In what could be a rerun of a legal battle he fought 10 years ago, Chicago radio personality Erich Mancow Muller is suing an old boss who’s just come back as his new boss.
Earlier this month Cumulus Media hired Marv Nyren as vice president and market manager, overseeing its four Chicago stations. They include classic rock WLUP FM 97.9, where Muller has been hosting mornings since March 2015.
He’s the same Marv Nyren who fired Muller in 2006 from WKQX FM 101.1, when Nyren was regional vice president and market manager for Emmis Communications, then owner of the alternative rock station.
Muller sued Nyren and Emmis for $6 million in 2007 for allegedly making false and disparaging statements as part of a “pattern of malicious acts” against Muller. The suit ended with an undisclosed settlement in 2011.
In a new lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, Muller now claims he has “suffered emotionally and physically with the prospect that Nyren will continue his efforts to retaliate against him.”
The latest suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, recounts numerous incidents alleged in the 2007 complaint, including a claim that Nyren ordered a station employee to break into Muller’s home and that he directed his sales staff to send raw meat — depicting Muller as “a dead cow” — to major advertisers and media buyers.
“Nyren took steps to diminish Erich Muller’s reputation and standing in the community and the radio industry to ensure that Erich Muller would not soon be hired by a competitor in the market,” the suit claims. “Nyren’s actions went far beyond normal business decisions and demonstrate an unusual obsession with punishing Erich Muller.”
Nyren did not respond to requests for comment on the suit, but was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying: “I’m thrilled to be working with Cumulus and Mancow. He’s seeing some really great ratings, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Reached at home Tuesday, Muller said: “I love Cumulus. I don’t want any problems with anybody. There’s Mancow the radio personality and there’s Erich the husband and father. Marv Nyren took great sport in harassing me.”
Muller’s attorney, Michael Young, said the suit is intended to “prevent the pattern of retaliation that has occurred in the past from continuing in the future. . . . Mancow is extremely pleased with his position at Cumulus, he feels the show is as good as it’s ever been, and he just loves his job. Then this [Nyren’s hiring] happened.
“He’s extremely troubled by the turn of events and he was very reluctant to take this step,” Young said.
Nyren most recently was vice president of corporate sponsorship for Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, a post he held since February 2016. His first day on the job at Cumulus was Monday.