Cumulus Loses Arbitration In Chicago Voicetracking Suit
April 10, 2015 at 12:35 PM (PT)
CUMULUS MEDIA has lost a case over its use of voicetracking -- recording an on-air personality's words and playing them back later at two of its CHICAGO stations -- Classic Rock WLUP (97.9 THE LOOP) and Alternative WKQX (101 WKQX) -- according to WINDY CITY radio blogger ROBERT FEDER.
An independent arbitrator ruled APRIL 2nd that a dozen current and former employees of the two stations will be awarded back pay covering the period from last spring to the present.
The decision, which followed two days of hearings last JANUARY, was hailed as a victory for SAG-AFTRA, whose local chapter had been pursuing the case since MAY 2014 -- shortly after CUMULUS took over the two stations from MERLIN MEDIA, which had widely expanded the use of voicetracking.
At issue was the company’s right to use the recorded voices of its air personalities seven days a week or on holidays while paying them only for a standard work week. The arbitrator sided with SAG-AFTRA that the practice was a violation of the union’s contract. The ruling marked one of the few times that the issue of payment for voicetracking had been challenged in arbitration.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this arbitration,” said SAG-AFTRA CHICAGO Exec. Dir. ERIC CHAUDRON. SAG-AFTRA. “It has vindicated the position we have taken from the start regarding voicetracking at our stations.”
CUMULUS has been contacted for comment.