Christian Promoter Cries Monopoly

A Christian broadcaster could soon face antitrust allegations in court with the filing of a lawsuit that contends the company has attempted to control the Northwest’s Christian concert promotion business.

The suit, filed by promoter LMG Concerts in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., accuses Salem Communications of “anticompetitive, predatory and exclusionary practices.”

As the “largest commercial U.S. radio broadcasting company providing programming to audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content,” Salem also exercises a lot of control in the region, running all four Christian radio stations in the Portland metro, according to LMG’s complaint.

“Just as Salem Communications’ radio arm completely dominates the Christian music airwaves in the Portland metro area, its live entertainment arm, Fish Concerts, is attempting to dominate the Christian concert promotion business,” the suit says.

LMG notes Salem has prevented it from advertising shows on Christian radio stations in the region, causing the promoter to lose business and adversely impacting LMG’s capacity to attract and retain clients.

“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.”

LMG’s suit charges Salem with monopolization, unlawful tying and violations of the state’s unlawful trade practices act in the lawsuit.

The promoter is seeking seeking punitive damages and an injunction against Salem for violations of state and federal antitrust law.