Emmis vs URBan Radio In D.L. Hughley Fight

The lawsuits continue to fly surrounding the D.L. Hughley Morning Show. URBan Radio Communications who served as the show’s syndicator in an effort to roll out the show nationally, filed a multimillion lawsuit against Emmis, claiming the owner of Hughley’s flagship station WRKS KISS FM New York, “wrongfully interfered” with the host’s contractual relationship with his syndicator. URBan says it’s also due at least $800,000 in promised inventory on the station. Under the initial three-year agreement, URBan was allocated a specified amount of ad time per week on WRKS but says it’s yet to receive any of the promised inventory. URBan believes it still has a valid contract with Hughley even though he told the company in January their deal was off. Emmis had previously filed a suit claiming that Hughley’s agreement with URBan was void, arguing that the company failed to provide programming and marketing support for the show promised by URBan, clearing the way for it to strike a deal with the morning man directly. Emmis says it was just trying to protect the investment made in building the host on the station. But URBan alleges Emmis is trying to “cut out” their role “so that they can divide the benefits.” URBan seeks $2.5 million in punitive damages on top of what it’s after in ad inventory proceeds. URBan is asking Judge Shira Scheindlin to dismiss Emmis’ suit — or indefinitely block it from negotiating with Hughley. To date, URBan has not filed suit against Hughley, who claims he’s received none of the promised pay. In a series of court documents, URBan insists it’s met all its obligations, calling Hughley’s argument that the contract is void “completely meritless” and the allegation that he’s due nearly $360,000 “false.”  URBan says “protracted negotiations” have been ongoing with both distributors and affiliates to create a nationally syndicated radio show— but Hughley apparently wasn’t happy with the pace of his rollout.

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