Miserable bosses (long, sorry)


#1

I am feeling particularly agitated today and just have to vent (and ask a few prayers, too.) Please bear with me.

My husband is a doll - a great husband and dad, hard-working and above reproach. He also happens to work in a small, unusual business (he is a local TV news anchor.) He has been quite fortunate in being in one market (TV-speak for a city, or two or three cities close together served by the same local stations) for most of the last 30+ years - the last 24 at the same station. We have seen many owners and managers come and go.

Dh is active in the community and well respected. He frequently serves as a host or emcee at charity events and benefits. His newscasts are #1, and he has won numerous awards. He mentors young people in the newsroom and also teaches at a small local college (he has an M.A. - Journalism.) He is modest and kind.

The problem is this. The current GM, and the news director, have no people skills and seem to want to show their power by treating even (sometimes especially) the best, most respected and most valuable employees (judged by ratings, research, awards, etc.) with no respect. They harass the weatherman (hugely popular and THE one folks turn to) by calling and bugging him about silly things in the middle of newscasts (!) to the point where he is about to take his retirement earlier than planned. They let good people leave because they are too cheap to offer decent money. They hire people lacking in skills - such as simple good grammar, spelling, and syntax- because they pay so little. (Dh often has to correct scripts that contain ridiculous or embarrassing errors before going on-air.)

They have approached dh about re-signing with them when his contract ends in a few months. We want to stay; we are in our mid-50s and hope to stay until retirement. He decided, based on what a colleague told him about “negotiations” with the two miserable managers, to have a lawyer friend serve as his representative (we’ve never done that before.) The lawyer sent a friendly letter simply stating that he would be handling things for dh this time. Dh got a call from the news director (who was sitting in his office 10 feet away!) coldly stating that the letter had arrived and they would be sending their reply. Reply to what??? A letter of introduction? I am guessing they will either state that 1) they refuse to deal with a representative or 2) their terms are non-negotiable, so no discussions are necessary. I could really see them doing this! :blush:

I am just appalled by the lack of decency and respect shown by these people. Everything is bottom line oriented (and “you get what you pay for” is really true in this business!) and all about control. He deserves so much better than this. His loyalty, success, and skill have always been recognized before and previous managers have never been anything less than fair and reasonable. This is an area that does NOT take well to change. I could really see people picketing the station if they ever did anything to make him leave - that is how well respected he is here!

They are interviewing a potential co-anchor for dh this week and never even included him in the group who went to lunch with her. Just no class whatsoever. This is typical behavior - designed, I think, to keep employees off-balance and uncertain of themselves.

How do others deal with classless, clueless bosses like this? (I suspect that the ND is jealous because dh is better educated, well loved in the newsroom and could do his job!)

I hate to see him ill-treated; he does not deserve it He is so humble and kind; I am really seeing red right now!

At our ages, we don’t want to have to leave; he should be able to work here these next 10 years until retirement without worrying about dealing with loonies like these. Please provide any insights; do you have crazy bosses? Prayers will be welcomed as he goes through this renegotiation process - unless they choose not to now!

Blessings!


#2

I dont really have too much advice on bosses, except i would say that that your husband probably holds a lot of power in that station. There has to be someone above the news director, perhaps the owner? He should go talk to him and tell him what is up.

Other thought would be is to see what if there is a rival station your husband could work with, if he is as good as you say, i bet another station would love to have him.

just some thoughts, i will say a prayer for you both, good luck!


#3

No personal experience… but I’ve heard the local TV network business is BRUTAL…

There is so much turnover to make the station appear NEW and APPEALING… so you’re very blessed to have been able to stay in the same market for so long (your DH’s talent is a testament to that, I’m sure!)…

No advice, as our personal jobs are non-contract and non-negotiable… so I’m not sure how contract negotiations work…

But my prayers are with your DH through this process!


#4

There are whole strategies of that. Whoever gives academic support to such schemes by developing and teaching them, conducting studies on how to control workers like drone and remain able to pay them little, should try working an uncertain job at minimal wage.

How do others deal with classless, clueless bosses like this? (I suspect that the ND is jealous because dh is better educated, well loved in the newsroom and could do his job!)

Resigned my job today. Also Master’s (law), well-liked and appreciated, effective… yet apparently not deserving even the statutory minimum pay for employees. “If we might come back to our conversation yesterday, sir, I believe we will not reach agreement, therefore it might be the most reasonable to say goodbye now.”

I hate to see him ill-treated; he does not deserve it He is so humble and kind; I am really seeing red right now!

Can’t he found a company and provide services as a business? Then he’d be his own employer.

At our ages, we don’t want to have to leave; he should be able to work here these next 10 years until retirement without worrying about dealing with loonies like these. Please provide any insights; do you have crazy bosses? Prayers will be welcomed as he goes through this renegotiation process - unless they choose not to now!

Lawyers who rape labour law. I can show you the exact paragraphs which say it’s worth up to two years in prison, but this doesn’t move them, it seems.


#5

In the corporate world - and broadcast media is the corporate world, it is all about dollars and cents. The cold hard truth is that the stockholders or owners care less about the community involvment. If they can hire some new face for half the price, they will do it. If they can oursouse your local market news and save even more money, they will do it.

It might be advisable for your husband to put out some feelers in the community.


#6

What do people with bad bosses ususally do? Leave.

What can your DH do if he decides to stay? Play hardball with them regarding his contract and have his lawyer friends ensure the terms are very good for him, especially any non-compete clauses and levels of authority-- for example, he gets a say in who is co-anchor is, etc.

