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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Executive Director Report


National Board Report


Broadcast Notes


Day In the LifeFrni Beyer KCBS Editor


Legislative Corner


Contract Corner


Committee Reports


H&R Update


Of Note


Photo Gallery


In Memoriam


Season Greetings



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Co-Presidents’ Report Maria Leticia Gomez and Kathryn Howell

SAG-AFTRA SAN FRANCISCO 350 SANSOME, STE 900 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104 P:(415) 391-7510 FX:(415)391-1108 Facebook EDITOR: KAREN H. LIPNEY

Looking back on 2012, it would be an understatement to say it’s been a year of change. Most notably, after years of trying, AFTRA and SAG merged to become an entirely new labor organization: SAG-AFTRA, the largest performers union in the world. It took a lot of hard work and patience to bring the two organizations together. Post-merger, a lot of hard work and patience is still required. Your Local Board has spent a lot of time after merger analyzing changes, looking for opportunities for the membership (both in organizing and outreach) and preparing for the future. We've changed the name of our local to the San Francisco-Northern California Local to reflect the majority of the areas we service. Internal logistical changes, including integrating the legacy AFTRA Board and legacy SAG Council, changing stationery and organizational email addresses are being implemented.

On a national level, we are continuing to work on the design of a logo and website for the new union. 2012 has also seen an upsurge in violence targeting news crews. The San Francisco Local staff has responded quickly, reaching out to Bay Area broadcast employers to implement safety measures designed to protect those who gather and report news so they can continue to do their jobs and keep the public informed. Looking forward to 2013, we see the momentum gathering for outreach, organizing, communications, and a change in the Board which will occur as the first post-merger elections get underway. We also see commercials contracts negotiations which will result in the firstever major SAG-AFTRA contract. Here’s looking at you 2012. Bring it on 2013!



Report of Executive Director - Len Egert This year marked the birth of a new union called SAG-AFTRA. The merger process, from campaign to passage, was an incredibly intense time for our newly named San Francisco-Northern California Local. However, the real work of integrating the former unions began in April 2012, after the affirmative merger vote, creating unique challenges and opportunities for our local, which continues as we near the end of 2012. The implementation of a successful merger involves the application of policies and procedures in many areas, including governance, membership, contract administration, finance, information technology, human resources and staffing. Perhaps more importantly, as the new organization takes shape, we are forming a new culture. It is the perfect time to assess how we operate and to set goals and priorities for the future. Moving forward as one union, your staff is committed to working with our elected leadership and members to achieve the following: 1. Providing Excellent Member Services a. Prompt responses to inquiries; b. Conveying accurate information and advice; and c. Efficient processing of claims, clearances, etc. 2. Providing Quality Representation a. Negotiating beneficial contract terms; b. Timely completion of contract negotiations; and c. Diligently enforcing contract terms; 3. Increasing Outreach, Organizing and Member Participation a. Meaningful organizing in performing and broadcast areas; b. Regular and relevant member communications; and c. Developing participatory member groups around important issues. We welcome your input and participation as we forge a stronger, united and more effective new union together.

National Board Report -

Denny Delk

What a year! It feels a little like being in the middle of a Marx Brothers film, with all the chasing and dodging and ducking, but you know it will all come out right in the end. How do you know? Well, it’s a mystery (thanks Geoffrey Rush). We started the year with the handoff to a new executive director. Len took the reins and Frank is riding shotgun to help out. We did that merger thing, which we’re still hammering out. We want to make sure that when all is said and done the thing will hold an edge. We have all of our proposals in for the pending commercials contracts negotiations with the help of a bunch of good folks who work that contract. We’ve managed to nail down a few broadcast contracts along the way, as always, aided by the members in the shops. We’re upgrading the media room and continuing workshops on the use of Pro Tools. Video editing workshops are on the horizon, and your elected representatives are making sure San Francisco and Northern California voices are heard in the national board room. Despite fiscal cliffs, tax increases, economic slowdowns, political turmoil, pending local oyster shortages and persecution of the nekkid guys whose only crime is visibly demonstrating how cold it is in San Francisco, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays, no matter which winter solstice celebration you observe. We’ll be back in the new year with Act II. Meanwhile, refreshments are available at the snack bar. HO, HO, HO.



