 3 at the Ramada Inn in Peoria, Ill.

More than 300 working musicians, promoters, producers and industry members were on hand to celebrate the Northwest’s vibrant and rich musical heritage and to honor the evening’s recipients, including AFTRA member, music industry legend and longtime Seattle resident Quincy Jones. Jones was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than five decades contributing to the

Peoria Local President Garry Moore and member Gina Ford staffed an AFTRA booth that featured handouts, giveaways and a questionnaire for attendees. “The fact that the INBA Convention is here gives us a golden opportunity to let broadcasters know that AFTRA is in Peoria and can assist them if the need arises,” said Moore who has led the Peoria Local since 1986.

Winter 2009 AFTRA Magazine


About one-third of the 150 people who attended filled out the questionnaire, which was forwarded to AFTRA’s National Director of Organizing Phil Denniston. Peoria Local Secretary Emily West was the coordinator for the INBA Convention and AFTRA members Max Jacobs and Greg Smith were also in attendance.

AFTRA Seattle at City Music Awards AFTRA was well-represented at the inaugural 2009 Seattle City of Music Awards held on Oct. 14. The ceremony, part of an initiative by the City of Seattle Office of Film and Music to promote the region as a Mecca for live and recorded

The evening also included a sneak peak at the upcoming MTV Webbased series “$5 Cover: Seattle,” which recently completed taping under the AFTRA Electronic Media Agreement. The episodic series, written and directed by award-winning Seattle-based filmmaker Lynn Shelton (“Humpday”), focuses on Seattle’s independent music scene and features members from a dozen of the area’s most exciting bands, including The

AFTRA President Roberta Reardon (center) holds her award from the Jewish Labor Committee with (L-R) Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., JLC President Stuart Appelbaum, honoree Morton Sloan, honoree John Ahern, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka and Department of Professional Employee President Paul Almeida. Photo: Miller Photography

The Peoria Local represents newsroom personnel at WEEK. Moore said the spirit of the recent AFTRA Convention in Chicago inspired him to think about ways to create a buzz about organizing. “The fact that the union has rededicated itself to organizing is great for small Locals like ours. The booth at INBA allowed us to interface with artists from cities around the state,” Moore said. “Among other things, our questionnaire asked how attendees thought a union might benefit them and their workplace.”

music industry and for his substantial influence on the Seattle music scene.

JLC Honors Reardon AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon was among three honored with the 2009 Jewish Labor Committee Human Rights Award. Reardon accepted the honors at an awards dinner on Oct. 27 in New York City. “Our work at AFTRA is very much aligned with the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (a Hebrew phrase that means ‘repairing the world’ or ‘perfecting the world’),” Reardon said in accepting her award. “We are committed to bringing fair pay, safe working conditions, access to benefits and retirement security to all performers and broadcast journalists working around the country in both large and small markets and at all budget levels. It’s difficult to isolate

the ‘purely humanitarian’ activities of AFTRA because, in fact, everything we do at AFTRA is directed toward a humanitarian cause.” National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was the featured speaker at the dinner. Honored with Reardon were John T. Ahern, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Business Manager & Financial Secretary of Local 30 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, and Morton Sloan, President of Morton Williams Supermarkets. The Jewish Labor Committee is an independent secular organization and the voice of the Jewish community in the labor movement and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.

Maldives and The Tea Cozies, both of which provided entertainment during the gala event.

NMS Returns More than 100 artists, musicians, managers and various independent record label personnel crowded into the New Music Seminar’s day-long conference in Chicago on Oct. 6.

Pro-Tools Studio Opens at AFTRA Nashville AFTRA Nashville proudly unveiled its exclusive Pro-Tools Studio for members only on Oct. 20 with a wellattended open house. The studio is free to all AFTRA members in good standing and can be used to record vocals, voiceovers or instruments. A separate room next to the recording studio can double as rehearsal space, or space to write songs or hang out between sessions. More than 40 members visited the new studio during the open house and expressed their gratitude to have such an important tool for their career provided by their Local free of charge.

AFTRA Freelance Rep Jolene Jones talks with an attendee at AFTRA’s table at the New Music Seminar in Chicago. Photo: AFTRA

Within the great walls of Chicago’s iconic music venue Park West, attendees listened to words of wisdom and advice from some of the leading music industry professionals, including NMS co-founder and CEO of Tommy Boy Entertainment Tom Silverman, NMS Director and CEO/ President of Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. Dave Lory, plus keynote speaker Michael Spiegleman, head of Yahoo! Music. Seminar topics included a brief business history of the music industry, the cutting edge of new technology, business regimens, being resourceful and innovative while tapping into the Internet’s capabilities and how to embrace social media as a very important marketing tool. Attendees were also given the “New Music Business Guidebook” filled with music business tips and tools. In addition, there were plenty of opportunities for networking.

State-of-the-art equipment includes Pro-Tools LE Digi 002 rack, Mac G-5 with Leopard 10.5, a 26-inch monitor, Event monitors, Behringer cue system (4 input), Sennheiser HD280 headphones, Sterling Audio ST59 and ST69 mics and a keyboard. The Local will also be providing ProTools instructional classes. To book the studio or room, contact AFTRA Nashville at 615.327.2944

Above, top: Inside look at Pro-Tools Studio. Above, from left: Randall Himes, AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director of Sound Recordings and Nashville’s Executive Director, and the union’s top session singer, Wes Hightower, set up the new studio prior to its opening. Photos by AFTRA

AFTRA (a NMS co-partner) had staff on hand at an exhibit table to answer questions from the attendees.

AFTRA Atlanta Lends an Ear

New Music Seminar was founded in 1980 and quickly became the world’s largest music business conference through 1995. After a 15-year hiatus, NMS has returned to the forefront, completing successful conferences in New York and Chicago. Next for NMS will be the Los Angeles seminar on February 2, 2010. For more information, please visit:

A total of 35 AFTRA, SAG and Actors’ Equity talents teamed up once again to present nostalgic re-creations of classic programs from the Golden Age of Radio for the benefit of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) titled “Lend Me an Ear!: A Six-Pack to Go!” The event, held Oct. 26 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, was a celebration of “The Theater of the Mind” with a potpourri of shows including

Winter 2009

musical performance, was held at The Showbox at The Market, one of Seattle’s premiere live music venues.

11 AFTRA Magazine

AFTRA Reaches Out at Peoria Confab

Dateline AFTRA

Agency AFTRA

Winter 2009

(L-R) John Attwood, Clayton Landey, Jon Kohler, Jerry Immel, Marc Farley and Barry Stoltze perform “Dick Tracy in B Flat” during Atlanta’s annual “Lend Me an Ear” benefit show. Photo: Caran Wilbanks

AFTRA Magazine


“Vic and Sade,” a low-key, homespun comedy starring local celebrity Bill Tush from the TBS Tush program; the soap opera “Whispering Streets”; “Dick Tracy in B Flat,” a musical spoof of the comic strip; the Peewee Herman-like antics of Joe Penner with The Baker’s Broadcast; the humorous husband and wife detective series “Mr. and Mrs. North”; and the sci-fi program “Dimension X.” AFTRA and SAG Board and Council members Doug Kaye, Jon Hayden and Barry Stoltze produced and directed the program. Live SFX were courtesy of Henry Howard and Bill Ritch and the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company provided the audio and engineering. The Shakespeare Tavern is a great venue, given its Globe Theater decor, and every year, artistic director Jeff Watkins graciously donates one “dark night” for the event. Co-hostess Edith Ivey, Atlanta’s “First Lady of AFTRA,” worked regularly on the show “Whispering Streets” in the 1950s and came to the 21st century program digitally pre-recorded. “Dick Tracy in B Flat,” from 1945, was heard by our troops through the Armed

AFTRA joined the Mexico-based National Association of Actors (ANDA) and the Circle of Colombian Artists (CICA) performers’ unions in Miami Sept. 17-18 to discuss matters of mutual interest related to Spanish-language performers — from telenovelas to commercials produced in the United States, Mexico and Colombia.

