July 5, 2012
Salem Communications Accused of Monopolizing Christian Concerts in Portland
Christian concert promoter LMG Concerts claims Salem radio station illegally blocks it from ads and woos away artists.
Christian concert promoter LMG Concerts recently filed suit against Salem Communications, accusing the owner and operator of approximately 100 radio stations of using "monopoly control" to dominate Portland’s market for live music.
The lawsuit by Vancouver, Wash.-based LMG alleges that Salem "repeatedly has used its size and clout to coerce artists ... to use Salem Communications to promote their concerts or else risk losing airplay and other on-air promotional support," as well as that "The Fish" (KFIS 104.1 FM), Portland’s only CCM radio station and owned by Salem, “[denies] airplay, advertising, and other on-air promotional support for LMG concerts and artists,” according to ABC News. The concert promoter claims that Salem's practices "threaten to drive LMG and others from the marketplace.”
"LMG's ability to promote its local concerts on Salem Communications' stations -- and the artists' ability to secure airplay of their music on those stations -- can and does determine the financial success (or failure) of LMG, the artists and their concerts," states LMG’s complaint, according to Courthouse News. Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine explained to CT in April how touring is a crucial component of artists' livelihoods that won't be going away anytime soon.
Christian musicians TobyMac, Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp (pictured above), Matthew West, Kutless, and Peter Furler are all currently promoted by Salem, but each worked with LMG “prior to Salem Communications using its market dominance to undermine LMG's ability to compete," claims the lawsuit. (Read more on the Christian music industry's male dominance here).