BROADCAST NOTES Bob Butler and BECA If you are really lucky, you may find yourself sitting in a classroom watching Bob Butler guest lecture to a packed room of broadcast journalism students. You could be at any institution of higher learning in the U.S., or you could be at San Francisco State in BECA 460, a broadcast journalism class taught by Professor Grace Provenzano in the Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. There are no eyes closed or heads nodding off when Bob speaks to students. That may be because Bob "speaks" he does not "lecture." However, he is clear and forthright about the "dos and don’ts" of networking and job hunting, whether a student is seeking an internship or a first job in the newsroom. If students have their sights set on a “glamorous” TV on-camera job, Bob explains that those are the hardest and fewest jobs available. Why not consider producing or other off-camera positions in the newsrooms, which are just as important and maybe more valuable to a station? Bob is also very clear about SAG-AFTRA and what it means to him in terms of wages and working conditions. He tells the class that most of them will start out in non-union jobs in small

markets and when they get to their first SAG-AFTRA shop, it will make all the difference. If there is one required skill that recurs throughout Bob’s presentation, it is WRITING; whatever skills you have, make sure that writing is among them. Photo below: After class, Bob patiently spends time with students who gather around to ask questions. As each student gets a turn, Bob asks ”What do you want to do?” and “What’s your plan to get there?” Bob encourages each student to think through the plan and articulate it right then and there, in response to which he provides honest and thoughtful feedback. Bob does not coddle students because he knows it’s a tough business, but then again, he’s not intimidating or overpowering; he’s real.

San Francisco-Northern California Local Broadcast Department Update 2012 was a year for change at the SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local. The Broadcast Department saw merger as a chance to reflect on how members adapt to the shifting news and radio industries. Over the past several months, the Broadcast staff has reviewed past practices, models from other locals and internal resources. The result is a restructured Broadcast Department that has added staff to better manage the more than 20 collective bargaining agreements in Northern California. An additional broadcast business representative position is to be filled. In November, the national Organizing Department presented a workshop on internal organizing for broadcast shops. Together with the newly formed Local Broadcast

Steering Committee, these are all efforts to encourage and develop an engaged, proactive membership in the broadcast shops. The industry has gone through rapid transformations in the past decade and broadcast members in Northern California and elsewhere are facing an opportunity to get ahead of those changes by working collectively. Member involvement is key to future success. If you want to know more about how you can contribute at your station, please contact Lauren Renaud ( or Barry Schimmel ( or call the union office at (415) 391-7510.



BROADCAST NOTES SAFETY FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA NEWS CREWS Shortly after concluding a live report on the passage of Proposition 30 outside Oakland Technical High School, KPIX-TV reporter Anne Makovec’s cameraman, Greg Welk, was beaten and robbed of his camera. Several men rushed Welk, struck him, grabbed his camera and then fled by car. Welk was treated at the hospital and later released. Makovec was not injured in the attack. As frightening as this is, it is not an isolated incident. In fact, this is just the most recent event in a growing list of assaults and thefts targeting Bay Area news crews over the last 18 months. After the attack on Welk, the SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local quickly responded in a communication sent to all major Bay Area news stations. Executive Director Len Egert requested “that all news operations increase security measures when dispatching crews for news coverage in Oakland. Specifically, we are requesting that each station provide professional security personnel to accompany news crews in Oakland to provide the highest level of protection.” Two news stations agreed to assign security to accompany crews covering stories in Oakland. SAG-AFTRA representatives continue to meet with station management to assist in identifying appropriate methods to address the risks and ensure the highest level of personal safety for members. Additionally, we are in communication with members to reinforce awareness of contractual language that provides for the exercise of good judgment and of the right to decline assignments or remove themselves from a situation where they may be subject to physical harm or danger. While contract provisions differ from one employer to another, a typical provision, such as the one below, protects reporters when dealing with dangerous situations: Safety - Right to Decline Hazardous Assignments: Newspersons/Reporters will not be required to work when, in the opinion of the Newsperson/Reporter, such work will subject him/her to unusual physical danger, it being understood that the privilege of declining work for such a reason shall not be unreasonably exercised, and no Newsperson/Reporter will be disciplined for reasonably exercising such right. At the request of either party, the Union and the Employer agree to meet to discuss health and safety issues related to bargaining unit employees. SAG-AFTRA is urging stations to consider the implementation, among others of the following security measures: Hiring additional security personnel to accompany news crews; Situational awareness training for reporters and crew; Temporary suspension of the assignment of single-person Multi-Media Journalists (MMJs); and Coordination with local law enforcement regarding identification of alternative coverage locations. We encourage all members to review their respective contracts for hazardous language provisions. If members have questions, or concerns, contact the shop steward, or call the SAG-AFTRA business representative at the San Francisco-Northern California Local at (415) 391-7510. Together we are working toward ensuring safe working conditions for news reporters and crews.

