Libtalk Network NovaM To Shut Down
Report: Co-founder Sheldon Drobny Attempts Suicide
*** BREAKING NEWS - STAND BY FOR UPDATES ***
*** MORE ADDED BELOW, UPDATE - OBJECTION FROM MALLOY CAMP ***
*** UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM ANITA DROBNY ***
Libtalk network Nova M Radio has been shut down, according to the attorney for Randi Rhodes, Robert V Gaulin of New York. This also brings Mike Malloy's syndicated program to an abrupt end as well, at least for now (update below: Malloy's camp is denying this will affect his show, All Access reports a new firm may assume this role).
Moments ago, Gaulin sent this letter to your Radio Equalizer:
Randi Rhodes’ on-air home for less than a year will shut its doors. In an email message of February 17th from counsel for Nova M Radio, Inc. to Randi’s entertainment attorney, Robert V. Gaulin, the company is said to have been advised to file for bankruptcy protection next week. All payroll deposits were reversed on Tuesday, leaving Nova’s employees unpaid for the past two weeks.
On Sunday, Nova received a letter from Mr. Gaulin asserting that the contract with Ms. Rhodes was terminated due to material breaches and other reasons. Ms. Rhodes had not broadcast for over a week prior to this time, a situation which was diplomatically referred to as a “problem” that was solely within Nova’s control to solve. A few days earlier, Sheldon Drobny, founder of Nova M, and a co-founder of Air America Radio, attempted suicide and is hospitalized in Chicago.
Mr. Gaulin indicated on Randi’s behalf that “We saw this coming, but are most saddened by the tragic news regarding Sheldon Drobny. Randi is devastated by the impact of these events upon her fiercely loyal audience, affiliates and sponsors.
Discussions are already being conducted for Randi’s swift return to the air. Stay tuned…”
Robert V. Gaulin
GAULIN GROUP PLLC
COUNSELORS AT LAW
Beyond Nova M, Anita and Sheldon Drobny are well-known Democratic Party fundraisers inside Chicago's machine politics. Before this venture, they founded Air America Radio and had since hired away two of its former hosts, Rhodes and Malloy.
In 2006, they attempted to retake Air America Radio after it went bankrupt, but were thwarted by other bidders. From that point, they focused on building NovaM, embarking on a tour to generate funds to purchase stations in a number of cities. Sheldon then became a vocal critic of Air America.
In 2005, Michelle Malkin and your Radio Equalizer teamed up for a series of investigative pieces on Air America Radio and its financial scandal tied to funds illegally diverted from an inner-city charity.
In addition, we collaborated on special reports regarding the Drobnys and their post-AAR ventures.
It's not clear whether any of NovaM's programs will continue to broadcast. Rhodes has already been away for well over a week and her website has been completely shut down.
An as-yet unsuccessful attempt has been made to contact Anita Drobny for comment.
We wish Mr Drobny a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: Mike Malloy's producer - wife has issued a strong denial of indications it will affect his program:
"This also brings Mike Malloy's syndicated program to an abrupt end as well, at least for now."
Kathy Malloy here. Randi Rhodes' lawyers have no information about our broadcast status. Our program is most definitely NOT coming to an abrupt end, now or in the future. This is completely untrue. We have intact and continuing affiliate relationships that may be harmed by this lie on your website. I strongly suggest you remove it now.
Kathy Bay Malloy
The Mike Malloy Show
But how will the show continue in Nova M's absence? We're awaiting an answer to this question.
UPDATE: Anita Drobny has responded to our email:
brian...shelly suffered a nervous breakdown...we tried as hard as we could to bring another voice to our nation...i guess we failed...as far as randi goes, we couldn't meet one of her contract issues....i wish her well and hope for all of us to overcome this horrible economy we are faced with....thanks anita
In a follow-up, Drobny confirms that Malloy has found a way to continue broadcasting. Meanwhile, Rhodes flagship WJNO in West Palm Beach has temporarily substituted Sean Hannity's program in the afternoon slot due to the absence of her program.
Stand by for updates on this breaking news story.
FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.
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