By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/25/2001 7:00:00 PM
WSB-TV Atlanta reporter Roby Chavez says he only reluctantly agreed to treatment when a car plowed into the news van he was in last May (B&C, May 14). Chavez, who pulled the drunk driver from his car as fire was spreading, says he was afraid of having to reveal another medical condition.
That reluctance—which he acknowledges could have exacerbated serious injury—helped Chavez decide to go public with his being HIV-positive, he says. More than a year after his diagnosis, Chavez made the disclosure—while addressing the Atlanta Executive Network, described as a networking group for gay and lesbian professionals. He said he did it despite the knowledge that it could "derail a career I've spent 15 years building." Chavez's option was not picked up by his station—for reasons unrelated to his condition—and he and his agent are looking for a new job for him.
There has been an abundance of information about HIV, says Chavez, who adds that he follows a ritual of medications and is in good health. "But I don't think people know the firsthand, personal story of what it is and what it's like to live with. I'm in the business of giving people information."
The Illinois Senate has given new impetus to American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' fight against noncompete clauses in TV talent contracts.
The Senate voted to override Gov. George Ryan's veto in July of a bill that would eliminate noncompete clauses in broadcast contracts in the state. The vote was 48-10, a pickup of two for each side from the pre-veto Senate vote. The House, which voted 110-3 in favor of the legislation, takes up a possible veto override tomorrow.
For AFTRA, the Republican-controlled Senate appears to have been a bigger hurdle than the House in overriding the Republican governor. AFTRA Chicago leader Eileen Willenborg said she is both hopeful and confident the bill will become law.
"We're disappointed with the Senate's vote for an override and remain puzzled as to why the Illinois Legislature 'singled out' the broadcast industry," said Dennis Lyle, president of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. "Other Illinois industries should now be concerned that they could also become the target of selective interference in these matters that are best left to the courts."
No veto vote
Indiana legislative leaders called off plans last week to vote on overriding Gov. Frank O'Bannon's veto of a bill that would exempt lawmakers from the state's open-records law. House Speaker John Gregg said the vote would be postponed indefinitely in hope of a compromise, although earlier efforts at compromise between media and the legislators failed. The Society of Professional Journalists has led a media coalition in opposition to the bill. Indianapolis TV station WTHR(TV) and the Indianapolis Star released a poll this month in which an overwhelming number of respondents—68%—opposed the exemption.
"This is an example of the worst kind of government arrogance," said Ian Marquand, SPJ Freedom of Information Committee chairman and special-projects coordinator for KPAX-TV Missoula, Mont. "How dare the Indiana Legislature say it will serve the public's interest better by locking citizens out of the decision-making process."
KCNC-TV Denver News Director Angie Kucharski—recently named among B&C's "Next Wave" of TV leadership (Oct. 29, p. 30)—was honored by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation with the Rob Downey Citation for her work as chair of the membership and governance committee and as a regional director. RTNDA Chairman Mark Millage also cited her work on a training manual for board members and as a member of the ethics committee.
Longtime RTNDA board of trustees member Bob Priddy, news director at MissouriNet in Jefferson City, Mo., was given the foundation's Barney Oldfield Distinguished Service Award. Priddy is a former RTNDA chairman and a 10-year member of the executive committee.
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