Editor’s Note: Written by Barry Schimmel, a broadcast business representative in the SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local.




Management Contracts for Broadcasters: Read Between the Lines SAG-AFTRA National Agency Department ADVISORY Clearly, the news and broadcast business is changing at an alarming pace. One of the biggest areas of change is the growing interest among broadcast members, particularly broadcast journalists, in “Artists Management,” and the way that differs from the representation of a “Talent Agency.” Although both agents and managers function similarly at times, a simple distinction between an agent and manager can be made by observing that agents negotiate and service employment contracts, while managers are supposed to engage in career direction (i.e., advising clients on the presentation of artistic talents, introducing clients to agents and casting directors etc.) and management of an artist’s career and business. In some states, persons who secure employment must be licensed as talent agents by the city or state in which they are doing business. There are some exceptions for attorneys, and certain fields of work are granted exemptions under various state laws (sound recordings in California, for example). The decision by a broadcast member to use the services of a manager depends on individual needs and preferences. In choosing to employ a manager, please keep the following in mind: Unlike talent agents, SAG-AFTRA does not franchise managers. Therefore, SAG-AFTRA cannot regulate the fees they charge. Although your local SAG-AFTRA office may be able to answer general questions, SAG-AFTRA cannot arbitrate or resolve disputes involving managers. Be certain that an arbitration clause is contained in your agreement. A long and costly legal battle may leave you financially and emotionally drained. The nature of the manager’s relationship with his/her client should be that of a fiduciary - in other words, an implied trust. Be careful of any clause in a contract or action by a manager which indicates otherwise. Understand the terms of the management contract. It is recommended that the first time you sign with a manager it should be for a relatively brief term (one to two years), as the parties may not be sure if the relationship will be mutually beneficial. Be aware of termination clauses and automatic extensions of the contract. Keep the expiration date of your management contract in mind when entering into employment contracts. Managers may charge anywhere from 10% to 25%, and management contracts often state that all extensions, renewals or renegotiations of employment contracts are commissionable, even after the expiration of the management contract. Should you decide to terminate your contract, or let it expire, you may be faced with a manager who demands commission be paid for as long as you are working for the same employer. The management contract may also contain a clause which states that if you are terminated by your own fault, the manager can collect commission on what you would have been paid had the termination not taken place. No one should receive a fee unless you receive compensation. Carefully read and discuss such clauses with both your manager and attorney. Most management contracts state that all work obtained, directly or indirectly, while you are under the management contract is commissionable. What this means is that whether or not your manager did any work, he or she will get a fee. Be careful to ensure that reasonable services are performed in exchange for compensation, and that these services are specifically addressed in the contract. The services should be performed as long as the manager receives commission. Finally, do your homework! Be sure to investigate the reputation of the manager, talk with other colleagues in the broadcast industry and check out references. A good manager should understand your concerns. NOTE: SAG-AFTRA members interested in receiving information on talent agents that are franchised by AFTRA or SAG should contact their local SAG-AFTRA office. Call San Francisco at (415) 391-7510 or contact the National SAG-AFTRA Agency Departments at (212) 863-4305 (in New York) or 323-549-6729 (in Los Angeles) or by email to Good luck!



BROADCAST NOTES A Day In the Life of Frni Beyer (KCBS News Editor) A Conversation with Frni Beyer, Morning news Editor at KCBS All News 740 AM and 106.9 FM in San Francisco

By Jeffrey Schaub Jeffrey Schaub recently spoke with Frni Beyer about his life and career. Frni Beyer is arguably the most influential morning news editor in Bay Area broadcasting. KCBS reaches 1 million listeners each week, more than most local television newscasts combined. Each weekday morning, Frni rises at 2 a.m., often driving to work with KCBS producer Ted Goldberg, to get to the station in time to oversee the station’s morning drive newscasts. JS: How far back in life did you realize you wanted to be in broadcasting? FB: As far back as I can remember. Definitely in high school, where I was the photographer on my high school newspaper. Not a very good photographer. Actually, I can remember as far back as junior high that broadcasting was an interest and an inspiration. JS: Frni grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii but later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. FB: So I went to San Francisco State University for four and a half years. I majored in broadcasting there - took classes in the journalism department. My last year there I was listening to KCBS religiously in the mornings. I’d get up because I was in a news class and I wanted to hear what was going on beforehand. JS: How did you end up working at KCBS? FB: A friend of mine who had graduated ahead of me and was working at the station as a production assistant told me she was leaving and asked if I was interested. I was like, “I’ll do anything, it’s KCBS!” So I jumped at the opportunity. JS: What was your first job at KCBS? FB: It was 1986. I was a production assistant and phone screener for the KCBS program “Call For Action” (a consumer call-in program) and Narsai David’s cooking show. But my other job was to pull the commercial carts out of the rack and stack them for each hour and bring them to the studio. It was very low tech. Cont’d. on page 7



