Says Whut?: Clear Channel Suing Philadelphia's Black Community For Using The Term "Unity Day" For It's Annual Event

And some people wonder why over there the and FuseBox Radio Broadcast Family is so for independent media & not for big media groups trying to be all up in everything (especially saying their stations are the only one's who serve a certain community or viewpoint).

Props to Josh Stearns for letting us know this info via our Twitter account...SMH at this entire mess:

Clear Channel Suing a Community It Serves By Jerry Del Colliano

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey called me yesterday to say why don't you write about Clear Channel once in a while -- after all, they are more evil than we are.

Alright, I'm lying.

Dickey didn't call but I'll bet you he's praying we write about some other consolidator's evil actions today after all the apparent misery Cumulus is causing its loyal employees.

In fact, things have been so intense at Cumulus lately that in our ongoing Inside Music Media poll of Radio's Best and Worst Groups, Cumulus has pulled ahead of Clear Channel (see for yourself by clicking here and scrolling down the right hand side -- you can even cast a vote).

It seems there is no shortage of missteps conducted by consolidators these days, but we have a whopper for you this morning.

Believe it or not, the geniuses at Clear Channel are suing a local community group in Philadelphia to halt their annual Unity Day festivities.


Because Clear Channel has pulled out of the event this year -- probably due to money -- and (please sit down and don't hurt yourself) Clear Channel says it owns the term "Unity Day".

I wonder if they trademarked the term "Evil Empire" because now they sure own it in Philly.

So Philadelphia, the community they are licensed to serve, can't use "Unity Day".

Watch out for Clear Channel filing trademark rights for "Martin Luther King Day" next.

Perhaps nobody told Clear Channel's brain trust in San Antonio that it is not nice -- nor is it good business -- to sue a community group in a public trademark fight.

Unity Day on the Parkway, Inc. is getting its butt sued by Clear Channel which goes to show it's not easy being a black station in a black market when your owners are seeing green in San Antonio.

This group wants to put on a Unity Day event.

The city and the community want this event.

Clear Channel actually loved this event when they could afford to be part of it. If you're not already sick to your stomach, here is how Clear Channel spun their public service spirit in the past, read this.

Of course, that was then and this is -- well, now.

Today, Clear Channel wants this community group to cease and desist.

There I've said it!

Clear Channel's three favorite words: cease and desist.

Instead of creating goodwill for its local Black-oriented stations, Clear Channel is forcing the community to rise up with Save Unity Day in Philly. See their war literature here.

Hogan is in trouble.

So much for localism.

But then again localism to Clear Channel is running a local public service spot in nationally syndicated, networked or voice tracked Repeater Radio. At least, if Clear Channel Community Service Director John Slogan Hogan has his way.

And speaking of Hogan's ineptitude at community service, betcha if his local management caused this PR stink, their sorry asses would have been fired already.

So now Clear Channel is playing hardball with a group that actually wants to do good in the community and has widespread support. A former partner. Hey, radio is not that beloved that it can win an unpopular war with their own listeners and community.

Clear Channel lawyer Matthew Jennings, carpet bagging from San Antonio argues:

"It is Clear Channel’s policy to enforce its intellectual property rights vigorously. In that regard, this letter serves as formal notice that your use of the UNITY DAY Mark, in any manner, is wholly unauthorized, is likely to cause confusion, and constitutes trademark infringement, cybersquatting, and unfair competition in violation of federal and state law. While Clear Channel does not wish to engage in a protracted legal dispute, we simply cannot allow continued infringement of the UNITY DAY Mark or statements implying an affiliation with Clear Channel’s past festivals..."

Say what?

These are your listeners for God sakes -- the community you are licensed to serve here -- is this gobbledygook any way to talk to them?

A representative from Unity Day on the Parkway, Kyle Davis argues:

"...that once Clear Channel cancelled the event for 2009, it was our responsibility to protect a (30) year heritage that been adopted by the Communities of Philadelphia as their own. A lawsuit is forthcoming against Clear Channel, and it is unacceptable for Big Business to bully the Little People, when clearly, the law is on our side".

I'm on their side -- The Little Engine That Could vs. The Big Stuffy, Puffy Steam Engine from San Antonio.

So let's get this right.

Clear Channel cancels the event and screws the Black community.

Doesn't want the group with the same name to continue the popular event because its lawyers in Texas just have to defend their trademarks. You understand.

Can't we invite everyone to Scottsdale to have a beer with me on my patio overlooking the 8th of the Lakes Course? Can't we all get along when Clear Channel decides to impose budget cuts?

Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

Radio used to serve the community -- some stations still do. Their employees are only too happy to get involved -- on their own time. It's what we do -- and we do it well. I lived in the Philadelphia area most of my life and I can tell you WDAS-FM is a big part of the African-American Community. Why not help them succeed with an event that they obviously think is worth fighting for?

Lend them the name, alright? Be a good neighbor.

I can't speak for WDAS but I suspect WDAS-FM employees are ready to jump to it and be a part of this thing.

Betcha it's John Slogan Hogan who is the problem -- again.

Who appointed him boss anyway?

If Unity Day was such a great idea---and it appeared to be judging by the crowds it drew to the Parkway in previous years -- shouldn't Clear Channel use the money it will spend on a cadre of lawyers for a donation so Unity Day can go on?

If I were running a competing station, I'd go pay the group's legal fees against Clear Channel and let them hang themselves on this stupid move.

Where are the competing stations? Afraid of Clear Channel or too cheap to step up?

I know money is hard to come by but it also takes money to sue your local community groups. It's a matter of priorities.

And, Clear Channel's return on its "legal fee investment" is going to be some unfavorable footage on "Action News" at 5, 6 and 11.

Is it me or is this another example of how consolidation enabled large owners to take their eyes off the reason they exist -- to serve their cities of license?

And will you agree that if Clear Channel had to ascertain community needs to petition for its next license renewal instead of get automatic renewals, they wouldn't bully community leaders and rain on their Unity Day parade.

Imagine who might file for the WDAS-FM license if Clear Channel can't operate in the public interest?

A lot of radio folks don't want to wake up the federal bureaucracy and invite more regulation back into the industry.

Isn't that what Clear Channel just did when it sued the community it serves?

Hello Commissioner Copps!

And you wonder why radio is in trouble.

How it has lost its mojo.

It's not the people who work at the stations. They know what is the right thing to do.

I've fought the Evil Empire in a $100 million lawsuit and while I am not an expert on when bad things happen to good people, I came out okay. They are the ones on the brink of bankruptcy.

So this time let me give the Evil Empire a little free advice that they will not take:

Settle this now and let your great station people do what is right and serve their city of license.
Source: Inside Music Media