Emmis Sues Clear Channel Over DJ Star

Emmis wants Clear Channel to take its grubby paws off bad boy DJ "Star" -- at least until next March.

NEW YORK -- Emmis wants Clear Channel to take its grubby paws off bad boy DJ "Star" -- at least until next March.

Emmis Radio, which owns Star's old stomping grounds, R&B/hip-hop WQHT (Hot 97) in New York, filed suit Sept. 3 to enjoin Clear Channel from hiring Star for cross-town competitor WWPR (Power 105).

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in New York against Star (Troi Torain) and Clear Channel, claims that the non-compete clause in Star's employment agreement with Emmis doesn't expire until March 5, 2005.

Star was fired at Hot 97 for numerous transgressions. According to the suit, Star disparaged artists after Hot 97 concerts, bashed advertisers, appeared drunk at one concert, gave illegal free plugs to vodka he endorses, made on-air announcements of confidential station negotiations with artists for the Summer Jam concerts and physically assaulted GM Barry Mayo.

Emmis also claims that Star went over the top when he mocked the death of singer Aaliyah in a 2001 plane crash by playing crashing sounds and a woman's screams. Star, 40, was suspended for two weeks then, but he came back on the air afterward and claimed that Emmis had been behind the whole stunt.

"They did everything they could to exploit that, including hiring an independent publicist," Star told the New York Post. "Everybody in the room was on the same page as that."

Nonetheless, Emmis claims it paid Star for the full term of his contract.

Clear Channel says in a statement that it finds it "strange that Emmis believes it will be irreparably injured if Star goes on the air with a Clear Channel station in the New York market," when Emmis took Star off the air in May 2003 and permanently suspended him in July 2003. Star is currently employed by Clear Channel-owned WPHH in Hartford, Conn.

Although Emmis alleges a variety of "offensive, inappropriate and tortious acts" by Star, the suit also states that he's a "talented disc jockey."

Emmis seeks injunctions to prevent Star from violating his contract, as well as compensatory and punitive damages from Star and Clear Channel.