Michael Savage to Get Big Pay Day From Talk Radio
(CN) - The "indentured servitude" complaints of right-wing radio host Michael Savage will bring him more than $800,000 in withheld compensation, a federal judge ruled.
Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner, sued Talk Radio Network in 2010, claiming that it was trying to force him to renew a 2002 contract despite a better syndication deal from Courtside radio.
Talk Radio's counteroffer allegedly fell short "in terms of financial upside" and included "anti-competitive provisions that are illegal, limits Dr. Savage's valuable negotiating rights, and imposes additions terms that are not contained in the Courtside proposal."
Savage reportedly has a doctorate in "nutritional ethnomedicine," and is not a medical doctor.
He said Talk Radio attempted "to use those provisions to force Dr. Savage to sign an agreement he is not interested in, and to force him into an arbitration that wholly ignores his due process rights."
Savage continued hosting his conservative talk show, and Talk Radio continued to syndicate it, as the case proceeded to arbitration. An arbitration panel concluded in September 2012 that Savage could terminate his contract because network had breached their deal by withholding compensation. It found that Talk Radio owed Savage $862,454.92, plus money owed from Jan. 1, 2012, to the date of the order.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Rogers put an end to what she called the "long and acrimonious" dispute last week, confirming the award.
She noted that Talk Radio had apparently withheld "substantial amounts of Savage's compensation with the expectation that it would prevail at arbitration and be awarded damages in amounts far exceeding what it was withholding."
In trying to vacate the arbitration award, Talk Radio had said the panel succumbed to "Savage's threats and intimidation," that his attorney improperly communicated with a member of the panel, and that a panel member gave Savage unspecified instructions.
Finding these arguments unpersuasive, Rogers noted that "Talk Radio Network has provided no evidentiary support for its claims of corruption, fraud, undue influence, or misconduct, or any reason to conclude that discovery will uncover such evidence."
"Here, the 'evidence' proffered falls far short of the required clear and convincing standard necessary to vacate an arbitration award procured on the ground of fraud or undue means," the 18-page ruling states.
Rogers also found that the arbitrators "acted within their powers."
"Unless an arbitration award is vacated, modified, or corrected, it must be confirmed," Rogers said.
"The standard is high and Talk Radio Network has not met its burden. Therefore, the court grants the application to confirm the arbitration award," she added.
Among some of Savage's more controversial views, he attributed increasing autism diagnoses rates in 2008 to "a racket" that drove disability payments for "poorer families who have found a new way to be parasites on the government."
Since 2009, he has been barred from entering the United Kingdom for "fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence," the British government said.
Savage's program, "The Savage Nation," is currently syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.