CBS Radio, Merlin Exchange Not-So-Love Letters Over 'Fresh'
July 19, 2011 at 4:46 PM (PT)
Have your popcorn at the ready? The first salvos of what promises to be a lively radio skirmish have been lobbed back and forth between CBS RADIO and MERLIN MEDIA in CHICAGO. At issue is MERLIN's use of the word "FRESH" ... see this earlier story from today (NET NEWS 7/19).
CBS Asst. General Counsel LAUREN MARCELLO fired off a letter to MERLIN MEDIA COO WALTER SABO regarding "Infringement of CBS RADIO Property." Citing CBS RADIO exclusive trademarks of FRESH FMM FRESH 102.7, FRESH MUSIC & VIDEOS, as well as pending applications for FRESH, FRESH COUNTRY, etc., MARCELLO "writes to object to MERLIN MEDIA's unauthorized use of FRESH in connection with its station WKQX in CHICAGO."
Due to that the word's "longstanding and prominent use" by CBS, the counsel accuses MERLIN of "Incorporating 'FRESH' without authorization from CBS RADIO," which they believe is "trademark infringement and unfair competition." Therefore, CBS RADIO demands that WKQX "cease and desist" using "FRESH" as part of its moniker.
Since RANDY MICHAELS has rarely if ever been mistaken for a shrinking violet, the response from MERLIN was typically sober and contrite ... as it was written by "THE MERLIN MARLIN," the station mascot.
"I’m writing to assure you that we did not use any of those marks on the air," MICHAELS -- er, THE MERLIN MARLIN wrote. "We simply described our station as 'fresh and new.' Fresh is not the name of our station. We know that one of your stations in CHICAGO has been using that name, but it's our understanding that the name hasn’t worked out well for you, and that you have announced your intention to abandon the name 'FRESH' on AUG 1st [when News WBBM-A begins simulcasting on the frequency]. For that and other reasons, we do not intend to name our station FRESH."
To further help CBS RADIO's counsel in her litigious pursuits, the writer recommended two CHICAGO business concerns -- a catering service and a beauty supply house -- that currently use the word "FRESH" in their offerings. "There are hundreds of other businesses in CHICAGO using the word 'FRESH' in their marketing," the letter went on. "We don’t plan to be one of them.
"We hope this clears up any concern you may have about us using the name you don’t want anymore. We don’t want it either. Have a nice day!"
And peace reigned in the valley. As for CHICAGO ... ehhhhhhhhh ... stay tuned!