Radio executive John Myers says he is stunned by Bauer Media’s use of volunteers, for a company which makes £25m a year profit.
John, writing on his latest blog post, highlights how national stations The Hits, Kerrang! and heat radio doesn’t pay some of its presenters.
“I accept the principle that in order to gain work, some people may offer to undertake work experience or volunteer to make the tea,” John says.
But “Any sensible employer should state right at the start and in writing how long the free period is going to last. Expenses should always be a given!” he continues.
Bauer Media, in reaction, told John: “We have a small handful of volunteers on The Hits, Kerrang! and heat radio seeking experience or exposure. In some instances they come to us direct from student radio for a kick-start to their radio careers. This is a situation seen across many creative industries and other radio companies.”
John says he finds Bauer’s statement and public stance “uncomfortable” for a company of their size and profitability and highlights their recent celebration of high RAJAR figures whilst “neatly forgetting to mention it partly comes from the labours of desperate individuals who will do anything for a gig.”
John adds: “I was really quite stunned by this. A volunteer in my view is often found in community or hospital radio stations. A volunteer may come in and help out for a few days. Volunteers may participate in occasional station promotions or at a charity event etc but surely most people would be surprised to learn they are working regularly on a national digital radio network show – without payment – while the company delivers around £25MILLION or more a year in profits. They may call it volunteering, I call it something else! Surely, they can do better than this?”
Bauer is the second biggest commercial radio operator in the UK, and now owns the Absolute Radio brands along with Magic, Kiss, Planet Rock. John Myers is the former CEO of GMG Radio, and former Chairman of the Radio Academy Awards.
Read the full blog here.