Cont’d. from page 6

JS: How did you work your way up to your current position? FB: Perseverance. I have Ed [Cavagnaro] to thank for that (KCBS News and Program Director). A buddy and I decided we were going to take the summer off and drive across the country. So I went to Ed and said I was going to do this trip and that I would like to be able to come back and work here. And he said I’d still have my job when I came back. JS: What do you do in your position? FB: I come in at 3 a.m. with Ted (Goldberg) and we decide what the stories are, what our morning reporters will cover, and how we are going to cover them. There’s a lot of coordinating the different elements and making sure they fit together. I work with anchors Stan Bunger and Susan Leigh Taylor to make sure they have what they need in the studio. It’s a lot of keeping the balls up in the air and making sure everything fits together. There is writing involved, a little bit of everything, but my main job is to “stack” the news hours from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., deciding what the main story is going to be and what comes after that. JS: It seems like you have a critical job. FB: I like to think so. When I was first working here, an editor referred to KCBS as the assignment desk for the Bay Area because everyone listens to the station, including all the other media outlets, including TV and the newspapers. JS: KCBS is a very respected radio station, one of the best in the country. With the decline in the amount and overall quality of news and increased sensationalism, what is it that keeps KCBS so professional and full of integrity? FB: I think it has to be the people here. The staff is very stable. Most people have been here a very long time. And the culture here is “you do it right.” You want to get it first but you want to make sure you get it right always. JS: What’s the most challenging part of your job? FB: Let me think about that ... getting up at 2 a.m.? (laughter) JS: Is it a stressful job? FB: It can be. JS: What’s the most fun part of your job?

Cont’d. on page 8




BROADCAST NOTES Cont’d. from page 7

FB: I think the most fun part is getting on a breaking story and riding that wave. And being able to get that story on the air immediately before anybody else. JS: Is there any story that sticks out as being the most significant for you? FB: 9/11. I remember that vividly. We got these alerts from the network (CBS) and would start to hear stuff and then it completely changed once we realized it was a terrorist attack. We were watching the pictures and it was like, “Oh my gosh, what is happening?” We all went home shell shocked. Everybody I knew - it affected all of us. JS: Beyer says he loves his job and can’t imagine ever leaving. FB: I did leave for those three months that summer, but I came back. Almost everyone here who has left the station returns at some point. It’s like it gets in your blood. Jeffrey Schaub is a reporter at KCBS. Both he and Frni Beyer are members of SAG-AFTRA.


SAG-AFTRA Recording Artists & Background Vocalists Need Your Help: Tell Congress to Say “NO” to Pandora You may have heard from Pandora radio, asking you to contact Congress to support a bill that Pandora says would create “parity” in how much they would have to pay recording artists and background vocalists for the use of their music. Despite Pandora's claims, this bill is not about fairness or parity, but instead would slash payments to SAG-AFTRA performers by starting a race to the bottom when it comes to recording artists' and background singers’ royalties. Visit the SAG-AFTRA national website for complete information or click here to contact Congress today and tell them to say NO to gutting pay for performers.


