Bidding a Happy Farewell to Noncompetes for News Talent

One of the struggles top TV news talent agents in the country face is helping their clients be more mobile in their existing markets where they often want to stay.

Part of what makes this such a challenge is the existence of noncompete agreements (NCAs).

So TV news talent agents (along with TV news anchors, reporters, meteorologists, and sportscasters) who see these noncompetes as hopelessly outdated are thrilled that the Federal Trade Commission opted to promote competition by banning noncompetes nationwide on April 23rd, 2024. While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is challenging it, the industry is holding out hope for the FTC’s ruling.

The Faulty View of Noncompetes for News Talent

The question of the efficacy and necessity of NCAs has been a hot-button topic in the media industry.

Some still feel that noncompetes for TV news jobs are crucial for stations and media companies to protect their investment in talent onboarding, training, and other professional development. They don’t want competitors to benefit from this.

Yet, when used effectively, rivalry can actually help stations retain their talent. When there is rivalry, employees are not eager to join ranks with “the enemy” or their enemies’ allies because they have a bond with their own station.

Another argument for keeping NCAs has been that employees who sign NCAs can negotiate higher raises in return for their loyalty. But researchers from the FTC, and Duke and Ohio State Universities say this isn’t the case. Those with NCAs typically have lower salaries. This is especially true for female and Black talent.

The elimination of NCAs would likely lead to needed salary readjustments.

Moving Away from NCAs Is a Good Thing

The FTC’s ruling on noncompetes is evidence that the media industry needs to prioritize talent development, as well as employee engagement.

Noncompete agreements have, in the past, been a means for fixing management shortcomings or holding onto employees in demanding work environments. Their restrictive nature, however, often leads TV news reporters, anchors, and meteorologists to believe there are better opportunities somewhere else.

The banning of NCAs would almost certainly reshape the dynamics of acquiring talent now. NCAs require stations to hire more inexperienced people or those with less relevant skills. Without NCAs, however, talent would have more mobility. And this is a boon for TV news talent agents as well.

At the end of the day, if the FTC’s ruling stands, TV news stations and media companies will need to step up and invest in creating a more positive work environment that not only draws but retains top talent. This includes providing highly individualized incentives, opportunities for professional development, and promoting from within the company.

Once they do this, they will be able to more effectively rely on the loyalty of their top talent while also attracting previously NCA-trapped workers from other stations. This will give them an edge in the war on talent.

And yes, that IS a good thing.

It’s an Exciting Time for TV News Talent

Whether you’re a TV news reporter or anchor, a sportscaster or meteorologist, the banning of noncompetes for news talent will be good news for you. So if you’re not happy with your current position, it’s time to consider a move.

Additionally, if you’re not happy with your current agent – or you don’t yet have one – now is the ideal time to reach out to us. Our agents’ extensive and wide-spanning connections with news directors and station managers around the country will give you the competitive edge.

So let’s see what’s out there!