News Salaries Falling Behind Inflation Rate

Salaries for most radio and tv staffers showed little gain last year, failing to keep pace with inflation, per a Radio Television News Directors Assn. study released last week.

The cost of living rose 4.7% from June 1989 to June 1990, but average wages climbed less than that, according to a survey conducted by U. of Missouri professor Vernon Stone. For example, salaries for radio news directors answering the survey averaged $18,200, same as the previous year. But the $15,000 being paid small market n.d.’s was 6% less than 1989.

Major market radio news directors had the greatest salary increase – a 30% gain to $37,350.

Salaries for typical tv anchors ranged from $21,610 in the 62 smallest markets to $99,250 in the 25 largest markets, where half the top-paid anchors at network affils made $200,000 or more.

Stone found that independent tv and major market radio stations made the greatest salary gains, outpacing the cost of living for most positions. It was the second year in a row that salaries rose substantially for indies.

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