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Emmis files a lawsuit to keep D.L. Hughley at WRKS-FM and end deal with his agent
 
From Inside Radio
(January 12, 2010) Four months after launching his radio show on Emmis urban AC "Kiss FM" WRKS, New York (98.7), D.L. Hughley has yet to collect all the money he and his production company believe they're due from syndicator URBan Radio Communications (URC).  Emmis has gone to court looking to dump the syndicator but keep the host.

Last Friday, Hughley's attorneys told WRKS and URBan Radio that the actor-comedian had enough and he'd done his last show.  His attorneys allege Hughley had only been paid for expenses and is due nearly $360,000 -- including a $72,000 signing bonus.  Emmis says it was able to quickly reach a deal with Hughley to keep him on WRKS while the pay dispute is ironed-out in an effort to limit its potential losses.

In the meantime, Emmis has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asking a judge to declare its agreement with URBan Radio void, arguing the company failed to provide the promised programming.  Under the terms of its three-year affiliation contract with Emmis, Hughley's show was to get $200,000 of marketing support during the first 12 months paid for by URBan Radio.  But Emmis alleges in its suit, the syndicator "has not provided any."  It's another issue the company hopes to use to get out of the Hughley contract.  Emmis is also seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages.

URBan CEO Kevin Wagner tells Inside Radio, "It's not our policy to comment on matters of this nature, but I can say that all the facts have not been expressed in the documents filed and we're confident that we can prove our position in a court of law."

Court documents show Hughley had plans beyond the New York market, as many observers had believed.  The affiliation agreement spells out how many days a week he'll broadcast from WRKS "in an effort to enhance the local perception of the show."  It also says any network distribution or engineering costs "required to syndicate the program" would be covered by URBan Radio.


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