T he fight between Paul Finebaum and WJOX corporate parent Citadel (soon to be Cumulus) has become a high-profile fight of on-air talent versus unpopular corporate leadership. The top radio industry columnist Jerry Del Colliano of Insidemusicmedia.com writes about the Paul Finebaum situation in today’s column: Top Citadel Talent Refuses to Work for Cumulus.
According to the column, “Finebaum is alleging Citadel has cheated him out of his split of network revenue by not paying him and ‘playing games with the money they owe him’.”
But it gets worse because the new Cumulus ownership is unpopular.
Also, “these owner barons think they can buy and sell people like they buy and sell radio stations. But Finebaum may be opening the door to others who do not want to take their chances with Cumulus, a radio group considered by many to be a hostile workplace. In the end, the owner barons may finally find themselves in a pickle.”
While a major fight unfolds in the Citadel fold, Cox Radio has launched its plans for a new sports talk radio station in Birmingham at 97.3 FM. Eli Gold has agreed to host a sports show on the new station. It is highly rumored that Cox wants Finebaum for its new sports station. (See more on Eli Gold and the new station in Birmingham.)
Unfortunately for Cox, “The matter will probably not be resolved for weeks,” according to Jerry Del Colliano’s column.
However, it already appears the fight is nasty and Citadel is desperate to hold Finebaum. Would WJOX be valuable without Paul Finebaum? Would anyone listen to that station with its weak lineup if not for the anchor?