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Cumulus Media Settles Lawsuit With ‘Buffalo Jills’ Cheerleading Squad

Records showed one cheerleader working 360.5 hours, yet was only paid for 17.5. Another worked nearly 373 hours, but was only paid for 16.

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A lawsuit filed by a group of former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders against Cumulus Media has finally been settled in bankruptcy court after a long, eight-year legal battle.

According to Inside Radio, Cumulus Media has reached a $4 million settlement with more than 50 former Bills cheerleaders involved in a class-action lawsuit going back to when Citadel Broadcasting owned WGRF (“97 Rock”), the radio flagship for the team. The station also managed the “Buffalo Jills” cheerleading squad under an agreement with Bills team ownership.

The lawsuit, filed in April 2015 by five Bills cheerleaders, alleged that Citadel Broadcasting and the team violated New York Labor Law by classifying them as independent contractors, not employees and forcing them to make 25 to 30 appearances at community and charity events that totaled approximately 840 hours of unpaid work per year.

Inside Radio cites a report from LegalNews.com that showed a record of one cheerleader working 360.5 hours, yet was only paid for 17.5. Another worked nearly 373 hours, but was only paid for 16. The station not compensating the cheerleaders for that work constitutes a violation of the state’s labor laws.

Additionally, the suit says the Bills cheerleaders were required to model for a swimsuit calendar and sell copies of it, but weren’t compensated. According to NBC News, cheerleaders also had to pay $650 for their uniforms and weren’t reimbursed for expenses including travel.

The Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad was discontinued shortly after the lawsuit was filed and has not been revived since.

WGRF no longer carries Bills radio broadcasts, but Cumulus Media inherited the lawsuit when it purchased the station from Citadel Broadcasting.

In settling the lawsuit, Cumulus Media admits no wrongdoing and denies “any legal or equitable responsibility for the damages and injuries claimed.” Of the $4 million payment to the cheerleaders listed in the class-action suit, $3.5 million of that amount will be paid out by the Bills.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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