|Peoria Journal-Star Photo|
That's because station owners want to be able to have local news gathered and broadcast from outside the area, said members of the WEEK-WHOI broadcast team who went on record Tuesday with issues surrounding their labor negotiations, according to a story by Steve Tarter and Paul Gordon at the Peoria Journal-Star.
The contract covering anchors, reporters, photojournalists and producers at WEEK-TV and WHOI-TV, Channel 19 expired Feb. 18. The next bargaining session between the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, representing station personnel, and Granite Broadcasting Corp., operator of the stations that merged in March 2009, is set for March 21.
The union has authorized its leadership to call a strike and local union president Garry Moore said some type of job action is possible, though he declined to say if he meant a walk-out.
"We understand the economic climate. This is not about money," said WEEK anchor Mike Dimmick, reiterating that jurisdiction - which covers where and by whom the news is gathered and broadcast - is the sticking point in the talks.
"We believe local news should be local," said Gina Morss, concerned that language proposed in contract talks would allow the company to "hire out" its news product.
Mark DeSantis, president and general manager of WEEK and WHOI, said employees are overreacting. "We are looking to try and get some flexibility in a new contract. We propose modifications that reflect current industry realities."
"We have no plans to move the news to Fort Wayne," said DeSantis, referring to the Indiana city that is the control room hub for several Granite stations, including Peoria. "People want the news from who they're accustomed to getting it from. We don't have any plans to move the newscast. We are just looking for flexibility."
DeSantis said that contract language reflects changes in the industry.
Read more here.
PEORIA JOURNAL-STAR: Newsflash: Fort Wayne, Indiana, not Peoria