The saga of Ed Stolz has been chronicled over the years in many ways. One YouTube video takes his side of his Royce International Broadcasting‘s sale of the former KWOD-FM 106.5 in Sacramento to Entercom — a deal he tried to reverse in September 1999 and has spent the last two decades trying time and again to negate.
Then, there’s the coverage in the broadcast media trade press regarding Royce’s failure in the mid-2010s to pay ASCAP royalty fees, resulting in a court order to pay more than $1.5 million to the composers, authors and publishers association.
In July 2020, Stolz’s situation worsened, as a California-based federal judge stripped Royce of its three FM properties — because Stolz hadn’t paid a dime to ASCAP following a July 2018 court ruling ordering him to do so.
Now, with his FMs in receivership, a new and unfortunate turn has emerged for Stolz. He’s been ordered to go to jail.
Riverside, Calif.-based California Central District Federal Judge Jesus G. Bernal on Wednesday (9/2) issued an order declaring Stolz in contempt of court and imposed sanctions on him, as the principal defendant in WB Music Corp. v. Royce International Broadcasting Corp.
That’s the case in which Bernal declared Royce, and Stolz, guilty of nonpayment of ASCAP royalties for songs played on his KRCK-FM 97.7 in Palm Springs, Calif.; Class A KREV-FM 92.7 in Alameda, Calif., with coverage of the city of San Francisco and Oakland; Class C KFRH-FM 104.3 in North Las Vegas, Nev. All three stations air a Top 40 music format.
In a three-page declaration, Bernal found Stolz in contempt of court “for his repeated, willfull and intentional violations of the Court’s orders.”
Much of the ruling is tied to a “Receiver’s Report Regarding Edward Stolz’s Failure to Comply with Court Orders.”
The receiver is Larry Patrick, Managing Partner of Patrick Communications, and he was selected by the music publishers on February 10 and affirmed in July by Judge Bernal. Since then, an August 4 Order to Show Cause and an August 17 hearing on the order were conducted by the court.
With no further recourse, Stolz “shall be jailed until he fully complies with the Court’s orders.”
Stolz must now surrender himself to the United States Marshals Service office
in Riverside no later than Noon PT on Sept. 11.
If Stolz fails to surrender, the Court will issue a bench warrant for his arrest without further notice.
Meanwhile, Stolz has been sanctioned $5,000 to compensate Patrick for his costs incurred in the contempt proceedings, including travel costs, conference room rental costs for the Order to Show Cause hearing, and his attorneys’ fees.
Payment is a pre-condition of his release from custody.
Although Royce is the licensee of KREV, KRCK and KFRH, Patrick in July gained the power to manage and the authority to take charge of the assets, including all business affairs. Patrick can also move ahead to hire and fire, as he sees fit, at each of the three FMs.
As receiver, Patrick gained the right to receive fees of $7,500 per month “plus reasonable travel expenses,” to be deducted from the gross receivables of the respective stations.
Ed Stolz’s compliance with the Court’s orders includes:
- all property deeds, land leases, colocation agreements, or other
similar contracts governing any office, studio, or transmission tower used
by Defendants’ radio stations
- all contracts for marketing support, programming, and other normal
course of business activities for each radio station
- the last three months’ statements from each and every bank account
that he, or any of the defendants, controls or has access to
- the federal tax identification numbers for each radio station
- the most recent payroll records for each of the radio stations
- all copies of keys to any station facility, including, but not limited to,
any office, studio, or transmission tower operated by any of the radio
KRCK-FM has been owned by Stolz since its sign-on. That had its own controversy, as CBS Radio accused Royce of violating copyright infringement law by deciding to call his new FM “K-Rock”; CBS at the time owned KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. Today, KRCK-FM boasts an HD2 signal airing a Talk format, and programming is simulcast at 98.1 MHz via K251BX.
Ownership of KREV came in 2009, as Royce acquired the property formerly known as KNGY-FM from Flying Bear Media for $6.5 million.
In Las Vegas, a 2009 transaction yielded Royce the former KCYE-FM — and, before that, KJUL-FM — in an arrangement that gave Beasley Media Group the facility at 102.7 MHz that had been KFRH and is now “Coyote Country.”
With the three FMs now in Patrick’s hands, Royce now owns but one property: Talk KBET-AM 790 in Las Vegas. The station was not put into receivership likely because it does not play music.