Arbitron is suing LM Communications for allegedly using its copyrighted radio ratings estimates for the Charleston, S.C., market.
The privately-held broadcaster is based in Lexington, Ky., where it owns six radio stations WBVX(FM), WLXO(FM), WGKS(FM), WCDA(FM), WBTF(FM), WLXG(AM); five in Charleston, W.Va., WKLC(FM), WMXE(FM), WSCW(AM), WJYP(AM), WMON(AM); two in Charleston, S.C., WCOO(FM), WYBB(FM); and television station WBKI(TV) in Louisville, Ky.
LM subscribes to Arbitron data for the Lexington market. That license remains in effect through March 2014. The broadcaster does not subscribe to Arbitron data for either Charleston markets.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the audience research firm says LM copied, distributed and used its copyrighted audience estimates for the Charleston, S.C., market beginning on or about spring 2009 through at least May 2013. Arbitron believes LM got the data from “various sources, including but not limited to one or more industry consultants” who it does not name in the complaint obtained by Radio World.
“Various members of the management of LM and its radio stations, including but not limited to LMC President and CEO Lynn Martin, specifically requested, instructed others to obtain, and illicitly obtained the Arbitron Reports, Databases, and Estimates on numerous occasions,” states Arbitron in the document filed this week. The audience research firm alleges that LM set ad rates and made programming decisions in the market based on its data.
Arbitron seeks a total of no less than $725,000 with interest, as well as attorney’s fees.
The broadcaster has not yet replied to the suit.
The audience research firm filed similar lawsuits against Renda Broadcasting in June and Saga Communications in May.