Clear Channel Blocking Another Tribune Hire, Lawsuit Claims

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By: E&P Staff

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Texas Western District, a former Clear Channel Broadcasting employee alleges the broadcast giant is trying to block her hiring by Tribune Co.

Carolyn Gilbert, the founder and president of Clear Channel unit Critical Mass Media, alleges she was terminated without cause, and that Clear Channel had withdrawn a severance package she had negotiated with the company. Gilbert’s departure after 27 years at Clear Channel and her lawsuit were first reported by Radio and Records magazine on its Web site in a story by Kevin Carter.

Under new Chairman and CEO Sam Zell, Tribune has hired a number of top executives who had important positions at Clear Channel, including CFO Randy Michaels.

The radio company is suing in federal court in Chicago to block the hiring of Andrew Friedman as vice president of its interactive division, claiming he is under contract to Clear Channel until the end of the year. A judge has imposed a temporary restraining order preventing Friedman from joining Tribune.

In her lawsuit, according to Radio and Records’ account, Gilbert said after she had agreed to a separation package, she was given a document to sign that read: “‘Employee acknowledges that the Tribune Company (‘Tribune’) is a competitor of Company and represents that she does not intend to be and shall not be hired or engaged by Tribune during the Non-Compete Period referenced in Section 2.1 hereunder (11 months).”

“Of course, I didn’t sign it,” she told the magazine. “I had a deal with Clear Channel. They were to pay severance due after 27 years of unblemished service to the company, and I was moving on to a new career at the Tribune Company.”

A Clear Channel spokesperson could not be reached.

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