A Relationship Gone Horribly Astray
It's clear from the 38 page document filed Tuesday by TRN CEO Mark Masters against Dial Global (and others) Masters believes a relationship, a friendship with people he trusted was violated and his business has been significantly damaged. Talk Radio Networks syndicates Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and others and was using Dial Global to pitch its programs to affiliates. A relationship that started over a decade ago when, according to Masters, Dial did not have any competetive programs to pitch to stations. Today, Dial Global lists under its programming wing Dennis Miller, Michael Smerconish, Neal Boortz, Clarke Howard and others.
Masters alleges that Dial's power has grown to the point where they now compete with the very clients they rep, not only for content ownership - in violation of their original mission and inducements - but for their own clients' customers/radio station affiliates. He goes on to allege that he was "fradulently induced into committing a long term rep agreement by telling him they would never engage in conflict of interest then used that agreement to accomplish and fulfill their anti-competitive merger, acquisition and expansion schemes." Masters says he was "steadfact in his trusting loyalty to the Dial Group and in recommending the pre-behemoth to other spoken-word syndicators However, Dial used Masters as part of a plan to "roll-up the other rep firms. The other firms Masters is referring to are Jones Media in 2008 and Westwood One in 2011.
Masters also says he's requested an audit and has been denied by Dial Global. Masters wants to determine whether advertising revenue from packaged talk programming, sold to advertisers, was properly allocated. For example if Ford purchased time on Laura Ingram's show with TRN and time on another talk program with another vender that was sold by Dial Global, Masters wants to be able to look at the books to determine that the money was distributed properly.
Masters also alleges that Dial Global has been spreading false and defamatory statements and rumors about TRN and TRN shows and hosts at radio industry conferences and elsewhere. And, Masters says Dial Global claims some of TRN's programs are under the Dial Global wing. And that Dial is interfering with contract negtiations with TRN hosts.
We reached out to Dial Global several times on Tuesday for a comment about the filing. The company has not been officially served and had only read the filing after we forwarded to them. There's a possibility a statement from Dial Global will be made on Wednesday. It's also important to note that Dial Global has not been found guilty of anything.
Read the entire 38 page TRN filing HERE