Reporters and anchors at KNBC-TV Channel 4 have been grappling with an unexpected scoop about their colleagues that has caused tension and embarrassment within the newsroom.
A two-page list detailing the approximate salaries of the station's on-air talent was mistakenly mailed to staffers last week, provoking some friction between some of the higher-paid personalities and their lesser-paid colleagues, sources said.
"Some people are very upset about this getting out," said one employee, who asked not to be identified. "Some folks have been laughing about it, but others have been getting on the phone with their agents."
Said another: "There's been quite a bit of sniping back and forth."
The list of salaries--based on 1996 figures--was accidentally mailed en masse by a temporary employee at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) who was assigned to get the information to only a few selected KNBC staffers and executives. Officials at AFTRA, the union that represents on-air news employees, were not available for comment on the snafu.
KNBC executives also declined to comment.
With the exception of reporters who make less than $100,000, the document listed most of the salaries in ranges. For instance, Paul Moyer, who signed a six-year contract in 1992 for $8 million, is only listed as making above $500,000 a year, the highest category.
Also included as making more than $500,000 a year are anchors Colleen Williams, Kelly Lange, anchor-reporter Chuck Henry, sports anchor Fred Roggin, weatherman Fritz Coleman and anchor and commentator Jess Marlow, who recently retired from his newsroom duties.
Kent Shocknek, co-anchor of the station's early morning newscasts, was the only personality listed in the $300,000-to-$400,000 range.
Falling in the $200,000-to-$300,000 range were morning anchor Kathy Vara, weatherman Christopher Nance, medical editor Bruce Hensel, weekend anchors Rick Chambers and Diane Diaz, reporter Laurel Erickson and weekend sports anchor and reporter Carlos Del Valle.
Salaries for the majority of the on-air talent fell between $100,000 and $200,000 a year, including morning weekend anchors Jim Giggans and Tracie Savage, legal expert Manny Medrano and veteran reporters Conan Nolan, Furnell Chatman, Vikki Vargas, Patrick Healy and Joe Rico.
The salary disclosure earned some KNBC personalities some good-natured ribbing from competitors at other stations. "When I see folks at a press conference, they look at me and say, 'Hey, you buying lunch?' " one KNBC reporter said.