Forces Radio Service on Command Performance and included such notables as Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante. This year’s event raised $1,789, which translates into $10,125 of buying power for the ACFB. Most charities have been hit hard by the recession and AFTRA Atlanta is grateful to the (L-R) Gissele Ospina, Director Hispanic Division at the Green Agency; Herta Suarez; Lilia Aragon; Maria Eugenia audiences for their continued Penagos and AFTRA member Chela Arias. Photo: AFTRA support to this organization. It does all volunteers’ hearts good Participating in the day-long discussions to see the goodwill and share in were Lilia Aragon Del Rivero, Secretary the community’s collective generosity. General of ANDA; Maria Eugenia

Seattle Local Gets New Digs A crumbling real estate market gave AFTRA Seattle a rare opportunity to get more bang for its buck as the Local moved into a larger and dramatically better location on Oct. 26. The move will bring the Local more than a new office space. Board members have

Penagos, President of CICA; Herta Suarez, Southeast Regional Director and Miami Executive Director of AFTRA; AFTRA National Director of Organizing Phil Denniston; and AFTRA Miami Local President Memo Sauceda. “I am honored to have participated in this historic and major first step taken by ANDA, CICA and AFTRA in addressing the needs of performers who work in Spanish-language media,” Sauceda said.

“AFTRA is my parent union, and the resource for all my insider needs. When I learned I’d be signing an AFTRA Franchised Agent Agreement with my commercial agent I was comforted, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. I called AFTRA and they explained all the details. It’s reassuring to know the contract you sign is union protected.” —AFTRA member Tiwana Floyd

By Megan Capuano National Director Agent Relations Did you know that there are more than 350 talent agents who are signed AFTRA Franchised Agents located across the country? When an agency is franchised by AFTRA, it agrees to use one of the Standard AFTRA Exclusive Agency Agreements when signing performers for exclusive representation. What this means is that members receive benefits and protections in AFTRA Standard Contracts with franchised agents that others may not find in agency agreements with nonfranchised agents or managers. There are currently two Standard AFTRA Exclusive Agency Agreements that can be used by AFTRA Franchised Agents: the Standard AFTRA Exclusive Agency Contract (Exhibit C) that covers work in all areas under AFTRA’s jurisdiction— excluding commercials; and the Standard AFTRA Commercial Exclusive Agency Contract (Exhibit C-1) for work in commercials. Both agreements can be found on the AFTRA Web site in the Agency Section at

Contract Terms Each contract is limited to an 18-month initial term. If you are signing with a franchised agent for the first time, that agent can first only sign you to a term of 18 months, and is limited to contracts of up to three years thereafter. A benefit to this type of “short-term” agreement is that you get a chance to try out the relationship with the agent and are not tied to a long agreement if the relationship does not work out. Just remember that you are responsible to pay commission to an agent for any employment the agent obtains for you during the term of your agency contract.

Termination Language There are two separate termination clauses in each standard contract. The Exhibit C Contract, Paragraph 5(a) allows the performer to terminate their agency agreement if during any period of 91 days immediately preceding the giving of notice of termination, they fail to be employed and receive, or are entitled to receive, compensation for 10 days of employment. This means you should count back 91 days from the day you wish to terminate your contract and if you haven’t received 10 days of employment, you are typically able to terminate your Exhibit C contract with a franchised agent. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the employment can be under AFTRA’s jurisdiction or any other branch of the entertainment industry. You should contact your local AFTRA office or the National Agency Department at with specific questions about terminating this contract. The Exhibit C-1 Contract, Paragraph 5 allows the performer to terminate their agency contract if during the period of 91 days preceding the giving of notice of termination, the member does not receive compensation in the sum of $4,000 or more for services and reuse fees for commercials under the AFTRA Commercials Contract in which the member was employed during the term

of the agency agreement. Again, there are exceptions to this language as well and you should contact your local AFTRA office or with specific questions about terminating this contract.

No Automatic Renewals Neither AFTRA Standard Agency Contracts automatically renews. If you want a franchised agent to continue to represent you and your Standard Agency contract expires, you would have to sign new agency contracts with the agent. This allows you time to decide if you wish to have an agency represent you again without being tied to another agency contract.

Arbitration Clause AFTRA regulations require that any dispute or controversy involving an AFTRA agreement be heard in arbitration—a less expensive and faster way to settle disputes. If you find yourself in a dispute with an AFTRA Franchised Agent, please contact AFTRA at These are just some of the benefits of working with an AFTRA Franchised Agent and signing one of the two Standard AFTRA Agency Contracts. For more information on the benefits and protections you receive as a performer working with an AFTRA Franchised Agent, please email the AFTRA National Agency Department at

Winter 2009

Performer Unions Meet in Miami

Understanding the AFTRA Franchised Agents Contracts

13 AFTRA Magazine

already begun planning new services for members. Among the first confirmed benefits will be a production and tape copying center where actors can cut demos for producers and where TV broadcasters can copy the old tapes that most have in their closets, chronicling their career’s body of work. That service is being set up by two Seattle Board members: KING 5 reporter Jim Forman and Metro traffic anchor Adam Gehrke.


AFTRA H&R When life changes, make sure your benefits change with you

may also want to consider changing your beneficiary for the life insurance benefit included with the Health Plan.

Keep AFTRA H&R informed of life events that can affect your benefits.

Having a child You may add a new child to your AFTRA Health Plan coverage even before the beginning of your next coverage period. But to do so, you must notify AFTRA H&R in writing and submit a copy of a recorded birth certificate, court adoption papers or a letter of placement from an adoption agency within 30 days.

To ensure that you and your dependents receive all the benefits to which you are entitled, it’s important that you update AFTRA H&R about changes in your life and business affairs. There are different procedures and time frames during which you must notify AFTRA H&R for different life events. However, when life events that require or allow you to add or remove Health Plan dependents occur, you or your business manager must notify the AFTRA H&R office no later than 30 days after the date of the life event, unless otherwise noted below. If you fail to do so, you cannot make these changes until your next coverage period. Visit the “Life Events” section of for information and a complete list of documentation and notification requirements. If you are unsure about a change in your personal situation, always call Participant Services at 1.800.562.4690 to discuss it with a counselor.

Winter 2009

When you move

AFTRA Magazine


If your address—or the address of your business representative —changes, you must update your contact information with AFTRA H&R as soon as possible. You must do this even if you’ve already updated your information with AFTRA, since AFTRA H&R is a separate legal entity. Visit and follow the instructions on the “Change Your Address” page (listed under “Participant Toolkit” on the home page).

