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Published: Friday, 7/13/2001

Clear Channel CEO must give testimony in lawsuit

The chief executive officer of Clear Channel Communications, Inc., has been ordered to submit to a deposition in a civil lawsuit filed by Blade reporter Sandra Svoboda alleging she was slandered by members of WVKS-FM's “Breakfast Club” radio show.

Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge William Skow, at a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, granted a motion ordering the deposition of Lowry Mays, the head of the San Antonio, Texas, broadcasting giant. Clear Channel owns about 1,170 radio stations nationwide, including WVKS and several other Toledo radio stations.

The judge's order, which is not appealable before trial, also requires the depositions of three engineers who work at WVKS. The judge rejected requests from Ms. Svoboda's attorney to depose two other Clear Channel executives as well as defense requests to limit the scope of the questions during deposition. Judge Skow chided attorneys for both sides for what he said was an unnecessary degree of contentiousness in the case.

Ms. Svoboda filed suit last year seeking damages in excess of $25,000 from Clear Channel and Denny Schaffer, host of the “Breakfast Club” radio show. The lawsuit contends Mr. Schaffer made false statements about her, including a purported relationship between her and John Robinson Block, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade.

She later added Fred LeFebvre and Tricia Tischler, two other members of the radio show, as defendants in the action. The amended complaint alleges they told Mr. Schaffer that Ms. Svoboda was having a sexual relationship with Mr. Block. In her lawsuit, she denies any such relationship.

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