Vet to become nat'l communications director in Gotham

HOLLYWOOD — The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has tapped PR vet Jayne Wallace to become its first national communications director.

Wallace, who will be based at AFTRA’s national HQ in Gotham, fills the vacancy created in March when AFTRA associate exec director Pamm Fair — who often served as the union’s PR voice — departed AFTRA to join SAG as national director for policy, planning and external affairs. AFTRA will continue to use New York-based Dick Moore & Associates and Los Angeles-based PRP Group to handle some of its PR duties.

AFTRA national exec director Greg Hessinger said Wallace’s appointment fulfills a commitment by the national board to expand and advance its internal and external communications resources along with supervising long-range initiatives to enhance AFTRA’s image and organizing potential. Wallace will collaborate with Moore and AFTRA associate exec national director Kim Roberts.

“As the performers’ union with the most diverse membership, AFTRA has been consistently improving both the quality and frequency of its profile,” Hessinger said. “We are delighted to have someone with Jayne’s solid corporate, entertainment and union public relations experience as we focus on these activities.”

“The terrific work done by AFTRA on behalf of performers and artists merits attention, credit and the most positive positioning for the organization,” Wallace said. “AFTRA is effectively taking the lead on the most critical issues in broadcasting, network news, sound recordings and entertainment, but unions need to be just as creative with their marketing and communications strategies as the multi-corporations and conglomerates that sit across the negotiating table.”

Wallace spent two years as SAG’s first PR chief for the New York office, but quit her post in 2000, citing rancor between staff and members. She was brought on for three months earlier this year as a consultant at SAG to revive the New York newsletter and aid in SAG’s campaign against non-union work overseas.

Her appointment comes at a time when tensions between SAG and AFTRA have flared on two fronts — the AFTRA national board decision in April to approve a revamp of the master franchise agreement with agents before SAG members voted down a similar revamp; and AFTRA’s recent move to try organizing Fox TV shows shot on digital, which SAG has claimed is within its jurisdiction.

Wallace’s resume includes posts as director of media relations at USA Networks; VP, American Movie Classics; senior VP, Bender Goldman & Helper; director of publicity at Paramount Domestic TV; and VP at the Lippin Group and at Ruder & Finn. Wallace most recently was VP of PR at Working Woman Network and consulting to Disney Publishing Worldwide, Koplovitz & Co. and SAG.

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