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AFTRA Philadelphia Sessions Newsletter

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  • The AFTRA Holiday Open House was a Hit!

    February 2010

    The food table attracted attention. Helen Chong Caterer extraordinaire Bill Mables hung with folks in the hall.

    DJ Chuck in action.

    Cyndy Drue and Jeanette Hartunian.Scheryll Anderson.Lynn Koenigsburg & Maria Siegert

    Santa Christie Springfield and Laurel Bryce.

    See an online slideshow of the party photos at

    On December 22, 2009 the Local office held the annual Holiday Open House, an opportunity for Local members to visit the center of our unions operations in Philadelphia and mingle with other members and Local staff. Refreshments were provided by caterer Bill Mables and entertainment came from DJ Chucks laptop computer. Over forty members partied till 7:30 and Local Executive Director Stephen Leshinski declared the party a definite hit. For a slideshow of all the photos taken at the event visit

  • of the PhiladelphiaAmerican Federation of Television & Radio Artists

    [email protected]

    Cast & CrewShelley FiguresEditor

    Contributing EditorsNat Wright, Stephen Leshinski

    LayoutChuck Varesko

    StaffStephen LeshinskiExecutive Director

    Shelley FiguresAssociate Executive Director

    Lynn KoenigsbergFreelance Contracts/Signatory Administrator

    Michele DooleyBenefits &

    Membership Administrator

    AFTRA LocalBoard of Directors

    Catherine BrownPresident Dick Sheerannd Vice PresidentCyndy Drue SecretaryEd FischerTreasurerRob Charry, John Di Domenico, Paul Kurtz, Sylvia Kauders, Tom McNutt, Susan Moses, M.J. Myers, Bill Shusta, Christy Springfield, Chuck Varesko

    National Board Members:Susan Moses, Bill Shusta

    AFTRA PHILADELPHIA230 South Broad St., Suite 500Philadelphia, PA 19102-4121215.732.0507

    Official PublicationSESSIONS

    Hows YOUR Web Visibility?Are you a Digital Person or are you trapped in the 20th century? No mat-ter how hip you are to the Internet you can have your face and your contact information on a casting website for free. The Philadelphia AFTRA Online Talent Guide is open to Local members (and Local SAG) for free. If youre computer illiterate call the AFTRA office at 215.732.0507 and ask them to send you an enrollment form. Send it back with your headshot and resume and well add you to the Talent Guide. If youre a computer user visit to sign up online. Promote yourself!

    PRESIDENTS REPORTBy Catherine Brown

    Read SESSIONS online at:

    sessionsThe Online Talent Guide is at:

    http:www.aftraphiladelphia.comNational AFTRA is at:

    Pleading the case for Pled

    Happy New Year!Your AFTRA Philadelphia Local is jumpstarting a new decade with a lot of exciting projects ahead. Last year I told you about the national push within AFTRA to fine tune our mission and our methods. Now the message is going local. Were all set to welcome AFTRA National Staff to Philadelphia in February for our local Leadership Training. Its our chance to learn best practices for internal and external organizing. Its all about strengthening our union, empowering our current members and recruiting new members.

    In the weeks ahead were also looking forward to a National Broadcasting Steering Committee Meeting at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD. and the National Board Videoconference Meeting in New York and Los Angeles. Your participation will be welcome as we continue the work of our Locals Freelance Committee, Station Shop Steward Training and New Member Orientation.

    You have a standing invitation to get in on the action! When you receive the notice about Local Board elections in a few weeks, please give it some serious attention and consideration. You are the Union is not just a slogan. AFTRAs success depends on our dedicated members and member leaders. So think about contributing your ideas and expertise as a member of the Philadelphia Local Board.

    And dont forget You are the Union!Catherine BrownAFTRA Philadelphia Local President

    Have you noticed how sometimes words just disappear? In news reports of days gone by you would hear the word pled used in reports on court proceedings. The defendant pled guilty to all six counts, and a charge of practicing grammar without a license.

    Pled, is a perfectly good verb derived from the Middle English word pleden. Its simple and to the point. You can even spell it plead and pronounce it pled. Its very adaptable.