CONTRACT CORNER LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS Ad agencies, producers and casting directors often ask members to "donate" their services for Public Service Announcements (PSAs) (i.e., work for free) and many members are under the mistaken impression that agreeing to work on a PSA means agreeing to work for free. Did you know that a PSA is a type of commercial, and that the SAG-AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts require the producer to pay performers a session fee for their services in a PSA? The only difference between a regular commercial advertising a product, and a PSA advertising a nonprofit organization is that the contracts allow the producer of a bona fide PSA to request a waiver from the union of residuals for one year of use, subject to the performer's consent - the session fee is not waived. Not every “nonprofit” however, qualifies as a “nonprofit public service organization.” The union must first review and approve that the PSA entity actually qualifies as a governmental agency, nonprofit public service organization, charity or museum. Additionally, a spot won’t qualify as a PSA unless the media time is donated. If the PSA is aired on paid time, all fees then become due. “Donating your time” and working without the benefit of a union contract does not mean the same thing, although producers may not understand that concept. Some of you may MANY MEMBERS ARE UNDER be thrilled to donate your skills to a worthy cause. That's a good and honor- THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION able sentiment, but let's look at the scenario when there is no contract to THAT AGREEING TO WORK ON protect you. Suppose you are asked to appear in a PSA and donate your A PSA MEANS AGREEING TO WORK FOR FREE time, but you feel you really can't afford to, or don't want to do the work without compensation? Does that mean the producer or advertising agency won't call you for work the next time when there is money to be made? Or, suppose you are lucky enough to work for a producer frequently, will he or she stop calling you if you say “no” to working on their favorite PSA project? Without the contract to protect you, you may feel pressured to do the PSA because it might have a bearing on your next job. Without the contract to protect you, a well-intentioned agreement to donate a few hours of your time could turn into a 16-hour nightmare: no protections, no overtime, no contract! By requiring the producer to pay you and adhere to the contract, it eliminates the pressure (and the potential abuse), and you remain free to donate to the charity of your choice. If you are booked for a PSA, make sure you check with Business Representative Barbara Massey at the SAGAFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local (415) 391-7510 and confirm that a PSA waiver (waiver of residual payments only) has been sought by the signatory producer. We will work to ensure the job is signed to a union contract before the session takes place. Editor’s Note: The above article originally appeared in the SAG-AFTRA Boston Local newsletter. Many thanks to the Boston Local for permission to reprint. Some changes were made to update the information.




COMMITTEE REPORTS Happy Holidays from the Conservatory Committee - Phillip Ramirez The SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local Conservatory is in full swing these days. It offered up a full array of workshops in 2012, and it continues to bring quality workshops to the membership – sponsoring at least one event each month. The coming year, 2013, promises to bring more, bigger and better workshops. The committee meets the first Monday of each month in the SAG-AFTRA San FranciscoNorthern California Local. Anyone with an idea for a workshop is welcome to attend the committee meetings. Committee Members include: Chair Phil Ramirez, Lucretia Russo, Ann Fields, Robert Curé, Alexandra Rieloff, Clara Brighton, Erika Perez, Julie Ow, Kevin Walton, Shirley Smallwood, Steven Pawley, and R. Michael David.

BookPALS: December at the Book Nook - Lynne Maes Have you recently stopped to think about how children and families impacted by homelessness get through the holiday season? For many of us, homelessness is simply unimaginable. For San Francisco BookPALS, though, visits to homeless shelters are a fixture in our monthly schedule. Thanks to superstars BookPALS Loretta Jones and Malcolm Grissom, who work hard to coordinate schedules and readers, BookPALS makes at least one, sometimes two, reading visits to centers in any given week. BookPALS visits are just a small piece of the broad and much-needed array of services Hamilton Family Centers provide. And there is one aspect of this partnership we have grown to love: the BookPALS annual “Wrap Party.” On December 14, San Francisco BookPALS volunteers came together in the Bill Hillman Conference Room of the SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local to sort, label, and wrap more than 100 brand new books for the children and teens who will spend their holidays at Hamilton’s various locations. See the photo directly above. Our hope is that the positive associations with books and

the rich language and literature experiences we foster through regular visits will continue, and that each child will treasure those books and the time we spend with each of them as much as we do. Are you interested in becoming a BookPALS volunteer? To find out more about BookPALS, visit For more information about the wonderful work of Hamilton Family Centers, visit BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a national program administered by the nonprofit Screen Actors Guild Foundation. BookPALS help children learn to LOVE books by bringing the talents of performer volunteers into classrooms, hospitals, shelters and other venues. Lynne Maes is the San Francisco BookPALS program coordinator, an educator, early literacy specialist and performer who has worked for more than 14 years with children of all ages. Maes has supported teachers around the Bay Area to enhance their early learning curriculum with movement, song and games, and is passionate about the transformative impact of read-aloud storytelling. As the San Francisco BookPALS Program Coordinator, with her expertise in literature and child development, Maes supports the many talented actors who bring the joy of stories to children.