When your family changes Changes in your family can affect your dependents’ coverage under the Health Plan. Getting married If you get married, you may add your new spouse to the AFTRA Health Plan even before the beginning of your next coverage period. But to take advantage of this right, you must notify AFTRA H&R in writing and submit a copy of the marriage certificate within 30 days of the event. Getting divorced or separated If you’re a participant whose spouse is covered under the Health Plan and you get divorced or legally separated, notify AFTRA H&R in writing within 60 days of the event being finalized and include a copy of the judgment for “Dissolution of Marriage” or recorded separation agreement. These life events result in a loss of coverage for ex-spouses (and possibly other dependents, based upon the nature of the relationship and terms of the settlement). If you get divorced or separated, you

As your child grows up The age of your child and life events common during early adulthood—going to college or getting married—may affect your dependent child’s Health Plan coverage. Going to college The Health Plan covers unmarried dependent children who qualify to the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 21. To continue to qualify as a dependent under the Health Plan past this point, your adult child must be a full-time student. To claim full-time student status, you must submit a completed Full-Time Student Verification Form (visit the “Health Forms” section of and provide one of the pieces of required documentation listed on the form. Full-time students remain eligible for dependent status until they are no longer full-time students or until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 23, whichever comes first. If your child is over age 21 and covered as a dependent, you must notify AFTRA H&R promptly when your child graduates or no longer qualifies as a full-time student. If a covered dependent loses full-time student status due to a medically necessary leave of absence, he or she may be eligible to continue dependent coverage under a new provision known as Michelle’s Law. For additional information, refer to AFTRA H&R’s October 2009 Benefits Update at Getting married If a dependent child gets married, he or she is no longer eligible for dependent coverage under the AFTRA Health Plan, and you must notify AFTRA H&R in writing within 30 days of the marriage.

Review important documentation and notification requirements online For a complete list of the requirements for written notice and supporting documentation that you must provide when life events which can impact your coverage occur, visit the “Documentation Requirements” page in the “Life Events” section at


At the Table AFTRA Members Ratify New Video Game Agreement

“AFTRA members who work on video games do so using a highly specialized set of skills and require unique protections from their union agreement,” AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said. “The AFTRA National Board of Directors gave performers nationwide an opportunity to review and consider the new terms and exercise their right to vote. I am pleased that our working members have approved this contract and will have continued access to a share of this multibillion dollar industry.”

Gabrielle Carteris, who cochaired the Steering Committee and is an AFTRA National and Los Angeles Local Board member, praised the ratification, stating, “I believe that, in AFTRA’s leadership being able to see the big-picture potential of this industry, we now have a chance to grow with this expansive part of our working future.”

Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., AFTRA Assistant National Executive Gabrielle Carteris Director for Commercials, Photo: Getty Images Non-Broadcast and Interactive Media, said AFTRA will immediately initiate the Cooperative Committee to discuss and implement the new terms of the agreement. “When we started doing interactive games 15 years ago in San Francisco, we didn’t even know enough to call them interactive,” said Denny Delk, San Francisco Local President and Cochair of the AFTRA Interactive Media Steering Committee. “A handful of us who started doing the work knew they weren’t industrials, but that they should be covered by a union contract, so we brought it to AFTRA. Games are one of the fastest growing segments of entertainment, and those of us who do voices or motion capture bring a very special set of skills to the table.”

Winter 2009

The members of AFTRA’s Interactive Media Steering Committee, the AFTRA Administrative Committee and the AFTRA National Board of Directors all previously recommended the new contract for approval.

AFTRA Magazine


The AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement covers performers who work in interactive media, including personal computer programs, arcade games and interactive computer and video animation. Experienced AFTRA performers working under the contract include voiceover performers, actors, dancers, singers, recording artists, sportscasters, and other professionals, whose talents improve the efficiency and quality of the gaming experience. Holter Graham, AFTRA New York Local President and Co-chair of the Interactive Media Steering Committee said of the new contract, “I am very proud of my union and its process. AFTRA did the adult thing here, and

1. Term The term shall commence January 1, 2010, and end March 31, 2011 (15 months).

2. Wages All wages shall increase by 2.5% on April 1, 2010, which will bring the session fee to $801.30 for a four-hour session (the highest such session fee in any performers’ union contract).

3. Health & Retirement The AFTRA H&R contribution rate will increase 0.2% on January 1, 2010, bringing the contribution rate to 15%. Effective January 1, 2010, the maximum salary on which a Producer is obligated to make H&R contributions on behalf of any individual performer per game franchise, per calendar year, is $125,000.

4. Vocal Stress a. Beginning January 1, 2010, if the Producer fails to give the performer notice of vocally stressful work, the Producer shall pay liquidated damages of $100 to the performer for each failure to provide a notice of vocally stressful work. b. AFTRA and representatives of the Producers shall meet and confer beginning on or before December 31, 2009, to develop agreed-upon guidelines for conducting vocally stressful work. Thereafter, AFTRA and the Producers shall utilize best efforts to educate voice performers and directors regarding the guidelines and encourage compliance with them.

5. Atmospheric Voices

Holter Graham (left) and Denny Delk (above) at the podium. Photos by Johnny Knight Photo

a. Commencing on January 1, 2010, a Producer who employs at least ten (10) individual principal performers on a specific Interactive Program, may also hire performers to do “Atmospheric Voices” under the terms set forth below.

“Atmospheric Voices” shall be defined as voices for characters that (1) do not have more than 300 scripted words and (2) do not advance the principal storyline. (See Side Letter of Understanding regarding use of Atmospheric Voices.) b. Under the conditions set forth in (a) above, a performer may be engaged to voice up to twenty (20) Atmospheric Voices in a single fourhour session at the minimum rate of $781.75 (effective April 1, 2010, $801.30) for day performers who perform up to three (3) principal voices in a four-hour day. c. Alternatively, under the condition set forth in (a) above, a performer may be engaged to voice an unlimited number of Atmospheric Voices in a single four-hour session upon payment of $1,563.55 (effective April 1, 2010, $1,602.65). A performer (or his or her agent) must be notified in writing prior to engagement that the engagement is for Atmospheric Voices, and whether the engagement is for the twenty (20) voices or less option under (c) or the unlimited option under (d). If the above-required notice is not given, then all voices beyond the third voice recorded in that session will be paid as “additional voices” at the rate of $390.90 (effective April 1, 2010, $400.65). d. A performer may not be engaged to both record Atmospheric Voices and non-Atmospheric Voices in the same session. e. The notifications regarding vocal stress and all other relevant terms of the contract shall apply equally to sessions for the recording of Atmospheric Voices.

6. Periodic Cooperative Committee Meetings There will be periodic meetings between the union and representatives of the Producers to review and address areas of contract administration and/or interpretation on an ongoing basis during the term of the agreement.

Text of Side Letter of Understanding Re: Application of Atmospheric Voices Provision This will confirm the discussions leading up to the creation of the Atmospheric Voices category in the Interactive Media Agreement. If a character is one of the lead characters of the game, the performer voicing that lead character is to be paid not less than the Principal Performer rate. Any formal claim arising out of the use of the Atmospheric Voices classification shall be filed pursuant to the arbitration provisions of the Interactive Media Agreement but shall be referred to the Cooperative Committee prior to the initiation of an arbitration hearing. Notwithstanding the reference to the Cooperative Committee, if the Cooperative Committee does not meet within forty-five (45) days after the filing of the arbitration claim, the matter may proceed directly to arbitration hearing. The actual time necessary to satisfy the referral to the Cooperative Committee shall not be counted toward the time limits provisions of the arbitration procedures and shall not serve as the basis for a laches defense.

Winter 2009

More than 2,200 performers nationwide who worked under the AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement during the last three years were mailed voting materials. The contract passed by a majority of those voting in each Local with 66% voting in favor overall.

