Musicians Union Hires New Electronic Media Executive

4:00 PM PST 03/06/2014 by Jonathan Handel
Courtesy of AFM
Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas becomes the director of the AFM’s Electronic Media Services Division.

The sound of music is drawing Bill Thomas back to the union world. The veteran AFTRA and SAG-AFTRA executive, who retired from the merged union’s staff  in 2012, has been appointed assistant to the president and Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) director, joining the AFM’s West Coast office as a senior staffer.

“Bill Thomas brings years of accomplished, result-oriented media relations experience to the table and I bid him a hearty welcome to our team,” said AFM president Ray Hair. “As we transition toward a more open, action-oriented organizing approach to the problems faced by professional musicians in the world of global media, I believe Thomas is the right person, at the right time, to direct the Electronic Media Services Division of American Federation of Musicians.”

Thomas brings more than two decades of senior level media industry executive experience to the Federation, most recently as executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of AFTRA, now SAG-AFTRA, a post he held from 2006 until 2012. Prior to his service with AFTRA and SAG-AFTRA, Thomas was assistant to the vp and chief of staff of ASCAP’s New York office for 14 years.

Former assistant to the president and EMSD director Dick Gabriel retired Jan. 16, after more than 35 years of service to Local 47 (Los Angeles), the AFM and AFM members throughout the U.S. and Canada. Gabriel had had a long career serving the interests of recording musicians, first as a recording representative with Local 47 during the mid-1970s, then as head of the AFM West Coast office, and later as EMSD director, assisting every AFM president from Victor Fuentealba onward. Gabriel will continue to serve as a consultant to the AFM.

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