With End to Lawsuits, Larry Crain Sells Stations

With End to Lawsuits, Larry Crain Sells Stations
Larry Crain

All of the pending litigation that Little Rock businessman Larry Crain was entangled with earlier this year has been resolved, opening the door to the sale of two radio stations.

In an interview last week, Crain’s attorney, Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson, said the most recent lawsuit against Crain and his company, Crain Media Group LLC, has been resolved. In that case, Bo Mattingly’s Sports Personality LLC argued that Crain had renewed Mattingly’s contract through the end of 2016 but had failed to follow through with honoring the contract. Mattingly hosted a sports talk show on Crain’s Little Rock radio station KKSP-FM, 93.3.

The case was filed in Washington County Circuit Court and was set to go to trial this summer.

Davidson said that the parties had reached a settlement in the case, but declined to disclose the terms of the settlement.

Mattingly “has agreed to pursue other business, and Crain’s not obligated under his agreement anymore,” Davidson said.

Davidson, who referred to Mattingly as a “valuable sports personality with a lot of talent,” said he wasn’t sure what the radio host would be doing now that his ties with Crain’s group had been severed.

Mattingly’s attorney, James Graves of Fayetteville, did not return a message seeking comment last week.

Some readers might recall that Crain resolved a lawsuit filed by his former business partner, Steve Renfro, earlier this year.

Renfro filed his lawsuit against Crain, Crain Media Group and Capital City Broadcasting, the entity formed by the two partners to oversee operations at KKSP. Renfro argued that the company had become “deadlocked in the management and operation of its affairs.”

Judge Cristi Beaumont appointed a receiver to oversee operations and later admonished Crain, who, she wrote in an order, was “deliberately thwarting” the receiver’s work.

The terms of that settlement were also never disclosed, but Davidson said at the time that Crain had bought out his former partner’s interest in the station.

Davidson said that Crain has since sold KKSP and another Little Rock station, KTHE-FM, 96.5, to Salem Media Group, pending regulatory approval. The company, which has headquarters in Camarillo, California, took over management of the stations April 1.

If the sale receives regulatory approval, Salem Media will own and operate three stations in Little Rock, including KDIS-FM, 99.5. The company is in the business of publishing, radio and providing Internet content with a focus on “Christian and family-themed content and conservative values,” according to its website.