KTTH has been automated.
They threw out the producers, the interns, the board-ops and the little people who clean up after the behemoth egos of the talk show hosts.
They can do that because live and local talkers are going extinct too. Sytman & Boze (m-f, 5-9a) are the only mouth-breathers left over there during the week.
The rest are beamed down to the robots from satellites.
The humming throngs of upright humanoids with sticky digits and perineums, coffee-stains and dandruff, wisdom and foolishness that once filled the right-wing Entercom talker have been fired and replaced by the dull thrumming of the steady robots serving their corporate masters without complaint or bathroom breaks.
KTTH and KIRO employees threw out their union, AFTRA last year, much to the delight, we're sure, of the paleolithic Entercom management.
AFTRA's John Sandifer says, "An employee is truly on his or her own. In the broadcast business that means constant jeopardy."
Could the union have prevented the lay-offs and the onslaught of the robots?
No. Companies have the right to make operational decisions. But the union can bargain about the effect of those decisions on the workers. And the bargaining might have mitigated the human damage- like with severance pay, the transfering of members to other jobs in the company, and bumping rights (part timers must be terminated before full timers) etc.
With their decertification, the emploees discarded the long list of benefits and minimum conditions derived from union membership. Operating under a union contract they're simply not guaranteed even such basic "perks" as overtime, a 40 hour week, holidays, vacations, turnaround pay, severance pay, a grievance procedure, minimum wages, health benefits, retirement plans, discipline without cause, arbitrary terminations. The list goes on and on.
The truly sad thing at KIRO and KTTH, says Sandifer, "is that the basic rights in the contract built up over decades of bargaining by employees were all lost in one fell swoop to a campaign by two primary dissidents and a group of people voting their pocketbooks."
Who were the dissidents? Lou Pate (KIRO m-f, 1-5a) and Mike Webb (Superior Court, Jan.24, 1p).
It's ironic that Webb, who's told friends he intends to sue Entercom over his firing, could have had a union that would have gone to the mat for him in any termination that violated his contract. Now he has to pay his expensive celebrity mouthpiece if he wants to challenge his former bosses.
We suspect this isn't the end of Entercom's "efficiencies"- tough shit to the employees who voted to let this corporate employ them "at will" because they didn't like paying monthly dues. And even tougher shit to those employees who voted to keep the union.
Here's some poetic commentary on robots from our bloggy poet laureate:
I Believe I'll Marry a Robot This Time
by Michael Hood
I usually end up with those racy centaurs with beautiful asses, armed to the teeth who take me to the woodshed right off the bat to make short business of the deciphering. Then it's a quick frog-walk over to the edge for a peek into the dark...
They don't cry at night, robots.
They shave in the dark like Ray Charles.
The power switch on their backside
you can flick off like a vacuum cleaner
in case you need some rest.
Robots aren't concerned with vendettas
or the way their pants fit in the back.
They fret about rust and short circuits.
Rivets are a given,
truth's in the wiring.
Wistful of buckets, loyal to bolts,
love is the sweet flowing juice
of pure motor oil.
Sincerity is lost on robots,
being taken for granted is their job.
I believe I'll marry a robot this time.