I am glad to have been involved. AFTRA members, who do the predominance of this work across the country, looked at the merits of the deal, saw past the hysteria that sometimes accompanies change and had the courage to embrace an evolving marketplace rather than get left behind in one of the fastest growing categories of entertainment media.”

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A new 15-month AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement was approved by a margin of 2-to-1 in November via an affected member referendum.

Terms of the New AFTRA 2010-2011 Interactive Media Agreement

Here are some of AFTRA’s highlights of 2009.

Winter 2009


AFTRA Magazine


AFTRA leaders and members from around the country headed to the nation’s capital to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack AFTRA members and staff enjoy the Obama. AFTRA festivities at a pre-inaugural celebration. joined Actors’ Equity, (L-R) Terrie Bjorkland, James Lurie, AFM, IATSE, SAG Purvi Patel, Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and the Department Roberta Reardon, Lainie Cooke, for Professional Holter Graham, Ed Fry and Bob Butler. Photo: AFTRA Employees for an exclusive preinauguration reception. AFTRA First Vice President Bob Edwards served as master of ceremonies.

Web producers, assistant producers and a reporter at in Philadelphia celebrated successfully winning an election to make AFTRA their voice at work.

In recognition of the mobile nature of AFTRA’s members, such as journalists on assignment, recording artists on tour and actors on location, AFTRA launched its “Join Online” feature, permitting applicants to join via the AFTRA Web site. Sheryl Crow (at podium) speaks during the February launch of musicFirst’s Performance Rights Act campaign. In the background, (L-R) Dionne Warwick,, members of Los Tigres Del Norte, Matt Maher and Herbie Hancock. Photo: Sean McCormick

Dozens of AFTRA recording artists, including Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and, traveled to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to support the Performance Rights Act. Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corrigan later testified in March before the House Judiciary Committee about the issue calling it “one of fundamental fairness.” The committee approved the bill in May and its counterpart in the Senate approved it in October.


Members approved a landmark agreement to cover performers working on audiobooks produced by, one of the Internet’s largest online distributors of audiobooks.

FEBRUARY More than 100 voiceover performers turned out in Miami for OYEME USA 2009—the first voiceover conference of its kind for the Hispanic market in the United States. The conference was presented by the Association of Latino Artists of South Florida in association with AFTRA. Five AFTRA-represented workers in Washington, D.C., received a $50,000 arbitration award from Citadel Broadcasting Corp. as a result of the employers miscalculation to severance pay related to layoffs and personal service contracts.

JULY The tri-union national disabilities awareness campaign, I AM PWD, presented the keynote address at NEA’s National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities. The Joint AFTRA and SAG Commercials Contracts Negotiating Committee. Photo: AFTRA

AFTRA members were among the many union members, community activists and local elected officials who welcomed U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to Los Angeles.

MAY Some of the biggest names in music—and AFTRA members—including Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and Joan Baez, marked folk singer Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday with a benefit at Madison Square Garden. Seeger has been an AFTRA member since 1941. AMEE Award honorees Smokey Robinson and Jeanne Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

Actress Jeanne Cooper, singer Smokey Robinson, broadcaster Vin Scully and the late voiceover artist Don LaFontaine were honored in Los Angeles at the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards (the AMEES). Proceeds of the evening benefitted the charitable and educational programs of the AFTRA Foundation. AFTRA actors, announcers, recording artists and other members from coast-to-coast took action in support of the Employee Free Choice Act by participating in the Artists 4 Workers Choice multi-union video, coordinated by the AFLCIO, and produced with the talents of working members from AFTRA and Actors’ Equity, AFM, DGA, IATSE, SAG, WGAE and WGAW.

“Star Trek” actor George Takei, actress Dr. Victoria Ann Lewis, “Dancing with the Stars” dancer Cheryl Burke and comedian/ storyteller Charlie Hill were the recipients of the 2009 Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards in Los Angeles. AFTRA negotiated two new agreements to cover performers working on audiobooks produced by John McElroy Productions and Mind Wings Audio.

AFTRA National EEO Director Ray Bradford was honored by the County of Los Angeles at the 27th annual Volunteer of the Year Recognition and Awards luncheon.

The AFTRA Broadcast Steering Committee—a national committee of working members from around the country— met in Washington, D.C., to discuss how best to approach and coordinate on a number of issues affecting broadcast journalists nationwide, including the increasing use of multimedia journalists (MMJs) in local broadcast stations.


AFTRA Portland members joined forces with IATSE members and media industry professionals in Southeast Portland to stand up for increases in Oregon’s film and television incentives by attending town halls hosted by two state senators whose leadership is important to building the incentive plan to bring more projects to the state.

AUGUST The Chicago Local played host to more than 240 delegates to the 62nd AFTRA National Convention, where they were welcomed via a video message from President Barack Obama—the first time a sitting U.S. president has addressed convention delegates. Roberta Reardon was elected to a second term as AFTRA’s National President during the National Convention. Reardon, along with National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth and Chicago Executive Director Eileen Willenborg were the recipients of AFTRA’s highest honor, the Gold Card, awarded on the last day of the Convention.

More than 240 delegates converged on Chicago for the 2009 AFTRA National Convention. Photo: Johnny Knight Photo

Philadelphia member Rod Carson was honored by the AFTRA Philadelphia Local with its Hall of Fame Award for lifetime achievement. Dan Hunt received the Bill Evans Award. Former AFTRA staffer and local entertainment attorney Mary Cavallaro was presented with the Friend of AFTRA Award. Members ratified the 2009-2012 AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts.

AFTRA members honored 10 AFTRA-covered programs on TV and radio with the American Scene Awards, recognizing excellence in programming that portrays diversity in a positive and realistic light.

AFTRA delegates officially endorsed an internal organizing campaign at the 2009 National Convention, with delegates voting to raise initiation fees with the additional revenue specifically dedicated to internal organizing efforts. In response to concerns raised by the International Federation of Journalists and its U.S. affiliates, including

Winter 2009

AFTRA began 2009 with a bang and kept its momentum throughout the year, with many milestones—from members ratifying the TV and Radio Commercials Contracts and the Interactive Media Agreement to the AMEE Awards in Los Angeles and the National Convention in Chicago.

AFTRA, jointly negotiating with SAG, reached a deal with advertisers on terms for successor agreements to the AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contract and the SAG Television Commercials Contract.

AFTRA closed out the 2008-2009 fiscal year having recovered more than $17.1 million for AFTRA members through claims, settlements, grievances and arbitrations against employers. Combined with the $17.3 million recovered during the 20072008 fiscal year, the union returned over $34.4 million to AFTRA members’ pocketbooks during a two-year period.

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AFTRA: A look back at 2009


AFTRA President Reardon was elected an AFL-CIO vice president at the AFL-CIO National Convention in Pittsburgh. Also at the AFL-CIO Convention, AFTRA member and 4A’s President Theodore Bikel was honored by resolution, which featured tributes by AFTRA, SAG and AEA.

After a year of development under the guidance of the National IT Committee, AFTRA launched its improved, redesigned Web site.

NOVEMBER AFTRA members approved the new 15-month Interactive Media Agreement with video game employers by 66%, a margin of more than 2-to-1 in favor.

AFL-CIO delegates passed Convention Resolution 18, “Unions Should Give People with Disabilities a Voice and a Face,” endorsing the I AM PWD campaign.

AFTRA kicked off training programs on internal organizing for Local leaders, starting with Cleveland, D.C./Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Tri-State, Miami, Twin Cities—with other Locals scheduled for the early part of 2010.

