Radio station sues, seeking damages in Limbaugh switch

December 22, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

Rush Limbaugh may be changing Baltimore radio stations next month, but the outlet he's jilting wants him to pay for the move.

WCBM-AM (680) announced yesterday it has filed a breach of contract suit in Baltimore County Circuit Court asking $1 million in damages from Mr. Limbaugh's syndicate, EFM Media, Inc., and Hearst Broadcasting/WBAL-AM (1090). The Limbaugh show, heard on more than 600 stations nationally, is due to premiere Jan. 3 on local talk leader WBAL.

The suit contends that WCBM last spring negotiated with EFM to guarantee exclusive rights to the show through May, 1994.

Spokeswomen at both WBAL and EFM Media in New York had no comment on the lawsuit.

WCBM officials said they are not seeking to block "The Rush Limbaugh Show" from airing on WBAL. The show has been heard on WCBM from noon to 3 p.m. since December, 1990.

The station had protested to EFM when they learned the syndicate was talking to WBAL last fall, said Sean Casey, general manager of WCBM. But, he said, "it is clear they do not want to continue their association with us."

Rather than attempt to block the move, said Joseph LaVerghetta, attorney for the station, the lawsuit seeks monetary damages.

"They have spent an awful lot of money toward promoting that show," he said. "We're not going to continue with a contract that's being dishonored by them."

Mr. Casey also noted "The Rush Limbaugh Show" is heard live on WCBM, which permits local listeners to attempt to call in; on WBAL it is scheduled to be heard on a tape-delay basis, from 1 to 4 p.m.

At a news conference yesterday, the station announced a new daily lineup, effective Jan. 3, which includes the addition of a show featuring host Alan Keyes, who has twice run as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland.

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