Clients and contacts are still asking me how come it was “so easy” for Fox’s WJBK-TV and CBS’ WWJ-AM to fire personalities recently. Now, I think I can finally give a good answer.
You’ll remember that WJBK fired anchor Fanchon Stinger after a series of reports connected her to a Detroit businessman under investigation by the FBI. And WWJ fired reporter Karen Dinkins after she wore an Obama t-shirt while covering an Obama rally.
While doing some cleaning at home, I found one of my TV contracts from more than a dozen years ago. It clearly states that I could have been terminated by the station for “any act which would cause public embarrassment to (the station).”
If a behind-the-scenes management-track employee like me had to agree to such a clause in the 1990s, then today, anchors and reporters, the “public faces” of a broadcast operation must now also have to agree to such language.
Of course, the big companies that own these outlets “won’t comment on personnel matters.” But, now you have at least a very educated guess.