Former Cleveland Local President Joe Mosbrook was honored with the Local’s FITZ Award, recognizing his many years of service and leadership. After 72 years on TV and radio, “Guiding Light” went off the air, ending what the “Guinness Book of World Records” has recognized as the longestrunning soap opera in production and the longest-running television program of all time.

Winter 2009


AFTRA Magazine


On Sept. 8, 1986, the 10,000th episode of “Guiding Light” was filmed on its set in New York City. The soap went off the air in September. Photo: CBS Photo Archive

At a three-day summit convened by the International Federation of Actors—North America (FIA-NA) at the AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles, AFTRA representatives joined their international counterparts from other Englishspeaking entertainment labor unions to discuss issues of common interest and to explore ways of coordinating organizing and public policy efforts. Participants included AFTRA, Actors’ Equity, ACTRA, Canadian Actors’ Equity, Equity UK, FIA, MEAA, SAG and Union des Artistes.

The Copyright Alliance, of which AFTRA is a member, delivered to the White House its grass-roots letter—running several hundred pages and containing more than 11,000 signatures—asking President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to pursue policies supportive of artists’ rights.

DECEMBER President Reardon is named for a second consecutive year to The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women in Entertainment list.

AFTRA and SAG approved an 18-month extension to the AFTRA Code of Fair Practice for Non Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Recorded Material and the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract. AFTRA members approved another new audiobooks agreement covering books recorded for and distributed by Highbridge Audio. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 1319 which prohibits

“HawthoRNe” cast members Vanessa Lengies, Christine Moore and Suleka Mathew flank the show’s executive producer, Glen Mazzara, and the show’s American Scene Award at a local presentation in November. Photo: Beth Coller

By Ray Bradford, National EEO Director “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

AFL-CIO Diversity Summit and Convention Resolution 18

For almost a decade, AFTRA has worked alongside civil rights directors of other unions within the AFL-CIO’s Civil, Human and Women’s Rights It is a full-time job working to ensure Department meetings. Building upon the that all AFTRA members are judged Federation’s historic 2005 Resolution according to their talent and creativity, 2, calling for “diversity and full inclusion and our union has a long and proud of women and people of color at every history of fighting the good fight. From level of leadership and in every program working with the Kennedy administration of our union movement,” AFTRA in the early 1960s in order to highlight participated in the crafting of this year’s the arts within the broader and nascent resolution, “A civil rights Diverse and movement Democratic Labor to helping Movement,” launch the committing most dynamic unions to more disability aggressively rights ensure that they campaign the reflect the face entertainment of America’s and media AFTRA Los Angeles Local President and 2nd workforce for all industries National Vice President Ron Morgan, AFTRA groups, including have ever National Vice President and Philadelphia Local LGBT workers seen, AFTRA President Catherine Brown, National President and people with members Roberta Reardon and AFTRA member John disabilities. continue to Lawson attended the AFL-CIO’s Diversity Summit move forward in Pittsburgh. Photo: AFTRA Of particular in challenging note is that discrimination, AFTRA’s continual presence at these fostering inclusion and creating allies civil rights meetings led to highlighting on the righteous path toward justice the needs of workers with disabilities and equality. Women, seniors, ethnic, within other affiliate unions’ industries. racial and cultural minorities, people By introducing the work and goals of with disabilities, un-emancipated the AFTRA/SAG/Actors’ Equity I AM minors and our lesbian, gay, bisexual PWD (Inclusion in the Arts and Media and transgender (LGBT) brothers and of People with Disabilities) civil rights sisters all have a voice in our union and campaign to this broader group and to have protections within our collective the AFL-CIO as a whole, a landmark bargaining agreements. resolution was unanimously approved at the Federation’s quadrennial 2009 Yet, for all our progress, the work Constitutional Convention held in cannot even pause for a moment. We September in Pittsburgh. have periodically outlined the work of the Equal Employment Opportunities Resolution 18, titled “Unions Should Department and its various committees. Give People with Disabilities a Voice This past year in particular has been an and a Face,” acknowledged that PWDs extremely busy and noteworthy year for frequently face obstacles in finding the breadth of work (and subsequent and maintaining employment, and that accomplishments) taking place. Here organized labor must fight for social are some highlights:

justice for all workers and veterans with disabilities. Highlights of Resolution 18 •

The AFL-CIO endorses and supports the tri-union I AM PWD campaign. The Federation and its affiliate unions will include PWDs in all discussions addressing diversity. They will urge federal and state governments to include workers with disabilities in workforce employment data. Unions are urged to ensure access to all levels of the labor movement for PWDs. Unions are urged to negotiate contract language to ensure that PWDs can request reasonable accommodations without fear of losing their jobs, to free PWDs from real and virtual discrimination and to ensure that PWDs can compete for jobs without bias or exclusionary practices. The Federation’s Executive Council will consider within the year a proposal for the establishment of a constituency group for PWDs.

I AM PWD Launched in October 2008, our triunion national disability rights campaign has grown into a major initiative in its inaugural year, gaining the support of disability and civil rights organizations, the media and arts communities, labor unions and federal and state agencies. Most importantly, I AM PWD is moving forward in three areas critical to AFTRA: 1) Member Mobilization & Organizing Through informational meetings, forums and the creation of various “action groups,” almost 100 new union activists nationwide are now a part of this campaign and are finding a voice within a union that is addressing their concerns.

Winter 2009


advance-fee talent services from charging money upfront and then attempting to procure employment for their clients. AFTRA was a supporter of the legislation.

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AFTRA, the U.S. Army ceased plans to vet journalists covering the military’s operations in Afghanistan.

Winter 2009

2) Strategic Planning

AFTRA Magazine


Workplace Issues at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School, this work will not only build a strong and diverse leadership base for Locals coast-to-coast, but the inclusion of these members within our union’s national leadership structure will ensure that AFTRA is a voice for change and unity into the future.

create a session called “The Power of Negotiation” for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) convention in Boston, which featured KABC News Anchor David Ono and AFTRA Director of News and Broadcast Debra Osofsky.

Expanding on strategic initiatives currently taking place designed to grow AFTRA’s leadership base and member involvement, and increase job opportunities, I AM PWD members and staff launched the campaign after an August 2008 all-day retreat Ray Bradford, National EEO Director, that addressed the challenges facing ended his two-year term on the Board PWDs and created the structure of this of Directors of the National Lesbian and Minority Journalists comprehensive Gay Journalists initiative. Locals Association will make every (NLGJA) during effort to ensure that its convention accommodations in Montreal, but and interpretation continues working are available on its Membership/ within all general Diversity Committee membership to address meetings if challenges for requested. A LGBT broadcasters thorough review within AFTRA. of AFTRA communications There are many tools will identify more initiatives and address the Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, who stars on the AFTRA-covered program “Brothers,” was a panelist for and programs the Hollywood Disabilities Forum, co-sponsored by I AM PWD, at the University of California, needs of PWDs taking place across Los Angeles. Photo: Michael Jones accessing those the country. For sites. information on how you can get 3) Strategic Outside Alliances involved, please contact your Local or Associations and Conventions AFTRA’s National EEO Director Ray Many national disability, civil and human Bradford at Throughout the year, AFTRA works rights organizations are working with with a variety of organizations that I AM PWD because they see that address the needs of minority and successes gained through the legislative LGBT broadcast, print and digital media and regulatory fronts will enrich the journalists. American scene in the media if it reflects the country’s largest minority group. AFTRA National Vice President and Therefore, it is in our mutual interests to National EEO Committee Chairperson work together and advance the dialogue Bob Butler was elected Vice President of inclusion in all areas. for Broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) during Diversity Leadership its summer convention. AFTRA has Training Workshops traditionally staffed an informational booth and panel during these For the fifth consecutive AFTRA conventions. national convention, members from around the country gathered for a twoA booth was staffed for the National day workshop focusing on leadership Association of Hispanic Journalists development skills as a key goal in (NAHJ) convention in Puerto Rico, where fulfilling our union’s diversity objectives. AFTRA members Ysabel Durón and Funded by an AFTRA Foundation Geraldo Rivera were inducted into their Fox News Channel reporter and grant, Motivation, Communication, Hall of Fame. The challenging state of longtime AFTRA member Geraldo Setting Priorities and Creating Strategic newsrooms led to increased traffic and Rivera was among those honored at Action Plans were some of the skill sets many journalists asking for information the NAHJ convention in Puerto Rico. addressed throughout the sessions. and assistance from attending staff. Photo: AFTRA Led by K.C. Wagner, Director of AFTRA participated and helped

