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Clear Channel to pay for "Buzz"

December 13, 2005

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Clear Channel to pay for ‘Buzz’
By Chris Lewis, clewis@nashvillecitypaper.com
December 13, 2005
 
Clear Channel Communications has agreed to pay a Nashville-based radio station group a license fee to use the “Buzz” name for its radio stations in certain markets.

The agreement, announced Monday, settles a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in June 2004 against the nation’s largest radio group by The Cromwell Group, owner of 102.9 WBUZ-FM, known as “The Buzz.”

Nashville-based Cromwell, which owns 22 stations in the Midwest, including 102.5 WVNS-FM, “Venus” in Nashville, has held a trademark for “Buzz” since 1999, said its president, Bayard H. “Bud” Walters.

The company sued Clear Channel after some of its stations began using the moniker without permission. The case went through the normal legal channels, and once it reached the attention of company officials, the matter resolved quickly, Walters said.

“When the actual company people began to realize what the circumstance was, it was easy and we were able to get a settlement,” he said.

Cromwell has already licensed the “Buzz” mark to broadcasting companies such as Entercom Communications Inc., Regent Communications and Cumulus Broadcasting.

It is appropriate that Clear Channel has settled, since the company has also fought in court to protect its “Kiss” trademark, said Robert Unmacht, a Nashville-based radio consultant.

“Clear Channel has gone around enforcing its trademarks in a lot of places, and that has set a precedence in cases that could be used against them,” Unmacht said.

And Walters said the “Buzz” was not a revenue issue for his company.

“It was the principal of the thing and the fact we had other people who were licensed by us to use it,” he said. “And we were obligated to protect the mark in their best interest as well as ours.”

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