Radio duo Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels can continue to rock — from a distance.
A Scott County District Court judge ruled Thursday the popular morning radio personalities aren’t violating a no-compete clause in their contract with former employer Clear Channel by broadcasting for KRNA-FM out of Cedar Rapids, nor by doing the show from studios in Davenport.
Judge Gary McKenrick also determined that Beth Davis, the pair’s morning news reader, wasn’t violating the no-compete clause in her contract with Clear Channel.
Clear Channel asked for a temporary injunction enforcing the six-month no-compete clause, saying it violated the contract because KRNA encroached on the Quad-Cities market.
Dwyer, Michaels, under his given name of Bill Obenaut, and Davis, under her given name, Elizabeth Machael, were named in the lawsuit.
The long-time radio team and Davis left their morning show gig at Clear Channel-owned KCQQ-FM at the end of 2006 for Cumulus’ WXLP-FM. Until Dwyer, Michaels, and Davis fulfill their six-month no-compete clause in their Clear Channel contract in July, they have said they are focused on building an audience in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City through KRNA-FM.
Michaels said he and Dwyer were relieved, after having been through a similar situation when the pair jumped from WXLP to KCQQ more than a decade ago.
“This was completely different from our situation in 1995,” Michaels said. “We have a history of getting involved in these things and we lose.
“We told our lawyers that if we are going to go through this we have to win.”
McKenrick, in his decision, ruled that the Quad-Cities and Cedar Rapid are separate and distinct, though KRNA can be heard at times in the Quad-Cities.
“Unquestionably, the KRNA signal can be received within the Davenport/Quad Cities metropolitan statistical area,” McKenrick wrote in his decision. “However, the total service area for KRNA as defined by Arbitron does not include any of the counties located in the Davenport/Quad-Cities metropolitan statistical area.”
Arbitron is a radio ratings service.
Dwyer said during a hearing Feb. 22 that their broadcast focus was on Cedar Rapids for the time being. Michaels backed that up Thursday.
“If you’re listening to our show at all, we’re really super-serving Cedar Rapids and Iowa City with news, weather and school closings,” he said. “All that is how it will be until July.”
McKenrick also ruled that a Dwyer and Michaels blog hosted by the Quad-City Times wasn’t a violation of the radio pair’s no-compete clause.
Kurt Allemeier can be contacted at (563) 383-2360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.