A Life in Broadcast Journalism Editor’s note: Recently, the Bay Area Black Journalists Association paid tribute to broadcaster Belva Davis at its Sixth Annual Young Journalists Scholarship Gala. The honor particularly focused on Davis’ longstanding commitment to excellence in broadcast journalism, the community and the future of broadcasting. “AFTRA Magazine” asked Davis—a 43-year member of AFTRA—to reflect on her career, breaking racial barriers, mentoring and AFTRA’s role in the future of broadcasting.

Winter 2009

In the Southern Baptist tradition, men and women who decide they want to become a pastor do not drop everything and find a divinity school to enroll in to learn the basics of religious leadership. They simply declare that “God has called them” to this special work and then look for people who share their dream.

AFTRA Magazine


There are parallels between that kind of experience and the route I took to a lifelong career in broadcasting. No, not the God part, but the self-manufactured vision that this was the route my life should take, with the full expectation that others would help make it real.

Getting Started In the early days, I wrote a line that I kept in the front of my daily calendars that, in the simplicity of my youth, was so believable it carried me forward: “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dream and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.” To be honest, it was the clashing of the dream and reality that really pushed me forward.

Belva Davis with Crew of "All Together Now," KPIX-TV 1972. Shown are (L-R) Ysabel Durón, Sylvia Hernandez, David Ambriz, Chris Chow, Bill Hazelwood and Belva Davis.

It was on a winding ramp in San Francisco’s old Cow Palace auditorium during the 1964 Republican Convention, the one where Barry Goldwater became the party’s standard bearer, that I

realized the true force and importance of journalism. The party was fighting two wars in that livestock palace: One with its moderate wing and the other with the media, which they thought had been unkind to their cause and principles. I was a clerk at a black-programmed radio station hoping to become a disc jockey. Our black news director was not allowed in the press area, but had obtained a couple of delegate tickets and decided to take a chance and attend. He needed help and I volunteered. We sought out an area high in the bleachers, hoping not to be discovered while we recorded the action. When the racist temperature inside the hall got too hot we decided to leave, but not before we were discovered. It was on the exit ramp while being peppered with trash and harsh names that I vowed to find a way into the powerful world of the mainstream media those people hated.

“It was on the exit ramp while being peppered with trash and harsh names that I vowed to find a way into the powerful world of the mainstream media those people hated.” My media world was truly black and white. In the early 1960s, the lines of separation were almost solid. Black people talked on radio stations created for them, and whites did everything else. Without the on-the-job training provided by the men who worked at my segregated radio stations, I would not have made it to television.

First Black Woman TV Reporter I never thought I’d be the first black woman hired as a reporter/ anchor by a major station on the West Coast. I still consider it one of those unexplainable strokes of good fortune. For a black woman to land such a position at that time was like landing a man on the moon. It had seemed impossible until we saw John Glenn walking up there. Minority women wrote and called— convinced now they too had a future in broadcast news. That was the reaction of many talented women like Gail Christian, who worked for CBS for many years. She told me that she

The first years were not easy, but very little worth fighting for is easy. There were insults and incidents too numerous to explore here. The most egregious were threats to my children. It took almost 20 years before I began to exhale. That was when I made it to the top list of the most trusted reporters.

AFTRA’s Push for Equality While the black community’s solid support fed my soul, it was the tools to fight back and actually create change through my union and yours – AFTRA – that empowered and emboldened me. Few people have had as much influence on the structure and foundation of AFTRA’s move to equality for all as Bill Hillman, our former National President. Bill was a booth announcer at KPIXTV in San Francisco, where I was hired in 1966. He spent his days reading “Scientific America” and envisioning a different union from the one of that time. There were very few minorities in leadership in the union, because there were very few minority members. There were very few minority members because there were no jobs for them. Bill shepherded the creation of an Equal Employment Opportunities Committee (EEOC) with presence and power and I was more than willing to help give life to that vision.

as members of the U.S. Congress, asking them to apply pressure as we told our stories of exclusion. Slowly, the picture has changed, making it easy and competitive to select the AFTRA EEOC’s annual American Scene award winners. Our original goal of having what we see on the screen or monitor look like the real America has had many ups and downs.

The Downsizing of Newsrooms and Diversity Today’s reality with cutbacks and shrinking newsrooms is a critical problem. Seasoned journalists know their communities are being retired early, losing one of the most important elements in bridging the gap between communities and broadcasting licenses holders. The seeming loss of interest on the part of the Federal Communications Commission in monitoring employment and encouraging minority hiring has had a dampening effect on prodding owners to do better. However, overall we should all be proud of what has been accomplished over the past three decades. Yes, the industry has made strides in improving the opportunity for employment for most of us. But the disabilities community has waited far too long for conditions to change. At one time, there was hesitation at even adding the protection of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to our list of “protected” groups.

“It was the tools to fight back and actually create change through my union and yours – AFTRA – that empowered and emboldened me.”

Statistics, as they are today, were one of our weapons of war. Sumi Haru of the Los Angeles Local taught us the importance of gathering information about our own members and their struggle to find work. We soon found ourselves meeting with network executives, casting directors and others who did the hiring, and with the Federal Communications Commission’s commissioner, as well

No, stereotypical roles have not gone away and people of color still confront that major problem, so there is so much left to do. But the days when I’d have to yell—first to my mother and then to my husband—“Come look! There is a black person on television!” are long gone. Thank goodness. On a personal basis, the Baptist preacher’s model has worked. I’ve managed to last four decades and still enjoy the program I continue to host on KQED, our local public television station in San Francisco every week. What more can a dreamer ask for?

Winter 2009

Belva Davis

sat in her hotel room looking at the television set and said, “I can do that,” and went on to kill other myths about the limitations of women and minorities.

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First Person:

AMEE Awards Coming to the Big Apple Roberts, Osgood named broadcasting honorees he 2010 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards (The AMEES) are coming to New York City on Feb. 22. This year’s awards ceremony will be held at the historic Plaza Hotel in the heart of Manhattan.


A dinner gala benefit for the AFTRA Foundation, the AMEES honor AFTRA members for their contributions to the fields of entertainment, sound recordings and broadcasting.

Winter 2009

This year’s honorees include ABC’s Robin Roberts, who will receive the 2010 AMEE Award in Broadcasting, and “CBS Morning News” anchor Charles Osgood, who will be honored with the 2010 AMEE Lifetime Achievement Award.