And, never close off the option of leaving. I’m sure competitor stations would love to have him.


#7

I’m sure competing stations would, too. However, the non-compete in his contract, which they force upon every on-air employee, keeps him off the air for a year. I know that some non-competes have been overturned, but that all takes a lot of time. We do not rule out the possibility of leaving - but it is not something we want to do (just moved into a new home, daughter and soon-to-be-son-in-law here, etc.)

I think we may have to resort to some hardball - not his style at all, but you do what it takes, I guess.

They have asked his opinion about the previous co-anchor candidates, as he has to work with them. Not that he’ll necessarily get the one he thinks is best; it will come down to someone who works pretty cheap, as they are so bottom line. This is all so new to us, as it has been a pretty decent place to work until the latest owners, GM and news director.


#8

Ironically, it is his community involvement and high profile that contribute to his excellent market research and the great ratings. You are so right, though…if they felt they could hire someone for half, or a third, they would do it in a heartbeat. If he wasn’t as successful as he has been, they would have done so long since, I am sure.

There are so few jobs in his field, and fewer in any given market. He’s never wanted to do anything else. I guess there is PR, etc., though he would have to really change his mindset to do that, being a dyed in the wool journalist.

The local news makes a TON of money for them, and this is a market where people are VERY attached to their favorite anchors (thank heavens he is one; we are hoping that is what makes the managers come to their senses.)


#9

Well, as there is not a lot of call for itinerant, freelance news anchors, founding a company might not be feasible. He could consult, and would be good at it; I have encouraged him to consider that as we get closer to retirement. He is wonderful at being a mentor to young journalists.

There are a couple of huge news consulting companies, generally reviled by real journalists, who pull the strings of local news departments. They have quite a racket going; convince managers that their advice is desperately needed, swoop in and insist everyone do things a certain way as “that’s what the research shows the audience wants” and then leave, only to come back later in the year and insist everyone now start doing things differently…because that’s what the research shows. That’s not the kind of advice my husband would be giving, for sure.

I am sorry about your job. How very upsetting and frustrating. I’ll say a prayer that you find one more suited to your talent…and pocketbook!!!


#10

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I have encouraged our daughters to get degrees in fields where they can be their own bosses. One took the advice (will be a speech pathologist) the other did not (Master’s in Public Affairs) though she will, at least, always have job possibilities, wherever her husband’s academic career takes them.

We have, indeed, been blessed to be here so long, and he has been treated well until these last two years. I just don’t understand treating your best people as if they are expendable, particularly in a climate like this market, which loathes any change and will hold it against a station for a long time.


#11

Well, you have a year if he is let go, so challenging the non compete is not a bad idea if the time comes.

Here in the DC market, the non competes were overturned a few years ago. Perhaps the AFTRA or NABET local could help with that if you go that far. No, I’m not in the business, but I do have a BS in Broadcasting.

Does he by any chance work at a station that is owned by a holding company or one of the big media companies - perhaps another market might be interested? Perhaps a move up?


#12

The station is part of a broadcast group, but the mindset here seems to be such that they would likely sabotage any move like that (I’m not kidding…)

It’s great about the non-competes being oveturned in DC; that is an interesting avenue to pursue. We hope it won’t come to that.


#13

Ah, I meant a one-person company in which he’d basically be the only worker or perhaps hire a secretary or something. Then he would still perform his jobs all the same, but he’d be signing contracts as the company, not as a person, so basically he’d be his own intermediary, his own boss and he’d pay himself (as the person) his own salary from what his company got from clients. But if you say companies are reviled there and if the law doesn’t discriminate against freelancers who don’t run a company, then that could be preferable. :slight_smile:

There are a couple of huge news consulting companies, generally reviled by real journalists, who pull the strings of local news departments. They have quite a racket going; convince managers that their advice is desperately needed, swoop in and insist everyone do things a certain way as “that’s what the research shows the audience wants” and then leave, only to come back later in the year and insist everyone now start doing things differently…because that’s what the research shows. That’s not the kind of advice my husband would be giving, for sure.

Yeah.

I am sorry about your job. How very upsetting and frustrating. I’ll say a prayer that you find one more suited to your talent…and pocketbook!!!

Thanks. :slight_smile:


#14

Okay, here’s an idea:

If negotiations don’t go well and a contract isn’t offered or you dont’ want to accept it, ask them to amend the present contract to remove the non-compete clause so that your husband can earn a living. If they balk, offer six months instead of a year. Independently get the broadcast group involved if needed. If they refuse to do six months, tell them that if your husband is going to be a threat to them after six months, then he will be a threat to them after a year, and they should tender a deal he can agree to.

If they go for the six months, use that time to shop the other stations in town. What do you do during the six months off air? The new station hosts a series of community involvement events like can drives for the needy or a shredding party (get the industrial shredders to shred people’s receipts and such for free).

Your husband will just happen to be at these events for the new station (even though he’s not on air), and will get some print coverage and all.

Use the footage shot there and others to kick off his inaugural week with the new station with a “This is our city” kind of package to get people to watch and know he’s moved. You know - Day one is volunteers in the community, day two is recreation, day three is sports, that type of thing.

During the six months off air, he produces this package as well as works with the assignment editor, using his contacts and name to line up interviews and enhance the new station’s news gathering ability.


#15

You’re a very crafty fellow, Paul :slight_smile:

Funnily enough, just today we read online that the fairly new news anchor at a competing station is in hot water over some purported transgression.


#16

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