H&R UPDATES H&R Updates 5-Year Limit for Covered Earnings Inquiries – Effective January 1, 2014 Effective January 1, 2014, AFTRA H&R will limit the time period during which an individual can request a Covered Earnings Inquiry. Individuals will have a maximum period of five years from the end of the calendar year in which earnings were, or should have been, credited to request a covered earnings inquiry and submit documentation to AFTRA H&R for consideration. For full details, see the AFTRA H&R June 2011 Benefits Update and/or contact the AFTRA H&R Funds at (800) 562-4690.

Health Plan Premiums Increase Effective January 1, 2013 Health Plan Premiums Increase Effective January 1, 2013. The Health Plan’s annual 5% premium increase will become effective for the first quarter of 2013 (premium due date December 21, 2012). The new 2013 Health Plan premiums are listed below. For more details including information for active coverage with buy-up premiums, see the September 2012 AFTRA H&R Benefits Update posted on the News and Updates page of the H&R website. Type of Coverage

Current Quarterly Premium

New Quarterly Premium – 1/1/13









Retiree only (Senior Program)



Retiree and legal spouse or domestic partner only (Senior Program) Retiree and child(ren) only (Senior Program) Retiree full family (Senior Program)







Participant only (active coverage) Participant and legal spouse or domestic partner only (active coverage) Participant and child(ren) only (active coverage) Full family (active coverage)


The Participant must qualify for family level coverage to receive coverage that includes any dependents at the premium levels indicated above.

The SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local will be closed in observance of the following holidays: Winter Holiday

Dec. 24 & 25, 2012

New Year’s Eve and Day

Dec. 31, 2012 & Jan. 1, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan. 21, 2013

Presidents’ Day

Feb. 18, 2013





SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE to members in good-standing: John L. Dales Scholarship Fund - SAG Foundation Program George Heller Memorial Scholarship Fund - AFTRA Foundation Program Union Plus Scholarships - AFL-CIO

Brian Flores (KTVU) and Lina Flores have a new son, Luke Brian Flores, born November 16 , weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces. 2012 Retirements: Congratulations to Belva Davis, Don Sanchez and Rita Williams for their many years of award winning work, service to the public, and dedication to AFTRA members in their various roles as shop stewards, board members, national board members, etc. Although these fine broadcast journalists are hanging up their microphones, we hope we will still see and/or hear them about town. Anchor…Artist, Artist…Anchor, Any way you put it, Dana King is a talent to be reckoned with. After 20+ years with KPIX-TV, she is now pursuing her artistic career (page 2 of Winter 2010 Newsletter) full time. A big SHOUT OUT to longtime member Bob Saenz, who wrote Help for the Holidays, a Hallmark original movie starring Summer Glau. Help has been touted as the highest rated Hallmark original production for 2012 and the seventh highest rated Hallmark original movie in the adult category. Congratulations to all the 2012 San Francisco/Northern California Chapter NATAS Silver Circle Inductees, including Faith Sidlow, Joe Fonzi and Cheryl Hurd. Ms. Belva Davis officiated at this year’s luncheon. See Photo Gallery on page 13. The San Francisco-Northern California Local held its annual Donuts with the DGA workshop on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Panelists included: Debbie Brubaker, Ned Kopp, John Slosser and Lope Yap, Jr. Topics addressed included set etiquette, contract adjustments, who does what on a set, best practices and tips. See Photo Gallery on page 13. Milt Commons celebrated 60 years of membership in Actors’ Equity with the Actors’ Equity Bay Area Advisory Committee. See Photo Gallery on page 13.

Staff Notes: A bite at the Big Apple. Theatrical Business Rep. Joel Reamer is relocating to New York, having accepted a similar position in the SAG-AFTRA New York Local office. Joel has been a fixture at the San Francisco Local since 2008, when he joined our staff following his two year stint as an Actor’s Equity rep. in San Francisco. Joel was originally brought to our attention as the fun loving, but dedicated Equity rep., when Equity rented space from the former joint AFTRA/SAG office. Joel started out handling the commercials contracts, and later the theatrical and interactive agreements. We will miss Joel’s sense of humor and enthusiasm. But more than that, we will miss his wife Ginny’s baking skills. We all wish Joel the best of luck in his new position and new home.

