Spanish Broadcasting System Sues Grupo Radio Centro For 'Poaching' KLAX (La Raza 97.9)/L.A.'s El Ratón For KXOS
February 12, 2016 at 4:05 AM (PT)
SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM, INC., SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM OF FLORIDA, INC. and SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM OF CALIFORNIA, INC. are suing GRUPO RADIO CENTRO LA, LLC in U.S. District Court for the Central District of CALIFORNIA, alleging that GRC is "conducting a sharp campaign to poach SBS employees," in particular host MARTIN ROMERO HERNANDEZ ("EL RATÓN"), for Regional Mexican KXOS (RADIO CENTRO 93.9)/LOS ANGELES.
The contentiously-worded complaint charges GRC with signing EL RATÓN away from SBS Regional Mexican KLAX (97.9 LA RAZA)/LOS ANGELES despite his being under contract with SBS until 2020, using a "pirate's timing" to launch the show on KXOS just after an over-$1.1 million marketing campaign by KLAX promoted his show throughout the LOS ANGELES area. The suit notes KXOS' previous hires from SBS, including host RICARDO "EL MANDRIL" SÁNCHEZ, SBS CALIFORNIA VP/Corporate Sales BILL SHADORF (who, SBS alleges, knew the terms of SBS employment contracts and used them to become "a leader in GRC's poaching campaign team"), and several more employees during 2015 and 2016.
In the complaint, SBS says that EL RATÓN's contract with SBS called for a five-year term with a base salary of $125,000 and bound him to SBS through JANUARY 2020; the complaint states that he then resigned on JANUARY 21st of this year and in his letter referenced a competing offer that he gave SBS an opportunity to match, which it says it did in an increased offer EL RATÓN accepted. However, he then, according to SBS, "blew off the scheduled meeting at which he was supposed to sign the Second Amendment" (the raise), and "when cornered ... confessed that he had given his word to FRANCISCO AGUIRRE, the putative owner of GRC, and (KXOS PD) Mr. (ANTONIO) COVARRUBIAS, his former SBS boss, and that he intended to follow MANDRIL, SHADORF, COVARRUBIAS and the long line of former SBS employees to GRC." EL RATÓN then resigned via TWITTER, followed by the rest of his morning show crew.
SBS is seeking punitive damages on all counts, including intentional interference with contractual relations, inducement of breach of contract, and unfair competition.