TRN Hopes to Block Cumulus/Dial Global Merger
Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters tells Radio Ink he plans to file a formal objection with either the FCC or the Department of Justice over Cumulus' announced acquisition of Dial Global (now Westwood One). Almost exactly one year ago, Masters filed suit against Dial Global, alleging that it was a monopoly and engaged in anti-competitive actions. That lawsuit is still in the courts.
Last night, TRN released a statement reiterating its monopoly allegation and issuing a warning: "Dial Global must not be permitted to merge with Cumulus, for more reasons than can be expressed here. Antitrust and First Amendment rights are at stake." Radio Ink reached out to Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey and Westwood One CEO Paul Caine for comment; we had received no response as of the time this story went live.
On August 28, 2012, Masters said of Dial Global, "Our companies were initially Dial Global's most important clients. We brought some of America's most respected brands to Dial Global in their early days. We gave them long-term agreements and the most important quality necessary for business, our trust and good faith. However, sadly, today we begin the fight for the ethical soul of radio's independent spoken-word syndication markets -- on both the sales and content sides. Our goal is to see a healthy, newly reformed marketplace where all independent spoken-word syndicators can compete on an even plane."
In its statement last night, TRN alleged that over the past five years, Dial Global has engaged in a long list of illegal and unethical behavior, including failing to pay TRN its share of the advertising revenues generated by its programming. "We have detailed that conduct in two cases pending against Dial (and others) in federal court in Manhattan and Oregon," says the statement. "Dial's illegal conduct has continued recently, as it has refused even to pay to us our advertising revenues, which Dial collected as our ad rep. We believe that discovery in our actions will show that Dial's conduct was part of a deliberate strategy to acquire or destroy viable companies by interfering with revenue streams that Dial controls as a result of its monopoly power."
The TRN statement goes on to claim that Dial's history demonstrates that all members of the industry should be concerned about, and should act to prevent, Cumulus' proposed acquisition: "In our view, if the transaction goes forward, the combined company could dominate both the radio station platforms in the top 100 markets and the talk and news content for broadcast in those markets. At the same time, we are concerned that Dial's history of illegal and unethical conduct could infect Cumulus and affect the way the merged entity does business. The threat that this merger poses is not just to us. It is to every independent content provider, to many other members of the industry, and more generally to a vibrant marketplace of ideas on radio.
"We will continue to pursue our claims against Dial vigorously, and we will take all necessary actions to oppose Cumulus's proposed acquisition, including in our pending litigation with Dial, with appropriate governmental authorities, and in the media. We have heard from other members of the industry with similar concerns. Given the implications for others, we encourage all independent content providers and other affected members of the industry to rise up and express opposition in every proper forum."
(11/18/2013 11:40:59 PM) |
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(10/25/2013 2:31:48 AM) |
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(9/5/2013 5:35:16 PM) |
Once again, Mark Masters takes his ball and goes home crying like a little girl.
|- Joe Piazza|
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