Thursday, March 3, 2011

3.3.11 Bee-otch of the Day: Citadel Broadcasting








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Name: Citadel Broadcasting
Age: 27
Occupation: media giant
Last Seen: Las Vegas
Bee-otched For: royally screwing over one of its former jocks
 
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During the holidays, Citadel Broadcasting did one of the most-idiotic things any company could ever do just before Christmas: fire an employee. 

And it wasn't just any employee, it was well-loved WMMQ 94.9 Lansing morning man Rich Michaels.
We wrote about how idiotic Michaels' firing was, and it's the third most-read story on our Blogspot site of all time. Michaels was canned just 10 days before the holiday despite good ratings at the Lansing classic rocker.
In his place is Kevin Matthews, whose show originates at fellow classic rocker WLAV here in Grand Rapids, with the last hour of the show co-hosted by washed-up 1990's rocker Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe. 

Now, the mess between Michaels and Citadel's gonna get messy. 

Michaels has told the trade magazine All Access that Citadel and Hanlon are preventing him from making a living because he was forced to sign a one-year non-compete. "I had no choice but to sign one of those one-year non-competes, against my better judgment," said Michaels. "Now, I'm like kryptonite because nobody wants to engage litigation. And it isn't as easy as driving 60 miles away to another market because Citadel has locked up much of Michigan." 

Citadel owns radio stations in Lansing, Grand Rapids/Muskegon, Flint/Tri Cities and Detroit. Recently, it was announced that it may merge with Cumulus for $2.6 billion, which would increase its footprint to Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Ann Arbor as well. Currently, the only rated radio market without either Citadel or Cumulus is Traverse City, whose radio stations - save for Minot, ND-based Northern Broadcast - are locally owned.
Now, Michaels has turned to his website, www.richmichaels.com for help. On there, he has released this statement: 

"Why am I not on the air?  Citadel Broadcasting  (94.9 WMMQ, 100.7 WITL, 99.1 WFMK, 97.5 Now Fm, WJIM 1240am & 730 WVFN) replaced my Lansing Show, to save money, with a simulcast Grand Rapids radio show.  President Matt Hanlon told my attorney that they, in effect, plan to destroy my ability to earn an income in my career of 30 years; to keep me off all airwaves for one year.  They understand that my returning to another radio station will vastly affect their sales.  A couple years ago as the economy was crashing, Matt Hanlon from the Grand Rapids Office forced employees to sign an outrageous non-compete of one year - or one would lose their job immediately. While doing so, they erased severance agreements which would have given some small recompense.  In effect, Citadel rewards it's top notch officers like CEO Farid Suleman and COO Judy Ellis and Grand Rapids President Matt Hanlon with hundreds of millions of dollars in money and stock options - even after a corporate bankruptcy - while they, in effect, turn their employees into slaves.  So to answer all the questions and your email as to why I am off the air - for the moment - Citadel intimidates competitors and former employees with the fear of corporate litigation in order to prevent a working man or woman from obtaining the ability to feed their children; destroying lives, forcing bankruptcies, loss of homes, etc. My case now has 2 law firms, several former judges and the State of Michigan involved.  Except I have no way to PAY them. Things are developing. Meanwhile, Citadel ITSELF is now under a hostile takeover by another broadcast company. Sorry I can't elaborate more. If this sounds like an injustice, trust that I am trying to simply return to work."
-Rich Michaels

Michaels has even posted the phone numbers and e-mail addresses to Hanlon, Suleman and Ellis:

Matt Hanlon - matt.hanlon@citcomm.com  616-774-8461
Judy Ellis - judy.ellis@citcomm.com  212-887-1664
Farid Suleman - farid.suleman@citcomm.com   212-887-1670

As for Hanlon himself, he hasn't made any comments to All Access or anybody else regarding Michaels' situation.

Ya know folks, this is why I won't work in radio. It's the mismanagement created by Suleman, Ellis and Hanlon that caused Citadel into bankruptcy. It wasn't Rich Michaels' fault since his show had loyal sponsors and was making money. But with a jerk like Hanlon running the show, that's what you get.

I've never listened to Rich Michaels' radio program, but I'm rooting for him. I root for almost anybody who's worked for Hanlon and lost, especially those willing to share their stories. I've heard a few stories and they're not nice. Even worse, I'm still pissed at the Grand Rapids "News" for painting a nice, lily white picture of him and his family. Nowhere in the article does it talk about how he screwed over people like Howard Stern, Bill Walters, Mark "The Head" Feurie, and multiple others, or how he screwed over KLQ and their listeners by canning almost everybody and replacing them with bad morning shows (ie Justice and Jim or Ron and Don) and godawful talent (ie Darren Arriens or Michael Gay - er, Grey). Instead, it's LAV's Blues on the Mall or that retarded downtown ball drop complete with shitty emo bands like Good Charlotte or those fags that did "Hey There Delilah". 

Point is, if people have an IQ of over room temperature, they should consider banning Citadel and the festivals and activities they support. Any company that pisses on somebody like Michaels, who worked in radio 30 years should suck it. I hope Hanlon and his cronies will lose big-time and will take the heat for what they're doing to their top talent.


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