San Francisco Photo Gallery



NATAS Silver Circle Awards - 2012

Left, Belva Davis, Master of Ceremonies

Faith Sidlow

Joe Fonzi

Cheryl Hurd

Donuts with the DGA


L to R: Lope Yap, Jr. and John Slosser

DGA Mixer

L to R: Karen Lipney, Kathryn Howell (local board copresident), Erin-Kate Whitcomb and Kathy Goodin (local board members)


Milt Commons - 60 Years with Actors’ Equity

L to R: Stephen Pawley, Terresa Byrne, Megan Kilian-Uttam, Milt Commons, Jessica Powell, Lauren Bloom, Marie Shell, and Kelly Ground.


San Francisco Photo Gallery


Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the 2012 World Series

AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union The premier source for financial services and support among entertainment industry professionals. Since 1962, ASFCU has stood side-by-side with hard working performers like you as a provider of superior benefits, from auto and home loans, to custom savings plans, Coogan accounts, Young Performer and Teen Access accounts, investments, retirement and estate planning.

You’re in Good Company The perks of AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union membership are reserved for a very select group; professionals in the business of entertaining. Perhaps the biggest advantage we offer is that membership gives you an ownership interest in the Credit Union. Unlike traditional “for profit” banking institutions, profits earned at ASFCU are returned to you in the form of better rates, better products, better benefits and better service.



In Memoriam Lucille Bliss, one of the most talented voice actors of all time passed away in November of natural causes, at the age of 96. She came to San Francisco with her mother (a concert pianist) in 1928, after her father died. Bliss’ mother wanted her to be a singer, Bliss wanted to act – and she did, all over the San Francisco radio dial. Bliss was the original voice of Crusader Rabbit in the series of the same name the first animated series produced specially for television. Two of her colleagues in that endeavor were Vern Louden (1916 -1998) and Russ Coughlin (1919-1990). Bliss moved seamlessly from radio to TV to movies. She was the voice of Anastasia, one of the mean stepsisters in Cinderella (1950). And for years, Bliss was the voice of Smurfette on the long-running cartoon, The Smurfs. Peter Cleaveland spoke these words in honor of Lucille at the most recent Broadcast Legends holiday luncheon. Photo caption above: Lucille holding the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award presented to her at the 21 st Young Artists Awards Ceremony in March 2000, for her role as the voice of Anastasia in Disney’s movie Cinderella (1950)

Editor’s Note - In memory of Lucille: I had the great fortune to start working at the San Francisco Local when Lucille was teaching voice-over classes, and she was more energetic than anyone I knew! I don’t exactly recall what brought us together - it may have been that I asked her to speak to a group of high school students as part of an outreach program and she agreed. You just couldn’t help but love Lucille. She was nutty, extremely intelligent, talkative, worried, had a great voice, a great laugh, her very own look and was extremely talented. If I asked a question about her history or her career, she gave me the whole story, from A to Z. I’m only sorry I didn’t write it all down or record it. She told me stories about her mom, about her trip to the set to audition for Cinderella, etc. And each story had its own individual voice accompaniement. I also had the pleasure of meeting Rhoda Williams (1930-2006), who was the voice of Drizilla, the other mean stepsister in the movie. Because of my early involvement with the Broadcast Legends, I sometimes drove Lucille to the programs and watched her interact with guests. I listened with rapt attention to her stories if she was part of the program. My personal favorite Lucille story took place in approximately 1997 or 1998, and didn’t involve any show biz at all. My daughter was about 3 years old and Lucille wanted to meet her, so we set a lunch date. Lucille didn’t have children and I wasn’t sure she would have the patience to put up with mine, and I’d already decided ahead of time that I wouldn’t let my child loose in Lucille’s apartment – she would have wanted to touch everything. I picked Lucille up and we went to a restaurant close to her home. During the meal, Lucille good naturedly proceeded to do a multitude of voices with the idea of entertaining my daughter. I enjoyed every minute of it, but my daughter never cracked a smile. I tried to put myself in my child’s place – I am 3 or 4, a woman who I have not met before, who has wild hair is saying things I don’t understand in a variety of tones and octaves and is expecting a response from me, but I don’t know what to think. Lucille was a bit taken aback because she said most children responded positively to her voices and impressions. I apologized and made the excuse that maybe my daughter was too young to appreciate all of Lucille’s talent. But as far as I was concerned, I told Lucille she could keep going forever. Her voice is now stilled, but the memories remain strongly intact and bring a smile to my heart. For more information on Bliss’ life and achievements see, NY Times , Wikipedia, 21st Young Artists Awards.

