Friday, June 10, 2005

Who Makes What

A few participants in the Comments section have been having a, um, "spirited" discussion regarding salaries for TV news types. "Janetdoe" contends that in the Omaha market, only Knicely, Flowers, Webber, and Madden are pulling down six figures annually, while a newly hired anchor/reporter is likely making closer to $35,000.

According to a 2002 study done for the Radio Television News Directors Association/Foundation, the median anchor salary for markets 51-100 was $60,000 in 2001 (Omaha is market #76). Selected median salaries from the same study (our own inflation-adjusted figures are in parentheses):
  • News Anchor $60,000 ($73,000)
  • Weathercaster: $45,000 ($55,000)
  • Sports Anchor: $43,000 ($52,000)
  • News Reporter: $28,000 ($34,000)
  • News Director: $75,000 ($91,000)
  • Photographer: $25,000 ($30,500)
Based on this information, it would appear that janetdoe is pretty close. As always, being outside the biz, we're at the mercy of those on the inside to fill us in on reality. If anyone has more accurate information, let us know.


Will said...

Man, those are some low salaries (not that there's anything wrong with doing honest work for modest pay). I'll have to show this to my friends who think that everyone on the tube makes a fortune (after all, they're on TV!). With pay like that, it's amazing to think that it's a buyer's market for talent. Of course, no matter what the pay, it's still "cool" to be on television, so even low-wattage bottom feeders (KPTM) have no problem attracting people.

But with all the consolidation that's happened since ownership regulations were relaxed, I can't imagine that local broadcasting is ever going to be a particularly lucrative profession (except for the major markets, that is. I'm sure former WOWT anchor Colleen Williams makes a nice bit of change in L.A.).

market insider said...

Will makes some very good points. My disagreement with Janet's original post was on two points. The first was that 6 was paying its new achors the same as they would pay their entry level reporters. Not true. Even as I look at the survey I see that anchors average 40K even in 100-150 markets. So you can't tell me that these people are going to make a lateral move or even take a pay cut to come to Omaha. The second was that in the las 5 or 6 years WOWT has relaxed its hiring practices to fit its buget. As I wrote before all three station have always hired most of their on-air "talent" from much smaller markets. It goes all the way back to Brokaw when he came from Sioux City to KMTV. It's not only an acceptable practice in Omaha but all other markets.

gradstudent said...

"market insider" is right on. Poor Janetdoe hasn't a clue.

Midtown said...

Listen to me.... Janetdoe is right on the money (get it). To think this market pays better than average to below average is just silly. I know for a fact Omaha is what you call a quality of life market. That means people will chose to come here (usually to come home) or stay here because of course the quality of life (Schools, Housing, Parks Etc). There is nothing wrong with that it's just a fact. Oh by the way about the blogger who reference the Joplin/Pittsburg market I don't care if you are the news director/Main Anchor/Weather fill in that market it's still 140. I have so many stories of newbies making $6.50 and hour to $8 bucks and hour as reporters and anchors. The business can pay well but most times it takes a damn long time to get to that point.

tviowa said...

It takes a LONG time and A LOT of hard work and dedication to make money in the TV news business.

I know that reporters in starter markets such as Sioux City make around $18,000 per year if they're lucky. Some make as little as $14,000 per year. Reporters in mid-size markets like Omaha and Des Moines will start between $22,000 and $32,000 per year. That of course all depends on the station, but it's an average figure.

Main evening anchors will make around $35,000-$45,000 in places such as Sioux City. I know a main anchor at a Rockford, IL station who was making $35,000 per year after about six years as the main anchor there. That was at the #1 station in the market. Pay all depends on station revenue and ownership.

The trend in TV news is to hire younger people who will work for less. That's why many stations have higher turn-over rates than in the past. Omaha is starting to join in this trend, but is not nearly as bad as other larger markets such as Minneapolis or Kansas City. Those are the places where you're seeing more and more new reporters with only 2 years of experience.

With that said, you can make some BIG money in TV news if you have what it takes. For instance, I know that Colleen Williams' co-anchor at KNBC-TV makes between 1 and 2 million per year. He of course is a LA TV icon, but I would guess she's making at least a half-million per year. Not bad at all if you ask me.

Noitall said...

does travis justice and his umpteenth jobs lumped together count for anything in the six-figure department?

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