The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has objected to a
memo sent out among Infinity Broadcasting Corp. radio stations instructing radio
talent to promote Infinity marketing partner America Online Inc.
The issue was brought to AFTRA by members at KMOX(AM) St. Louis and WWJ(AM)
An Infinity spokesman said news stations were exempt from the new policy and
such a memo should not have been distributed at the stations. Such a policy
applied to news operations would clearly be in violation of the ethical codes
guiding news organizations, which endeavor to keep a station's commercial
interests separate from its news content, as well as a violation of AFTRA's
The WWJ memo asks content people to "shoulder a higher degree of
responsibility for delivering mentions for this client" and "to make reference
to the interesting content" found on AOL Broadband, without mentioning AOL
content provider Cable News Network.
It discusses encouraging references to AOL-provided video, news and sports
content, and promises an AOL-provided "tip sheet" in the future.
It further advises that "while AOL would LOVE us to be 'evangelists' for
their product, do stay close to your comfort zone when it comes to promoting
material. Don't do anything that makes you feel queasy from an ethical