Alioto Law Firm To Lead TRN Antitrust Lawsuit Vs. Cumulus, Westwood One
April 20, 2016 at 7:29 AM (PT)
As reported earlier (NET NEWS, 4/11) TALK RADIO NETWORK has been joined by three other companies in suing CUMULUS MEDIA and WESTWOOD ONE, among other defendants, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for OREGON, claiming violations of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts, and multiple state law violations, and seeks divestment of assets, treble damages and other remedies.
Among the multiple attorneys representing the plaintiffs is antitrust attorney JOSEPH ALIOTO and the ALIOTO LAW FIRM, who will serve as lead attorneys. ALIOTO offered the following statement:
“This case is among the most egregious examples of anti-competitive abuses that true monopoly power can cause. My clients have been underpaid in some cases by as much as 99% on what should have been paid to them (receiving as little as one one-hundredth per listener as they previously received).
“By paying as little as one one-hundredth of what my clients were previously paid for the same programming in the years prior to Cumulus’ acquisition of WESTWOOD ONE, the CUMULUS/WESTWOOD ONE monopolies’ combined market power is not only devastating my clients, but the entire spectrum of independent spoken word national programming content producers in the U.S.”
“This monopoly abuse is so serious that it threatens to destroy the entire spoken word industry, for syndication, nationwide. CUMULUS’ management and WESTWOOD ONE’s management have functioned by simply substituting illegal and unethical behaviors for sound competent business practices and industry expertise. I will simply note two key points to illustrate this. In the 18 months prior to its acquisition by CUMULUS, WESTWOOD ONE lost over 90% of its shareholder value and faced delisting. Now the giant CUMULUS MEDIA itself has also lost approximately 90% of its share value, and is soon to be delisted.”
“It is imperative that the antitrust laws be enforced to stop such egregious monopoly behavior, so close to the First Amendment, which is so vital to the marketplace of ideas, and simultaneously save this industry that is so key to consumers, by breaking up the CUMULUS monopoly as quickly as possible. In the process, our victory will be a victory for not only my clients, but all independent syndicators, citizens, CUMULUS shareholders and CUMULUS debt holders as well.”
“Advertising is the life blood of Talk radio, and advertising restraints are a direct assault to snuff out competitive ideas. Favoritism towards affiliates and discrimination towards independents is anathema to the free enterprise system and challenges not only small businesses but ideas.”
TALK RADIO NETWORK ENTERPRISES Manager/CEO MARK MASTERS, lead Plaintiff, added: “Unlike Television (which is scripted by nature), Talk Radio is key to the First Amendment in that it's allows for the open expression of differing political views in radio, by callers and hosts. These unique freedoms that exist within talk radio must not be controlled by a select group.”