A jury in federal court agreed with music licensing organization SESAC that WOLD-FM Marion VA was playing music from the SESAC catalog after allowing the contract between the station and the organization to lapse.
T.E.C.2 Broadcasting and principal Thomas E. Copenhaver were rung up for $276,000 by the jury. SESAC says it will pursue further compensation for legal and other costs.
The station is a Class A on 102.5 MHz with 440 W @ 1,204’, It serves an area northeast of the Bristol portion of the Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol TN-VA market. It calls itself The Renegade and plays a Classic Rock format.
T.E.C.2 acquired the station from Emerald Sound for $500K in a deal filed by the FCC 1/30/08. According to SESAC, the new owner picked up a SESAC contract along with the other station assets, but allowed it to lapse in 2010, claiming it did not use anything in the SESAC repertory. SESAC and the jury felt otherwise.
SESAC’s Senior Counsel of Licensing Operations Jonathan Farmer, stated, “Lawsuits are the absolute last resort for SESAC when all other avenues of compromise and reason have failed. SESAC is willing to work with any unlicensed radio station to secure proper authorization and avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit which will cost the station considerably more than simply obtaining a SESAC license agreement.”