Friday, February 24, 2006

No Competition

Reporter Rachel Barnhart is suing her former employer, Rochester's WROC-TV, seeking to nullify the non-compete clause in her contract. Court papers claim Barnhart was canned after not acceding to the CBS affiliate's lowball contract offers.

Sue Nigra; Worth her weight in gold.I bring this up because a well known case on this subject is Nigra v. Young Broadcasting, as in Sue Nigra v. WTEN. Back in the nineties, WRGB offered Nigra twice what she was making at WTEN to switch stations. Regarding Nigra, Young argued that there is "simply no candidate that possesses the same knowledge of the local scene or the unique mix of qualities and characteristics." Talk about a lame defense; The court totally didn't buy it and granted an injunction against WTEN. The two parties later settled.

It's interesting stuff. When John Gray left WNYT, there was apparently some sort of elaborate deal struck with Fox 23 to help work through the non-compete. But Greg Floyd? Fox 23 couldn't forget about his contract fast enough.

Massachusetts and a few other states ban non-compete clauses in the broadcast industry. Similar legislation introduced in the State Senate and Assembly has been flopping around in committee since last year. If the New York State Broadcasters Association has anything to say about it, that's where it will stay.

Can you imagine them offering Sue Nigra that much money? Me neither.