Local TV news salaries showed modest gains in 2009, or as the
Radio-Television Digital News Association put it, the good news is that there
was not more bad news.
According to the lastest RTDNA-Hofstra annual survey, TV
station news salaries rose 2.5% in 2009, although that was after a drop of 4.4%
in 2008, so the industry is still in salary recovery mode.
The gains were not evenly distributed, and for some the hits just
kept on coming. Reporters, managing editors and art directors averaged a 10%
bump. But sports reporters were the biggest losers, according to the survey,
with salaries down by 10%.
Overall, gainers led decliners 11 job categories to four, with
three essentially flat. But flat may be the new up. "With negative inflation in
2009, even flat salaries mean no loss in buying power," said survey director
Bob Papper in announcing the survey
Local TV news salary growth continues to lag inflation in the
longer term, however. In the past five years, according to the study, the
consumer price index (13.6%) has increased more than four times as much as TV
news salaries (2.9%), and ten-year overall salary growth of 17.6% still trails
fare behind the 28.8% inflation over the same period. Only news anchors have
managed to keep up with that inflation rate, says the survey.
survey was based on responses from 1,355 TV stations, or 76.6% of the universe
of 1,770 stations.