Emmis Radio filed a lawsuit May 31 against KXOL-FM "Latino 96.3" after the station flipped its Spanish-language format to reggaeton and English-language hip-hop, allegedly competing with Emmis' Los An
NEW YORK -- Emmis Radio filed a lawsuit May 31 against KXOL-FM "Latino 96.3" after the station flipped its Spanish-language format to reggaeton and English-language hip-hop, allegedly competing with Emmis' Los Angeles station Power 106.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Emmis leases broadcast tower space to KXOL's Spanish Broadcasting System of Florida. The lease requires the broadcaster to provide 45 days' prior notice of any format change in order to give Emmis the opportunity to object -- and terminate the lease -- if the new format conflicts with any Emmis station formats.
Emmis alleges that "at midnight on May 25," SBS "suddenly and unceremoniously changed its format" to include music by artists frequently played on Power 106. The following day, SBS sent a letter to Emmis advising of a change to another form of Spanish-language music.
Yet Emmis claims the music changed from sharing one title between the two stations to sharing 38 titles, including music by Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. The company then sent SBS a letter terminating the lease.
"We are disappointed that SBS blatantly disregarded its obligations, and we are confident that the court will require SBS to live up to its agreement," says Rick Cummings, Emmis Radio president.
In addition to an unspecified amount of damages for breach of contract, Emmis requests the court to declare that SBS is in default of the lease and either order SBS to "vacate the leased premises" by July 15 or rescind its format change and provide 45 days' notice of its format change.
An SBS spokeswoman says that due to the pending litigation, "The only comment at this time is [that] Raul Alarcon has tremendous admiration and respect for Emmis chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan. Notwithstanding, no broadcaster has the right to dictate to any other broadcaster what they can and cannot broadcast."