Former Cumulus Host Takes The Stand In Non-Compete Court Case
May 27, 2016 at 4:09 AM (PT)
Former CUMULUS MEDIA WHNN (96.1)/SAGINAW-BAY CITY-MIDLAND, MI morning show host JOHNNY BURKE took to the witness stand in federal court for two hours on WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, as proceedings for a counter-lawsuit by CUMULUS that argues he violated his employment contract.
In JANUARY (NET NEWS 1/15), ALL ACCESS reported then CUMULUS MEDIA Classic HIts WHNN was dropping its format for an AC-style "music from the '80s, '90 and today" playlist. Longtime iconic morning show hosts JOHNNY BURKE and BLONDIE exited the station.
But the exit was not a quiet one, as the duo wanted to continue their show.
MLIVE.COM reports CUMULUS, "filed suits in APRIL against BURKE and his partner BLONDIE, whose real name is BONNIE BELGER-HOLZHEI, saying the duo was in violation of non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in their employment agreements they entered into with CUMULUS and/or CITADEL BROADCASTING." The report notes, "The countersuit comes after BURKE, 61, and BELGER-HOLZHEI, 53, filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against their former employer. BURKE, who was the voice of the radio station for the past 25 years, and BELGER-HOLZHEI were fired in JANUARY when the station underwent a format change. After being fired, they launched a live-streaming show online and on social media called JOHNNY AND BLONDIE LIVE."
In court WEDNESDAY, U.S. District Judge THOMAS L. LUDINGTON, SAGINAW attorney VICTOR MASTROMARCO JR., who is representing BURKE and BELGER-HOLZHEI and BIRMINGHAM attorney THOMAS PAXTON, who is representing CUMULUS, came to a settlement that agreed that CUMULUS, "wouldn't pursue a non-compete violation lawsuit against BURKE because the company would have been obligated to pay him six months of his $125,000 contracted salary. PAXTON said the company would continue to pursue the non-compete violation part of the lawsuit against BELGER-HOLZHEI, who received an annual salary of $31,200 while employed by WHNN, according to court documents."