John Myers, the former Radio Academy chief executive has called for an industry-wide inquiry into “free-labour” work being carried out at UK radio stations.
Media Guardian reports that the second biggest commercial radio group, Bauer had unpaid presenters working at some of its stations. He said he was uncomfortable with the idea of national stations using volunteers on a long-term basis, and said stations had a moral obligation to pay presenters.
In his blog, Myers said, “Let me state immediately that I accept the principle that in order to gain work, some people may offer to undertake work experience or volunteer to make the tea. 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!”
Earlier Myers contacted Bauer for a response and a spokesperson admitted to the policy by way of this statement, 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.
Similarly some UK Asian radio stations are known to take individuals on for extended “work-placements” to avoid paying for them.
Myers urged the commercial radio authority, the Radio Centre, to commission an independent review of pay and training in the sector. Radio Centre told Media Guardian, it would monitor the issue but said it was premature to be talking about an inquiry.