Big Boy1Emmis Radio has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Kurt “BIG BOY” Alexander, morning host at KPWR-Los Angeles’ POWER 106.  The suit seeks millions of dollars in damages a well as preliminary and permanent injunctions to block BIG BOY from joining competitor iHEARTMEDIA, and Emmis has requested a hearing on the motions before BIG BOY’s contract expires on February 28th.  The release says that “Emmis first discovered Alexander, 45, working as a body guard more than 20 years ago, and has invested substantially over the years in helping him develop into the star that he is today.”

Hot 92.3The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County, Central District, claims that BIG BOY is under contract to Emmis through this February 28th and has breached his contract by failing to honor its right of first refusal provision to match an offer from iHEARTMEDIA.  “Despite acknowledging Emmis’ matching offer,” the release adds, “Alexander turned his back on his radio home of more than 20 years and plans to move to a Los Angeles area radio station operated by iHEARTMEDIA, which would immediately launch a new format as a director competitor to Emmis.” Rumors in Los Angeles are swirling about a possible rebranding and repositioning of Urban AC/Rhythmic Oldies KHHT (HOT 92.3), possibly with the return of the slogan “THE BEAT.”

iHeart MediaThe suit says that the contract allowed for a 60 day window at the end of the term to hear offers from competitors, with Emmis having the right to match any offers.  BIG BOY, the suit alleges, brought EMMIS a copy on January 16th of an iHEARTMEDIA offer for $3.5 million annually plus benefits, and Emmis says it matched the offer but that BIG BOY told them he would take the iHEARTMEDIA offer.

Emmis Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Smulyan  said, “BIG BOY has been a beloved member of the Emmis family for more than two decades, and we are particularly dismayed by his breach after we agreed to meet the iHEART terms.  I am personally saddened by his actions and the impact they will have on our brand and our people.”