Karen Lipney and Lucille at a Broadcast Legends program in 2002



In Memoriam Memories of Ben Williams 1927 – 2012 By Barbara Rodgers For nearly 10 years, I had the good fortune to sit near and get to know Ben Williams in the newsroom of KPIX-TV (CBS 5) in San Francisco. I came to CBS 5 from a station in upstate New York in the fall of 1979. At the time that I was hired, I was the only African American female reporter on the air at the station, which made me feel somewhat alone in the beginning. I was very happy when I met Ben because he quickly became a wonderful mentor, teacher and friend to me, helping me to navigate my way in a new job and a new city. Ben was the first black television news reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area. He had been hired by KPIX in 1965 after successful years of reporting at 3 other news outlets: the Bay Area Daily Record and the San Francisco Sun-Reporter, both black daily newspapers, and the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner where he was that newspaper’s first black reporter. Ben and I would sometimes talk about the difficulty of being “the first” at anything because of the pressure that it puts on a person. “Firsts” are keenly aware of the fact that they are always being watched and evaluated to determine whether others like them can be hired. It is, as Ben and I both knew, an often-uncomfortable position to be in. But Ben more than met the challenges of being a “first.” His exceptional reporting and admirable work ethic paved the way for so many others who came after him, including Belva Davis who was hired by KPIX about a year after Ben. The two of them were making history while at the same time they were covering many of the historic events of the Civil Rights Era and the 60s. Ben appeared on the daily newscasts of KPIX for more than 25 years, winning an EMMY Award and honors from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, the San Francisco Press Club, and dozens of community organizations. He covered events that included the Robert Kennedy assassination, the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, and the Patty Hearst kidnapping. He was the station's East Bay Bureau Chief for 9 years. When I asked him what had been some of his most memorable assignments, he often mentioned the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford in 1975 because he was able to interview the would-be assassin, Sarah Jane Moore, in prison and he continued to receive letters from her periodically throughout the 80s. Ben also taught journalism for eleven years at San Francisco State University while working at KPIX. Ben Williams grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and studied journalism at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. After graduating, he moved to California and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. After he retired from KPIX, Ben and his wife, Vivian, traveled the world, visiting Africa, China and the Caribbean. He had recently served on the Board of Directors for "The Next Step Learning Center," an adult literacy program based in West Oakland. Ben loved his volunteer work there and became quite close to some of the adult students who he taught to read. Ben passed away of cardiac arrest on Monday, December 17, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Vivian, of Oakland, his son, Ben Williams, Jr., daughter-in-law, Michelle, and 2 grandchildren, Olivia and Aleah. Two sons, Gregory Williams and Alan Williams, predeceased him. I will always remember Ben as a journalist who was dedicated to his craft, one who cared about the community, who had a wonderful sense of humor and who was a first-class gentleman. He will be missed.

Ben Williams in 2004 with then-San Francisco Bay Area anchor ladies Pam Moore (KRON-TV, Belva Davis (retired KQED-TV), Carolyn Tyler (KGO-TV), Barbara Rodgers (retired KPIX-TV), Ben Williams (Retired KPIX-TV), Kate Kelly (KPIX-TV), and Dana King (retired KPIX-TV).



Kellemes ünnepeket Fiestas felices

Praznični pozdravi 季節のご挨拶

Saluti di stagione

Festes bones

Коледни поздравления Julehilsener

Häid pühi

Priecīgus svētkus

Mevsim Tebrikleri


Fêtes joyeuses Vánoční přání

Lời chào của mùa giải Nollaig Shona


Su šventėmis

Urări Вітання Frohe Feiertage Bonjou sezon

Świąt Καλές γιορτές Новогодние поздравления


From L to R standing: Jessica Bowker, Margaret Bonneville, Luke McLaughlin, Marifel Fuentecilla, Barbara Massey, Concepcion Castillo, Vicki Balich, Lauren Renaud, Joel Reamer, Arceli Natividad, and Barry Schimmel. Sezóna je pozdravy

Glædelig jul Grian-ghamh-stad seunail

From L to R sitting: Karen Lipney and Len Egert Prettige Feestdagen

계절 인사말 Panahon Pagbati

Beannachtaí an tSéasúir

Lub caij ntawd txais tos II-Festi t-Tajba


Ii holide eximnandi

Hau'oli Lanui

Selamat Hari Raya

Beannachtaí na Féile


SAG-AFTRA San Francisco Local Newsletter  

The Winter 2012/2013 official newsletter for SAG-AFTRA San Francisco Local.

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