Written Agreements in the face of ownership transfers
At the beginning of 2000, I entered into a one page 2- year WRITTEN AGREEMENT to host the Morning Show for a radio station. The terms of the deal were all outlined. (including salary, hours, duties and a non-compete clause) The company I signed with honored this agreement to a T. Now, the station has been sold to a new broadcasting group. The new owners have an LMA (Limited marketing agreement) pending FCC approval later this year. The new company has a reputation for being unscrupulous to personnel and it is my feeling that most of the staff will be let go
shortly. The written agreement is with the call letters of the STATION, rather than any specific company.
If the new owners should choose to relieve me of my duties or attempt to reduce my salary, do I have any
legal recourse against them? As there is a non- compete clause, I am assuming that they must honor
ALL of the terms or NONE of them. Should they choose
to let me go before Feb 1rst of next year, are they required to buy out my remaining agreement?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Written Agreements in the face of ownership transfers
Without reading the text of your agreement, it is difficult to advise. As a former broadcast talent myself, I am presuming that there is also a clause in the agreement that you can be terminated for most any non-discriminatory reason. (I have found most of these agreements to be greatly tilted to the broadcast station.)
Having said that, when the new owners take over, they typically assume or assign all the contracts and obligations that the seller had. Again, this will depend on their agreement.
The non-competes are tricky. Many states will enforce them if they are reasonable in time, geography and scope. However, there has been a movement in state legislatures to void them as to broadcasters. I do not know what the law is in Iowa on this point. (However, my firm does have a lawyer licensed in Iowa.)
Your best bet might be to see if you can negotiate a severance if it looks like you're going to get run.
Thank you for your query.
Please let me know if I can be of futher assistance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, my toll free number is 800-289-5999, my firm's website is http://www.lynnjackson.com.
Todd D. Epp, Esq.