AFTRA Magazine


As the third anchor of ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” Roberts has reported on a diverse range of stories and issues, from anchoring a Robin Roberts Town Hall meeting with presidential candidate and now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to reporting on Hurricane Katrina and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which she has called home most of her life. A 20-year veteran of broadcasting, Roberts started her career while in college at Southeastern Louisiana University, working for WHMD/WFPR Radio in Hammond, La., as the sports director, as well as serving as a special assignment sports reporter for KSLUFM. She received the “Nashville Scene” Sportscaster of the Year award early in her career in 1987. Roberts went on to ESPN with versatile assignments, including “SportsCenter,” “NFL Prime Time” and serving as primary reporter for the sports network’s coverage of the Winter and Summer Olympics from 1997 to 2000.

Roberts started contributing to GMA in 1995, the same year she joined AFTRA, and was named third anchor in 2005. Among her assignments: traveling to the Persian Gulf Region to report from Kuwait on the impending war with Iraq and returning one year later; traveling with former President Bill Clinton to Africa to report a firsthand on at the devastating AIDS crisis; and being the only morning anchor to broadcast live from inside a Navy submarine. In July 2007, Roberts shared with viewers her diagnosis of the early stages of breast cancer and demonstrated her courage and tenacity by returning to the anchor desk just 10 days after surgery. Veteran newsman Charles Osgood is known for his poetic-like reporting prose for CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” as well as his daily broadcasts of “The Osgood File” on the CBS Radio Network. With his distinct voice, Osgood, an AFTRA member since 1954, has been delivering his reports for CBS since 1971. A native New Yorker, Osgood’s career prior to CBS included being program director and manager with WGMS Radio in Washington, D.C., general manager of WHCT-TV in Hartford, Conn., and at ABC News. Osgood was an anchor/reporter for WCBS News Radio 88 from 1967 to 1971 in New York before joining CBS News, going on to be an anchor and reporter for many CBS News programs, including the “CBS Morning News,” the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and “CBS Sunday Night News.” Over the years, Osgood as been honored for his work, earning five coveted Washington Journalism Review

Best in the Business Awards for his “The Osgood File,” as well as a 1997 George Foster Peabody Award for “Sunday Morning” and two additional Peabody Awards for “Newsmark,” a weekly CBS Radio public affairs broadcast. He has also won four Emmy Awards and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, the National Charles Osgood Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the highest accolade, a 1999 International Radio and Television Society Foundation Award for significant achievement. Osgood is also a published author and recently made his big screen debut as the narrator in Fox’s “Horton Hears a Who.” Proceeds from the AMEE Awards go to the AFTRA Foundation, a charitable organization that benefits members and the industry. The Foundation is funded through tax-deductible contributions, grants and bequests to support projects outside the scope of normal AFTRA activities, including charitable events, special conferences, studies, seminars and other endeavors critical to AFTRA members. Among these endeavors is the International News Safety Institute, a global organization solely dedicated to the safety of journalists and other news professionals. Sponsorship opportunity inquiries should be directed to Lou Siegel at 310.398.6662 or laborlou@verizon. net. Tickets can be purchased through Roe Badamo in the New York office at 212.863.4213. Online ticket purchasing will be available in December.

We Remember (Sept. 29, 2009 - Nov. 18, 2009)

Longtime AFTRA member and TV and voiceover pioneer Vivian Farrar-Hernon died Oct. 6. Born in the Bronx, Farrar-Hernon was the country’s first female TV news anchor and weather person for WPIX. She went on to appear on television in soap operas, including “Edge of Night” and “Secret Storm,” as well as popular panel shows such as “To Tell the Truth” and “Girl Talk.”

Winter 2009

An AFTRA member since 1950, FarrarHernon also did extensive voiceover work over her career and voice dubbing for many foreign films, most famously, Fellini’s “8 ½” in 1963.

AFTRA Magazine


Farrar-Hernon was also active in the New York AFTRA Local, serving as a Board member from 1988 to 1991 and was involved in the national women’s committee for both AFTRA and SAG. She was also known for her masterful cooking, was an avid reader active in her book club and loved to travel and garden.

Soupy Sales 1926 - 2009 Slapstick comedian Soupy Sales, best known for his popular children’s show, “Lunch with Soupy Sales,” which often ended in a frequently parodied bit, with the host taking a pie in the face, died Oct. 22 at 83. Born Milton Supman to Hungarian immigrant parents, he changed his stage name, first to Soupy Hines, and then to Soupy Sales

A World War II veteran, Sales served onboard the USS Randall, where he was a well-known jokester. After graduating from Marshall College with a degree in journalism, Sales began his career as a disc jockey, moving to TV in 1950 when he was the host of “Soupy’s Soda Shop,” the first television dance program for teens. “Lunch with Soupy Sales” began as a local show in Detroit and became nationally televised over the ABC network beginning in 1959. The show would go through different incarnations in both Los Angeles and New York, rocketing Sales to national stardom. Sales is survived by his sons, Tony and Hugh, and his wife, Trudy.

Joe Slattery 1922 - 2009 Former AFTRA National President Joe Slattery died Oct. 2 of complications suffered after open heart surgery. The 49-year AFTRA member was known by many as the “Voice of Jewel” for announcing radio and television commercials for the Jewel Food Stores for more than 30 years. A veteran of World War II, Slattery ferried equipment to the Middle East and Africa as a pilot and served in the Air Force Reserves for 22 years. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. His break in radio came while attending Hendrix College in Arkansas as the announcer for the “Ozark Jubilee” television show. Slattery eventually moved to Chicago in 1960 to work as an announcer and news anchor on radio and TV for ABC before becoming a full-

time freelance announcer. He went on to also narrate the Emmy award-winning “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and, along with Jewel, worked for companies from Galena Territory to Meister Brau. In addition to his service on the AFTRA National Board, he also served as the Chicago Local president from 1968 to 1977 and again from 1987 to 1988. He was AFTRA’s National President from 1976 to 1979, and was the first National President who did not come from New York or Los Angeles. He also received AFTRA’s highest honor, the Gold Card, in 1983. Slattery was a dedicated volunteer, reading to the students at the School for the Blind in Winnetka, Ill. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Slattery, and survived by his second wife, Marilyn Florence Daus Slattery, as well as four children, three step-children, six grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Mary Travers 1936 - 2009 A 48-year AFTRA member, Mary Travers, of the venerated 1960’s folkrevival group Peter, Paul and Mary, died on Sept. 16 after a long battle with leukemia. A native of New York’s Greenwich Village, the neighborhood that originated many of the popular folk acts of the 1960s, one of her earliest recordings was in 1955 as a member of The Song Swappers, in which she sang backup for fellow AFTRA member Pete Seeger in the union song collective “Talking Union.” As a member of Peter, Paul and Mary, Travers was awarded five Grammys, and produced six Top 10 hit songs and five platinum albums over the span of her 50-year career.

