Wednesday, February 11, 2015

L-A Radio: Judge Grants Emmis Restraining Order Vs. Big Boy

Kurt 'Big Boy' Alexander
Emmis Radio/Los Angeles has won a temporary restraining order keeping its morning personality Big Boy from crossing the Street to iHeartMedia's new Rhythmic Top40  Real 92.3 FM.

Another hearing is set for March 3, 2015.

Last week, Emmis filed suit against Kurt Alexander, also known as “Big Boy” on its KPWR 106.7 FM /Power 106 for breach of contract.  Emmis was seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction in addition to millions of dollars in damages.  In its suit Emmis stated it first discovered the 45-year-old Alexander working as a body guard more than 20 years ago, and has invested substantially over the years in helping him develop into the star that he is today.

Emmis’ complaint, filed in Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Central District, asserted that Alexander, who remains under contract to Emmis through February 28, 2015, breached his employment agreement by failing to honor its “right of first refusal” provision to match an offer from an Emmis competitor.  Under the terms of Alexander’s employment agreement, he specifically agreed that if he received an offer from an Emmis competitor – and Emmis agreed to provide employment on terms “substantially similar” to the competitor – Alexander would enter into a new and exclusive employment agreement with Emmis, and would not move to a competitor radio station.

Despite acknowledging Emmis’ matching offer, Alexander turned his back on his radio home of more than 20 years and planned to move to a Los Angeles-area radio station operated by iHeartMedia (believed to be its freshly-launched Real 92.3 FM, a direct competitor to Emmis).

Emmis has issued a statement saying,  “We are pleased with the Court’s ruling, and look forward to continuing to make our case to protect Emmis and our rights under our employment agreement with Big Boy.”

The iHM offer reportedly drives up Big Boy's contract worth from $1.6M to $3.5M.  There have also been reports that iHM promised Big Boy 'the world'. Its deal supposedly included use of a private plane, cars and  incentives.  Market watchers say even if Big Boy stayed with Emmis, iHM effectively would have burdened Emmis with a much higher salary expense.  iHM has not commented.

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