The Talent Fee Scam


I thought I had heard everything when it comes to consolidated radio and the way they treat their employees and clients, but I was wrong.

At one un-named station in a top 25 market, the air talent was told they would be facing a cut in the talent fees they get for live endorsement spots. If they received $250 a week for those spots, they would now receive $125.

That’s bad enough, especially since most talent at this particular station has already had their pay cut, but perhaps it could be justified if all other stations in that market have lowered talent fees and it has been costing your station money. I could find a way to rationalize it.

But wait…

This same station then went to their clients who wanted live endorsement spots and told them there would be an increase in “talent fees” this year from $250 to $350, that there was nothing they — the account executive — could do.

Oh, I’m sorry. Are my ethics loose and screaming again?

Does that station, this company (because I know it’s a company-wide policy) really think their clients won’t find out they’re being cheated?

Do you think that advertiser who is now paying more will get better, more enthusiastic endorsements from the talent that just took a big pay cut. And do you think s/he is probably smart enough to figure that out pretty quickly?

Last week, I wrote about generous spirits.

Radio badly needs leadership around whom all of us would hesitate to act small, to behave unethically, to cheat our own employees and clients and find justification for our greed.

Will anyone not stand up and be our beacon?


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