In Memoriam 2009 “Captain” Lou Albano Frank Aletter Wayne Allwine Mel Alpern Bob Arbogast Armand “Army” Archerd Bea Arthur Carl Ballentine Jimmy Boyd Paul Burke Roderick Anthony Burton II aka Dolla David Carradine John E. Carter Frank Coghlan Jr. Dennis Cole Ward Costello Walter Cronkite Jimmy Crum Merce Cunningham Linda Dangcil

Howard Dayton Blossom Dearie Dom DeLuise Dominick Dunne Farrah Fawcett Ben Fine Danny Gans Larry Gelbart Henry Gibson Steve Gideon Steven Grandelius Joe Greco Kristine Greco Ellie Greenwich Birdie M. Hale Mike Handley Benjamin Hartigan Paul Harvey Pat Hingle Michael Jackson Lou Jacobi

Caro Jones Harry Kalas Ken Kerman Jack Kissell Milton Lewis Karl Malden Joe Maross Ricardo Montalban Al Martino Bob May Dallas “Dal” McKennon Ed McMahon Evangeline Carmichael McPherson Mike Mearian Del Monroe Ken Ober Johnny Palermo Les Paul Kelly Quinn aka Marie Lavon Leger

Wanda Ramey Natasha Richardson Francisco Rivela Kenneth Roberts Albertine Robinson Bob Rosburg Dan Seals Ron Silver Elayne Stein Gale Storm Patrick Swayze Eli Thompson Wayne Tippit Fred Travalena Rod Van Hook Mimi Weddell James Whitmore Edward Woodward Connie Zimet

Winter 2009

1930 - 2009

when it was thought that the name was too similar to the Heinz soup company.

29 AFTRA Magazine

Vivian Farrar-Hernon

AFTRA Locals ATLANTA Melissa Goodman, Exec. Dir. 455 E. Paces Ferry Rd., NE Ste. 334 Atlanta, GA 30305 Phone: 404.239.0131 Fax: 404.239.0137 BOSTON Dona Sommers, Exec. Dir. 20 Park Plaza, Ste. 822 Boston, MA 02116-4399 Phone: 617.262.8001 Fax: 617.262.3006 BUFFALO Broadcast Department: 800.638.6796 National Membership: 866.855.5191

Winter 2009

CHICAGO Eileen Willenborg, Exec. Dir. One East Erie, Ste. 650 Chicago, IL 60611 Phone: 312.573.8081 Fax: 312.573.0318

AFTRA Magazine


CLEVELAND Cathy Nowlin, Exec. Dir. 820 W. Superior Ave., Ste. 240 Cleveland, OH 44113-1800 Phone: 216.781.2255 Fax: 216.781.2257 DALLAS/FORT WORTH T.J. Jones, Texas Reg. Exec. 6060 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 468 Dallas, TX 75206 Phone: 214.363.8300 Fax: 214.363.5386 DENVER Julie Crane, Exec. Dir. 1400 16th St., Ste. 400 Denver, CO 80202 Phone: 720.932.8228 Fax: 720.932.8194 DETROIT Lorain Obomanu Exec. Dir./Nat’l Rep. 23800 W. Ten Mile Rd., Ste. 228 Southfield, MI 48033 Phone: 248.228.3171 Fax: 248.223.9223 FRESNO Contact San Francisco Local: 415.391.7510 HAWAII Contact Los Angeles Local: 323.634.8100 Members only call toll-free: 866.634.8100

HOUSTON Contact Texas Regional office 214.363.8300 Members only call toll-free: 800.922.3872

LOCAL LEADER: Julie Wright, WashingtonBaltimore

KANSAS CITY John Miller, Exec. Dir. 4000 Baltimore, 2nd Fl. Kansas City, MO 64111 Phone: 816.753.4557 Fax: 816.753.1234 LOS ANGELES Bill Thomas, Exec. Dir. 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 9th Fl. Los Angeles, CA 90036-3689 Phone: 323.634.8100 Fax: 323.634.8246 MIAMI Herta Suarez, Exec. Dir./ Southeast Reg. Dir. 3050 Biscayne Rd., Ste. 501 Miami, FL 33137 Phone: 305.571.9891 Fax: 305.571.9892 Members outside Miami area Phone: 800.330.2387 MILWAUKEE Contact Chicago Local: 312.573.8081 NASHVILE Randall Himes, Exec. Dir. P.O. Box 121087 1108 17th Ave. South Nashville, TN 37212 Phone: 615.327.2944 Fax: 615.329.2803 NEW ORLEANS Contact Miami Local: 800.330.2387 NEW YORK Stephen Burrow, Exec. Dir. 260 Madison Ave., 7th Fl. New York, NY 10016-2401 Phone: 212.532.0800 Fax: 212.545.1238 OMAHA Erik Whitmore, President 3000 Farnam St., Ste. 3E Omaha, NE 68131 Phone: 402.346.8384 ORLANDO Contact Miami Local: 800.330.2387 PEORIA Contact National: 866.855.5191

Fox 5’s effervescent Washington, D.C. traffic reporter, Julie Wright, is the new President of AFTRA WashingtonBaltimore Local. Wright credits many fellow AFTRA activists for encouraging her to step into a leadership role, including Tom Powers, who served as the Local’s general counsel for more than 30 years. “Someone once said to me, ‘No one is going to fight harder for you than you and the time to fight is now!’ It was at that moment I knew I had to be part of this union,” she said. “As President of the D.C./ Baltimore Local, I’m an extension of our members. I’m a voice to express their needs and concerns and to hopefully help achieve our goals.”

PHILADELPHIA Stephen Leshinski, Exec. Dir. 230 South Broad St., Ste. 500 Philadelphia, PA 19102-1229 Phone: 215.732.0507 Fax: 215.732.0086 PHOENIX Roxanne Chaisson, Exec. Dir. 20325 N. 51st Ave., Ste. 134 Glendale, AZ 85308 Phone: 623.687.9977 Fax: 623.362.2218 PITTSBURGH John Haer, Exec. Dir. 625 Stanwix St., Ste. 2007 Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Phone: 412.281.6767 Fax: 412.281.2444 PORTLAND Wesley Jones, Nat’l Rep. 1001 SE Water Ave., #305 Portland, OR 97214 Phone: 503.279.9600 Fax: 503.279.9603 ROCHESTER Contact National: 866.855.5191 SACRAMENTO/STOCKTON Contact San Francisco Local: 415.391.7510 Members only call toll-free: 888.238.7250 SAN DIEGO Contact Los Angeles Local: 866.634.8100 SAN FRANCISCO Frank Du Charme, Exec. Dir. 350 Sansome St., Ste. 900 San Francisco, CA 94104 Phone: 415.391.7510 Fax: 415.391.1108

SCHENECTADY/ALBANY Contact New York Local: 212.532.0800 SEATTLE 123 Boylston Avenue East Suite A Seattle, WA 98102 Phone: 206.282.2506 Fax: 206.282.7073 ST. LOUIS John Miller, Exec. Dir. 1310 Papin, Ste. #103 St. Louis, MO 63103 Phone: 314.231.8410 Fax: 314.231.8412 TRI-STATE Includes Cincinnati, Columbus & Dayton, OH; Indianapolis, IN, and Louisville, KY John Haer, Exec. Dir. Tim Williams, Nat’l Rep. 1056 Delta Ave., #4 Cincinnati, OH 45208 Phone: 513.579.8668 Fax: 513.579.1617 TWIN CITIES Colleen Aho, Exec. Dir. 2610 University Ave. W. Ste. 350 St. Paul, MN 55114 Phone: 651.789.8990 Fax: 651.789.8993 WASHINGTON/BALTIMORE Patricia O’Donnell, Exec. Dir. 7735 Old Georgetown Rd. Ste. 950 Bethesda, MD 20814 Phone: 301.657.2560

YEAR IN REVIEW A look back at 2009

DIVERSITY Moving Forward

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

BELVA DAVIS In her own words

Winter 2009

AFTRA Magazine, Fall 09  

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

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