Geraldo Rivera is in a war of words with Cumulus Media and its new CEO Mary Berner — which he says will spill over into a lawsuit.
Rivera claims he’s been locked out of his studio at Cumulus’ WABC-AM after the company reneged on a contract extension he says he negotiated with a previous regime. Berner took over embattled Cumulus — the nation’s No. 2 radio broadcaster, with 454 stations in 90 markets — in September, after running Reader’s Digest.
But sources close to Cumulus counter that new management at the radio broadcaster did offer Rivera a contract extension but he rejected it.
In a scathing Facebook rant, Rivera wrote on Saturday of the dispute: “I’ll speak more about the shortcomings of the new Cumulus management as this bitter saga wears on, but trust me they have already cost their stockholders hundreds of thousands in lost ad revenue tied to my show.
In locking me out of my studio as of last Friday even though my contract does not expire until December 31st and in refusing to honor the 2016 deal negotiated by the ousted [Cumulus vets Lew and John Dickey], they have breached my contract. That slight will not go unanswered.”
He added, “It is not about the money. I have enough and give away to various charities more than most. But because of their unforgivable disrespect I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”
However, a source close to Cumulus told us: “Cumulus offered him a renewal, he turned it down. It was commensurate with the value of Geraldo’s show. He wasn’t fired . . . he didn’t want to take a pay cut.”
Rivera’s agent, Jim Griffin, whose clients have included Regis Philbin, Emeril Lagasse and Chris Cuomo, told us, “I had made a firm deal with Cumulus to renew the show. John Dickey and I made a deal. New management does not want to honor that deal.”
Insiders noticed that Berner has even moved into Geraldo’s old corner office at the broadcaster’s New York space.