AFTRA has formally objected to Infinity Broadcasting asking its radio newscasters to promote the AOL Broadband service, but Infinity has asserted it is no longer doing so.
AFTRA said Wednesday that the policy, unveiled two weeks ago at KMOX-AM St. Louis and WWJ-AM Detroit, violated its collective bargaining agreements. But Infinity spokesman Dana McClintock told Daily Variety on Wednesday that news stations have been told that they are exempt from the directive.
The union released a letter sent Tuesday to Infinity parent CBS from AFTRA’s Tom Carpenter, national director of news and broadcast. “We are aware that AFTRA members at certain Infinity radio stations have received instructions that they are to mention a product — i.e., AOL Broadband — in news stories and other programming and that journalists are required to log the number of times they mention AOL Broadband on the air,” he said.
Newscasters notified the union following a May 28 memo to WWJ staff saying specifically that AOL Broadband needed to be mentioned at least six times every day on the air as part of the radio marketing campaign between Infinity and AOL.