In an odd twist that ended a court battle over a restraining order and non-compete clause to prevent Dan Reaves from appearing on talk WTJS (93.1) Jackson, TN, station owners Grace Broadcasting Services purchased Reaves’ former station, Wireless Group crosstown “Talk 101.5” WNWS-FM.
As earlier reported by Inside Radio, Reaves signed off of WNWS-FM on May 8, telling management he was pursuing interests outside of the radio industry, according to a farewell post on the station website. A week and a half later, he appeared on the “George B. in the Afternoon” show on WTJS to announce he was joining the station, where he would host 8-11am, the same slot he held at WNWS. Sears officially started at WTJS on Tuesday, May 26.
Wireless Group filed a temporary restraining order and took Grace Broadcasting Services and Reaves to court, with the host remaining on air throughout the proceedings. In the trial, Wireless Group argued that Reaves, who was also a top sales representative at the station, should be bound by a one-year non-compete contract. Reaves countered, saying the contract was a “memo” signed 20 years ago. According to the Jackson Sun, Judge Lyle Reid said Reaves' departure was “like losing a quarterback in the middle of the season.”
Five days before court appearance scheduled for July 13, the companies announced they came to an agreement: Grace Broadcasting would purchase WNWS-FM for an undisclosed price. Lacy Ennis, President of Grace Broadcasting said in court that he and Wireless Group President Carlton Viers have had previous conversations on partnerships or a transactions between the two groups. Those previous discussions never came to fruition because the companies couldn’t agree on a price.
No decisions have been made regarding programming changes on the stations once WNWS-FM is under Grace Broadcasting ownership. However, “Talk 101.5” afternoon host Keith Shirley has announced he is leaving, the Jackson Sun reports.