Nashville Radio Station Accused of “Kowtowing” to a Larger Client, Defamed and Disparaged

Nashville Radio Station Accused of “Kowtowing” to a Larger Client, Defamed and Disparaged

John Haggard

Always want to be very careful about what you are saying about your competition. Whether or not this lawsuit has merit, there are lessons to learn. From Tom Taylor NOW Radio’s Daily Management Newsletter (Oct 13, 2014): The September 26 NOW Newsletter carried the story about advertiser Service Jewelry claiming that Cumulus defamed and disparaged it to please another client, who spends more money. The problem occurred with some ad-libbing by a Cumulus personality who said that Genesis Diamonds was selling “hyped-up grades” of diamonds at “greatly inflated prices.” In fact, that’s what a WSMV television I-Team report had claimed, but the radio patter went past the guidelines that Service Jewelry had discussed with Cumulus sales management and the talent. Genesis allegedly complained to Cumulus, leading to what Service claims was “a false and defamatory apology,” blaming Service Jewelry for supplying bad copy points. Service also claims that Cumulus threatened WWTN (99.7) personality Michael DelGiorno with termination if he didn’t broadcast the apology. Now we’ve got the Cumulus response, and – not surprisingly – it denies the claims. Cumulus was able to get this case moved from Davidson County Court to federal court, and it starts out by asserting that the plaintiff is suing the wrong party. It says Nevada-based subsidiary Cumulus Broadcasting owns talk WWTN, not Cumulus Media. It further says that Service Jewelry “failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted,” and that “to the extent it sustained any alleged injury, it was the fault of plaintiff or third parties not named in this litigation.” Basically, it’s the “not-us” defense. Service Jeweler alleged that Genesis could be a $1 million advertiser for Cumulus, and that Cumulus leaned over backwards to placate the bigger client.