by Geraldo Rivera | Dec 10, 2015
It is with regret and frustration that today I filed a lawsuit against Cumulus Media, the financially troubled company that owns 77 WABC Radio. The company produced and aired my talk show in New York and on the web for four years until November 24th, when they locked me out of my studio although my contract does not expire until December 31st.
In a nutshell, the dispute began when the new management of the company reneged on a 2016 deal the former management had negotiated. The news of Cumulus' breach was delivered to me on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, when I was still in Europe covering the tragic events in Paris that had brushed even my family's life days earlier. That was just one example of the corporate rudeness that is the principal reason I am filing this action.
Appointed by hedge fund investors to take over a deflating company, and with no broadcast experience, one of the first actions of the new CEO Mary Berner was to evict me unceremoniously from my studio/office. Although she later apologized and claimed no knowledge of the obvious disrespect, the subsequent actions under her management only compound my impression that Cumulus now confuses a lack of manners with toughness.
Now, her team has struck a blow against editorial, philosophical and ethnic diversity in AM radio in New York, removing from the air the program the 'Village Voice' voted the best AM radio show in town in 2014. Moreover, this and other actions by new management have not helped their bottom line. The stock price, which was .68 when Ms. Berner took over on September 29th, sunk to .29 today, a drop of about 58%. Hopefully, Cumulus will survive. There are some terrific and talented people who work at their various and far flung properties. I wish them the best. Meantime, I'll find another spot on radio run by management, which doesn't confuse rudeness with strength.