Changes And Lawsuits

Let’s start with the legal action first…

MAGGIE SUES: It was no surprise that former Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning co-host Maggie Fuller was going to file a sexual harrassment lawsuit against her former employers. We just didn’t know when.

MaggieFullerWelcome to When.

The suit against Media-Com and its family owners, brothers Bill and Bob Klaus, was filed Tuesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Here, we’ll let the Beacon Journal’s Paula Schleis do the heavy lifting.

The lawsuit, filed this week and assigned to Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, accuses the owners of abetting unlawful discriminatory practices, causing Fuller to lose $38,000 a year in income plus benefits, as well as suffer mental anguish, humiliation and loss of reputation.

The suit asks that Fuller be reinstated at the station and compensated for lost wages, or if not reinstated, given lost income as well as “future wages and benefits.” It also seeks $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

WNIR’s owners have typically not commented on this case, but station manager Bill Klaus did provide a statement to the Beacon Journal:

“The allegations are completely without merit and we intend to defend this frivolous lawsuit vigorously,” Bill Klaus said in response to the lawsuit.

Regular readers should also already know the story that led to this, not to mention the fact that Fuller raised money at an online funding site to help pay for this suit.

Here’s a refresher from Schleis’ article on the Beacon Journal’s

Beginning April 2013, according to the lawsuit, host John “Couchburner” Denning repeatedly treated Fuller with hostility and disrespect on air and shut off Fuller’s microphone to prevent her from speaking during joint broadcasts, while the Klaus brothers tolerated and encouraged Denning’s behavior.

During the summer of 2013, the station sponsored “patio parties” at Roses Run Restaurant in Stow to give listeners an opportunity to mingle with staff. At such a party Aug. 29, the lawsuit said, Denning was in a conversation with WNIR fans when he repeatedly called Fuller…

And that’s where we cut off even the cleaned up version of what Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels previously called a “notoriously crude anatomical reference”.

You probably know the rest.

The Brothers Klaus did not act on Denning’s alleged behavior that night, and Fuller left the station…feeling some vindication later when the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission ruled that she had cause to quit her job.

But she signaled this week’s suit even after winning her unemployment case.

Fuller turned to the crowd funding site GoFundMe to raise money to help launch the suit.

As of this writing, Maggie has raised $640 of a goal of $4,000…the amount she said was needed for filing and for other significant legal expenses, such as the cost of witness depositions.

Yes, that’s also the frequency of one of WNIR’s competitors, [former]Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron, which features former WNIR personalities Jim Albright and Bob Earley on its schedule. (And more on that “former” part later.)

The suit says Fuller is asking to be returned to WNIR, but even in a settlement, we just can’t see that happening. For one, they’d probably have to release Denning first…

THE FORMER CLEAR CHANNEL: As we noted on social media, the denizens of Oak Tree, Freedom Avenue and South Avenue are no longer employees of Clear Channel.

IHeartMediaLogoThat’s because the radio monolith, as you’ve probably heard by now, has entirely rebranded to “iHeartMedia”, right down to the corporate name. (The former name survives on the company’s outdoor unit, so you’ll still see “Clear Channel” signs affixed to area billboards.)

We’ll leave it to the national media pundits on what it means for the future of that broadcast business, which owns dozens of AM and FM broadcast stations in Ohio alone.

Though Clear Channel has used the iHeart branding on the air well before this (“An iHeartRadio Station”), it appears they haven’t changed the company website template yet…with the copyright notices at the bottom that still refer to Clear Channel Media+Entertainment (no Pork Rinds, that’s ours).

As for us, we’ll have to revisit our reluctance to use lowercase letters in brand names (i.e. “ideastream”)…for one, “iHeartMedia, Inc.” is the official corporate name for what used to be Clear Channel, complete with lower-case i…

AND SHE’S OUT: Former not-even-Clear Channel-at-the-time WMMS personality Ruby Cheeks had built quite a bedrock radio presence in Phoenix, where she’s been midday host at Hubbard rock KDKB/93.3 for a long time.

Unfortunately, Hubbard chipped away that rock on Thursday.

Our content partners at RadioInsight have details of the change that removes (non-alternative) rock from that station after over 40 years:

93.3 KDKB Mesa/Phoenix has dropped its Rock format of 43 years and flipped to Alternative “Alt AZ 93.3” at 12pm today.

The move returns Alternative to the Phoenix market for the first time since 103.9 KEXX dropped the format in January 2012. The new format is launching commercial free through the end of the week.

After stunting as “93.3 The Cheese”, with covers of alt-rock songs done by comedian Richard Cheese, KDKB started the commercial free alt-rock format under the name “Alt AZ 93-3”.

And yes…

RubyFacebookThe entire staff of the former KDKB format is out with the flip including Program Director/afternoon host Paul “Neanderpaul” Marshall, morning hosts Shmonty and Conklin, and middayer Ruby Cheeks.

The former WMMS personality had a note on her Facebook page:

11 1/2 years – it was a helluva ride!! Thank you Phoenix xoxoxo.


  1. Who cares about Clear channel nothing will change its a joke.

  2. For lease sign in lawn in front of clear channel akron / canton. Any word where they are moving?

  3. Nancy….I mean Maggie is crazy to think that WNIR would bring her back. And, if forced to reinstate her, the Kaiser will give her the 1:00am to 5:00am shift. I can’t believe she only made $38,000, though I’m sure that was supplemented with additional cash from doing remotes and commercial endorsements. The longer Maggie pursues this, the more toxic she becomes to other stations making it impossible for any other station in Northeast Ohio to consider her.

    One person who should be nervous is Couchburner. If the Kaiser has to pay anything to Maggie, Couch is out the door and Jim Isabella moves to mid-days.

  4. I highly doubt Maggie Fuller is going to be working anywhere else in Northeast Ohio. This lawsuit only makes her look bad. Let it go already.

  5. Lawrence P. Ressler says

    I am getting the impression that Clear Channel/iHeart Media is behind this lawsuit, which is being done in order to bankrupt the Klaus Brothers, and shut down WNIR, which is WHLO’s primary competitor in the Greater Akron talk radio market. After WNIR is six feet under, Clear Channel/iHeart Media will bring back Maggie Fuller with a big pay increase.

  6. For the uninformed – you can’t scream sexist and profane insults at co-workers and expect everyone will laugh it off. If you don’t believe me go to work tomorrow and scream the words Denning used at a female co-worker. Denning showed his true colors and now there are repercussions.

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