Blaming all the company’s problems on Dial Global and not itself, the company shut down the America’s Radio News Network as of Friday, September 6 and is currently sending its Talk programming to affiliates until they find replacement programming. Nowhere does Masters address the comments by many of its employees regarding the termination of their employeent.
The remainder of TRN’s programming will continue unaffected as of now.
Are you Dial Global’s (Westwood One’s) Next Victim?
The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry. Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others. If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.
If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.
Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One. We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole. Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly. The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.
We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now. We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time. But this is a horse of a different color. Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition ([email protected]) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice ([email protected] or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products. As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint, and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.
DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN
The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN. Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood. ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.
AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS
All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood. That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions. As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible. However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded. Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.
CALL TO ACTION!
If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly: http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf
Media giant Mark Masters is suspending operations at the Oregon-based Talk Radio Network, which launched “The Michael Savage Show” and other high profile programming. The company has been refusing to communicate with staff and they are not issuing final paychecks to talent across the network. The company will not even confirm that we are no longer under contract with them. They are simply ignoring pleas for answers. I have heard through a phone call that the staff of America’s Morning News (100+ affiliates) has been told not to report to work Monday morning. Those stations (and possibly hundreds more) will check the satellite for their usual programming on Monday and get silence.
As many of us were 1099 contractors, we are not eligible for unemployment. Many of us are owed two months of pay at the termination of our contracts. One of those good people is a cancer patient who might not be able to afford her health insurance and treatments.
We need help and I hope someone hears our story.I would prefer to remain anonymous, but someone can reach me at [email protected] I have others who can collaborate on this story. Thanks for your consideration.
Rumors about the demise of TRN began popping up on Friday following a report at Talkers.com. Mark Masters, CEO of Talk Radio Network, claimed there were many inaccuracies in that report, but that a full statement would not be released until Monday. TRN programming includes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Mancow, and Monica Crowley. They also own the America’s Radio News Network that produces long-form news blocks for stations. If you carry any of their programming it might be worth preparing alternate solutions in-case there is nothing produced to air in the coming days.
TRN has seen a rash of high profile talent departures recently. Michael Savage departed for Cumulus last year after winning a lawsuit against the company. Laura Ingraham left for Courtside Entertainment And Phil Hendrie, whose show was syndicated by TRN until moving to WYM Media Management/Dial Global earlier this year tweeted the following:
At the risk of being sued for saying this, the failure of TRN is the direct result of the disastrous leadership of Mark Masters
— Phil Hendrie (@realphilhendrie) September 8, 2013
Talk Radio Network has been very vocal about its issues with Dial Global in particular. TRN head Mark Masters sued Dial Global last year; alleging monopolistic practices and anti-trust violations. That led to TRN moving its ad sales and affilate relations to Sun Broadcast Group in Februrary. The company was the first to come out against the pending Cumulus/Dial Global merger.
We’ll be monitoring this closely and updating as further information becomes available.