Monday, May 6, 2013

Fed Judge Upholds Michael Savage Arbitration Award

Michael Savage (WND)
In a ruling that is being compared to the case that led to free agency in baseball, a federal judge in California upheld an arbitration panel’s decision to release talk-radio host Michael Savage from a contract with his former syndicator, Talk Radio Network.

“Michael is to talk radio what Curt Flood was to Major League Baseball,” Attorney Dan Horowitz told WND, referring to the player who challenged baseball’s reserve clause, which kept a player bound to his team even after fulfillment of his contract.

Savage told WND the ruling “should free talent from the threats and extortionist behavior of ruthless Old-Hollywood types who can still be found in the corners of the radio industry.”

“For me, personally, it finalizes a struggle to perform for my audience in an atmosphere of freedom, not working on a ‘radio plantation,’” he said.

Read the federal court order, Click Here.

Horowitz noted that the arbitration panel and the court completely rejected any claims by TRN against Savage.  The judges ruling confirms an arbitration panel awarding Savage $863,454.92, plus all other money from withheld earnings and permanent ownership of all his archived radio shows.

He said Savage’s victory establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.

Radio hosts, he explained, have been bound by restrictive clauses in their contracts that treat them like businesses instead of regular employees. The law, therefore, has allowed the networks to enforce non-compete agreements with radio hosts that would be illegal if applied to individual employees.

Savage filed the suit in December 2010 regarding his contract, alleging the network used “illegal and unenforceable contract provisions” and “other strong-armed tactics” to intimidate him and force him into accepting a “sub-standard agreement.”

The decision enabled Savage to sign with Cumulus Media Networks in October, which now airs “The Savage Nation” from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Mark Masters, CEO of the Original Talk Radio Network, tells WND: “We are appealing this ruling. We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.”

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