    What has come into common use as a replacement for the perfectly adequate pled? In the 21st century it has gotten tossed out and reporters are using pleaded instead. While it does follow our tradition of adding ed to a word to indicate past tense its just not elegant. Try saying pleaded. Now say pled. If youre paying attention to your Hole Words Come Out Of youll notice that it takes more work to say pleaded. Pled, on the other hand, falls lightly from the tongue. I believe I have a pleadable case for the return of pled. I leave it to you, the jury, to return good old pled to use in reporting. Im pleading with you.

    By Chuck Varesko

  • November Brought Career Day Back to Nova

    Hunt Exits AFTRA Board

    On-air television and radio professionals discuss their careers. (l-r) Jamison Uhler, NBC-10, Aditi Roy, NBC-10, Spike, WYSP.


    to b

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    The Behind The Business panel front and center.

    On Saturday November 14, the Philadelphia Local of AFTRA in association with Villanova University presented the second Broadcast & Entertainment Industry Career Day on the campus of Villanova University.Communication, theater and film students from all Philadelphia-area colleges and members of AFTRA, SAG

    and Equity were invited to participate in an event focusing on the industry. Panel discussions included on-air television and radio professionals Spike Eskin (WYSP), Andie Summers (WXTU), Jamison Uhler and Aditi Roy (NBC10) discussing their careers and answering questions.

    Other panelists included local AFTRA President Catherine Brown (Content Producer NBC10), Jennifer Coleman (Writer, CBS3), Laura Duzen (Director), Bruce Graham (playwright, screenwriter) , Gregg Reid (Director, NBC10), Clinton Perry (Producer, WPHT) who shared their knowledge from inside the business. Local attorney Jacqueline Borock, local agent Gail Williams and casting director Diane Heery shared information from a talent representation perspective.

    Former Local VP Dan Hunt presented an innovative workshop that explored how talent in the broadcast and entertainment industry can promote and protect themselves.

    Dan Hunt at the podium during our 2009 Annual Meeting.

    After thirteen years on the Philadelphia Board of Directors, serving first in a freelance seat and later as VP of Freelance, Dan Hunt has stepped down to develop and pursue his interests in commercial ventures.

    Dan's legacy includes his coordination of the successful Metro Traffic organizing campaign, participation in numerous freelance organizing efforts, his role as a key contributor in planning two memorable AFTRA Conventions, and the presentation of two broadcast/entertainment seminars for Philadelphia

    area college students. In addition Dan was also instrumental in organizing Philadelphia AFTRAs participation in the national reading initiative, Read Across America.

    Dan's straightforward and practical style earned him the highest respect from members, staff and industry representatives. His enthusiasm and support for union principles was awarded in 2009 when he was presented with the Local's prestigious Bill Evans Award for service at the Local Annual Meeting in May.

  • National Organizer Comes to Philadelphia

    Broadcast Beat News from our shop stewards

    WXTUBy Andie Summers

    WIPBy Rob Charry

    NBC10/WCAUBy Catherine Brown

    Four more years of Angelo Cataldi, who has reupped to do the WIP morning show for four more. Angelo has been with WIP for over 20 years and at press time, the entire morning crew is getting ready for Wing Bowl 18, which somehow finds a way to top itself year after year. Though it has grown so large over the years that not a lot of work gets done around town on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the morning shows Al Morgantis attempt to get Mayor Nutter to make Wing Bowl a city-wide holiday in Philadelphia was rejected outright by the Mayor himself during a December 2009 in-studio appearance. Perhaps he shouldve lobbied the Governor.

    Leave it to WIP morning show contributor Joe Conklin to incorporate WIP offspring/newborns into his bits for the morning show. A recent Conklin classic featured midday host Anthony Garganos new son Anthony the 3rd -- November 11th, talking sports with the morning shows Rhea Hughes son Clarke (August 4th), using Conklins dead on impression of Bobby Clarke and Anthony The Cuz Gargano. You can sample Joes bits and find out when and where hes appearing next at:

    On a personal note, when I first became shop steward at WIP, I used to receive quarterly calls from Nat Wright for Sessions & Shifts, the previous AFTRA/SAG newsletter, in which he did a column on broadcast shops as a Contributing Editor. In between giving Nat background info about the comings and goings at WIP, Id engage him in conversation about the old days at WIP. When our longtime production engineer Harry Bickhardt was feted a few years ago at the station, Nat was among the former WIP personnel that came by to wish him well. Nat regaled a number of WIP air personalities with stories of the history of WIP. As shop

    steward at the oldest radio statio

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