Michael Savage (Michael Weiner) sued Talk Radio Network in Federal Court, trying to get out of renewing his contract, which Talk Radio Network says it exercised its right to match the competing offer. His contract with TRN expires at 12/31. Savage says he’s been offered a better syndication deal from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Radio, his consulting firm for Westwood One. It would be distributed and sold by Westwood One. Pattiz could not be reached for comment. We spoke to TRN CEO Mark Masters, but he did not care to add to his press release. We also emailed Michael Savage.
Chris Miller, Westwood One Chief Marketing Officer tells RBR-TVBR: “Westwood One and Courtside think Michael Savage would make a valuable addition to our talent lineup. We made an offer, and now Michael Savage and TRN are working it out in the courts. We will abide by the court’s decision.”
The suit claims TRN “is attempting to force Dr. Savage into accepting a substandard agreement containing what can only be described as an indentured servitude provision.”
Savage says TRN’s offer “does not match the terms of the Courtside proposal.” Savage claims the Talk Radio offer not only falls short in terms of financial upside, but it includes anti-competitive provisions that are illegal, limits his negotiating rights, and imposes additions terms that are not contained in the Courtside proposal.
Savage claims his contract with Talk Radio “contains provisions that are illegal and unenforceable,” and that Talk Radio is “attempting to use those provisions to force Dr. Savage to sign an agreement he is not interested in, and to force him into an arbitration that wholly ignores his due process rights.”
He claims the deal from Courtside is “valued at several million dollars,” according to Courthouse News Service, and he could lose it if “forced to submit to an illegal arbitration.” He seeks a declaration that Talk Radio failed to match Courtside’s proposal, that the matching proposal in his contract “has an indefinite term and is therefore unenforceable,” and that the arbitration provision also is illegal and unenforceable.
“We could not be happier about continuing to work with Michael to increase the visibility and reach of The Michael Savage Show,” said Masters. “Michael is one of the top talents in talk radio today, and his engaging style and brilliant analysis make him a must-listen for Americans from coast to coast.”
He added that he will hold him to his contract. “Michael’s lawsuit against us is unjustified and frivolous,” explained Masters. “Michael’s contract is crystal clear, and we are 100% confident that the courts will justify our position. The Michael Savage Show will remain on the air with TRN.”
The Michael Savage Show airs Live Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. PST (6 p.m. – 9 p.m. EST).
RBR-TVBR observation: Bottom line, whether or not the logistics of both offers are indeed a “match” (there are many factors in a talk radio contract) will be determined in court. Mark Masters helped bring Savage to the level of fame –and clearances– he’s at today. He has also stood by him during advertiser boycotts and protests against his show by groups including GLAAD and CAIR. We’re not sure what could have caused a problem with the two, however it could simply be about the money and the package, from what we hear.