Broadcast job law hailed

Cellucci signs freedom of employment legislation

The notorious non-compete clauses that stifled the careers of radio and TV personalities are a thing of the past in Massachusetts.

Gov. Paul Cellucci has signed a law establishing freedom of employment in the broadcasting industry, the first such legislation in the country. Passage of the law is a victory for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, which had lobbied hard for it.

The law prevents employers from requiring announcers, deejays and other high-profile employees to sign restrictive non-compete clauses that, should they be fired, make it almost impossible for them to work elsewhere in the geographical area where they are most known.

Game of the name

The same thinking was behind a practice that forced some on-air personalities to use a public name, often false, that was owned by the station and could not be transferred for use at another station.

The new legislation provides protections similar to those that already exist under Massachusetts law for physicians and attorneys.

“Non-compete clauses restrict broadcasters’ freedom of movement and depress market salaries without furthering any legitimate business purpose,” said Greg Hessinger, AFTRA’s assistant national exec director for news and broadcasting.

Hessinger said the 80,000-member union would continue to fight across the country “to prevent the enforcement of these onerous provisions.”

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