Wednesday, April 13, 2016

TRN Sues Cumulus, WWOne

Talk Radio Networks has filed an antitrust complaint against Cumulus Media and its Westwood One network. The claim is that the companies monopolized the independent syndication ad rep market and abused their position as a rep firm to advance their own syndicated programming at the expense of TRN’s.

In a sensational, 44-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oregon, TRN alleges antitrust violations, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims.

InsideRadio reports Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, former Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey and Westwood COO Charles Steinhauer are also named as defendants.

The suit accuses all of the named parties of conspiracy to monopolize, unlawful agreements in restraint of trade and various other claims.

The Mark Masters-run network brought a similar complaint against four rival radio syndicators in 2012, only to drop the suit in 2014.

The new complaint argues that Westwood One used mergers, acquisitions and collusive agreements to monopolize the independent national syndication ad rep market.  The suit, which requests a trial by jury, seeks three times the amount of damages TRN claims it sustained, a declaration that the defendants violated antitrust laws and breached their contacts, and an injunction that prevents them from entering into any other “illegal, wrongful, improper or collusive agreements.”

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