With the case against the Australian Traffic Network brought by their erstwhile eye in the sky reporter Jason Bouman due for hearing in October, some of their advertisers have begun to express concern about their association “with an operation that insiders say represents the worst excesses of commercial radio’s notorious culture,” according to a an updated report in Crikey.
With advertisers pulling out of shows that become embroiled in public controversy the flavour of the past few months, the highly profitable traffic network may become the next victim – at a cost that has the potential to far outstrip any damages that Mr Bouman may or may not win.
Note: This story is unlocked.
As reported on May 24; In a statement of claim lodged in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal, Jason Bouman – a 40-year-old reporter for the Australian Traffic Network with a regular spot on Channel Nine’s Today show for 18 months before his resignation in March last year – alleges he was taken off TV and shoved into low profile radio roles because his boss, Bill Pezzimenti, (pictured) wanted a “good looking young blonde” in front of the camera.
According to Crikey, “ATN staff have described a poisonous culture of back scratching and bullying at the private equity-owned conglomerate that soaks up more than $20 million a year in profits while its executives bank bumper $1 million pay cheques.”
If true, it is a far cry from “A Message from Bill Pezzimenti, (pictured) Managing Director of The Australian Traffic Network” that appears on the ATN website, which reads…
“To familiarise yourself with a company you first have to familiarise yourself with its people.
“At ATN , on all levels, we have the right people who are committed to excellence; the big focus to build a dynamic and dramatic company who defines itself with action and breakthrough.
“That is the personality of ATN. It’s the ATN people that continues to provide us clarity and purpose!”
If Bouman is successful in his case before the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal in October, he stands to pocket $50,000 in back-pay plus accumulating losses of $1000 per week and an additional $30,000 for hurt and humiliation. He’d also like a public apology and anti-discrimination training for ATN staff.
Even if wins and is awarded everything he wants, it would be peanuts compared to the potential damage to ATN’s reputation and longer term earnings if they don’t deal with the public fallout in a professional and timely manner.
Calls to Mr Pezzimenti from radioinfo have not been returned.