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Local radio company threatens listeners with lawsuits

Local radio company threatens listeners with lawsuits

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Ted Pool wanted advertisers of Lincoln radio station The Blaze to know he and other listeners were not happy with changes in the station's morning show.

So he sent emails to several of them expressing his concerns.

The response, however, wasn't what he expected.

On Feb. 16, he got an email from Sparks Willson Borges Brandt & Johnson, a law firm in Colorado Springs, Colo., representing The Blaze's parent company, Three Eagles Communications. The email said Pool's actions were "tortious" and asked him to "cease and desist from any further contact with Three Eagles' advertisers."

The letter cited three Nebraska Supreme Court cases.

"The extent of the damage which you have caused is not yet known, but Three Eagles intends to hold you responsible for that damage," said the letter signed by attorney David P. Steigerwald.

"I was in shock," said Pool, who provided the Lincoln Journal Star a copy of the email he sent Three Eagles management and Blaze advertisers, as well as the letter he got from Three Eagles attorneys.

"I didn't think the letter I wrote was threatening," Pool added. "I was just trying to draw attention to the petition and say I wasn't pleased with the content of the new show."

Three Eagles Communications owns nearly 50 stations in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, including six in the Lincoln market. Its chairman and chief executive officer is Rolland Johnson, who lives in Colorado.

On Feb. 10, Three Eagles announced it had contracted with popular morning show "The Todd n Tyler Radio Empire" to air on Lincoln active rock station The Blaze (KIBZ 104.1 FM).

Originating from Omaha rock station Z92 (KEZO 92.3 FM) and distributed by the Benztown Radio Networks, "Todd n Tyler" features radio personalities Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt, who are known for their off-color humor, commenting on topics ranging from politics to sports to popular culture.

To make room for the show, Three Eagles fired program director and morning show co-host Tim Sheridan, who had been with the station since it went on the air in 1992, and moved the other morning show co-host, Jon "Animal" Terry, to middays.

"I'm kind of surprised but not totally surprised," Sheridan said at the time of his dismissal. "I've seen it happen to so many others. Longevity doesn't mean you're immune to being let go. It's just business."

In response to Sheridan's dismissal and the cancellation of the morning show, Blaze fans began using social media -- among other things -- to voice their displeasure.

They created a boycott page on Facebook, which has more than 500 members.

They also started email and letter campaigns to Three Eagles management; put together a petition that has nearly 2,000 signatures; reached out to Blaze advertisers; printed T-shirts and staged a public event at a Lincoln sports bar.

Since Pool received his letter, two other Blaze listeners, Geralynn Powell and Dan Gossard, said they also got cease-and-desist letters from the Colorado law firm in response to emails they sent to advertisers. None of the three has heard from Three Eagles directly.

Gary Buchanan, Three Eagles president and chief operating officer, declined to comment about listener complaints or letters from Three Eagles attorneys, saying "this shouldn't be something (the Journal Star) should be concerned with."

Pool, Powell and Gossard said they have complied with the letter and refrained from contacting Blaze advertisers, with Pool saying, "I've said my piece."

The Blaze boycott through Facebook continues, but participation is waning, according to Richard Roeder, a Blaze listener and frequent contributor to the boycott page.

"That's true," he said. "There's not a lot of us left. Those of us who were the most vocal either received a letter or have been talked to by employees of Three Eagles and told to quit it."

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or, or follow him on Twitter at


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