Cumulus Media and Westwood One have asked a U.S. District Court in Oregon to allow them to file under seal their request to toss an antitrust lawsuit brought against them and other content providers by Talk Radio Network. The motion also seeks to move the case from Oregon to the central California court that dismissed part of a similar suit against Westwood One predecessor Dial Global and other companies in 2013.
Cumulus asked the court to seal its motion because it includes a sales representation agreement that contains confidential terms.
Filed April 11, the TRN suit claims Cumulus and Westwood One monopolized the independent syndication ad rep market and abused their position as a rep firm to advance their own syndicated programming at the expense of TRN’s. As Inside Radio has previously reported, TRN alleges antitrust violations, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims.
Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, former Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey and Westwood COO Charles Steinhauer are also named as defendants.
The Mark Masters-run TRN brought a similar complaint against four rival radio syndicators in 2012, only to drop the suit in 2014.
The new complaint, which requests a trial by jury, seeks three times the amount of damages TRN claims it sustained, a declaration that the defendants violated antitrust laws and breached their contracts, and an injunction that prevents them from entering into any other “illegal, wrongful, improper or collusive agreements.” It also wants a ruling that requires the defendants to sell “all assets according such monopoly powers” so that they can’t operate as spoken-word content distributors while also providing ad sales representation to independent syndicators.