Study: Pay disparity for Spanish-language broadcasters

Thursday, August 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Spanish-language radio and TV broadcasters earn significantly less than their counterparts at English-language stations and receive inferior health and retirement benefits, a new study found.

The median salary for on-air talent at Spanish-language stations in Los Angeles was $60,000, compared to about $200,000 at English-language stations, according to UCLA research released Wednesday.

Spanish-language radio broadcasters' median salary was $41,000, and it was $90,000 for English-language radio talent, according to the school's Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.

Univision and Telemundo, the companies which dominate the Spanish-language broadcasting industry, bore the brunt of criticism from center Director Abel Valenzuela Jr.

``Despite the phenomenal growth of the Spanish-speaking broadcasting industry in Los Angeles, the public faces of Telemundo and Univision remain underpaid, overworked and unappreciated relative to their English-speaking counterparts,'' Valenzuela said.

Calls to Univision in New York and Telemundo in Miami seeking comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.

The median income for unionized Spanish-language broadcasters was $80,000, nearly double that of non-unionized talent, the study found, but only KMEX-TV and Metro Network are unionized while all English-language TV stations are.

Information about English-language broadcasters was provided by the Federation of Television & Radio Artists, which also paid for the study.

The City Council recently passed a resolution urging NBC to agree to union representation for Spanish-language reporters and anchors at KVEA-TV and KWHY-TV, which came to NBC as part of its acquisition of Telemundo.

``NBC respects the right of all of its employees to make their own decisions about union representation and we do not interfere in that process,'' NBC spokesman Cory Shields said Wednesday.

Telemundo employees rejected AFTRA representation in a vote taken in the 1990s, Shields said.

The study was based on a spring 2001 survey that included responses from 114 Spanish-language broadcasters and more than a dozen ``in-depth interviews,'' researchers said.

In the area of health and retirement benefits, only full-time workers are eligible and two-thirds of those receiving benefits carry a part of the cost, the study found. In contrast, an employer-paid fund covers all full-time and many part-time English-language media workers.