CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A radio ratings service is suing LM Communications, a company that owns five Charleston radio stations, including a station that plans to carry West Virginia University football games this fall.
Arbitron filed a lawsuit in federal court in Kentucky last week, alleging that LM copied, distributed and used copyrighted radio audience data without paying for it. The lawsuit alleges that LM secured the private data for the Charleston, S.C., market -- where it owns two radio stations -- from "various sources, including but not limited to one or more industry consultants"
LM, which is headquartered in Lexington, Ky., subscribes to Arbitron data in the Lexington radio market but not in Charleston, W.Va., or Charleston, S.C., according to the lawsuit.
Arbitron alleges that LM used the research information to set ad rates and make programming decisions.
Arbitron wants LM Communications to pay $725,000 for the consumer research data it obtained "illicitly" between 2009 and last May, the complaint states.
In Charleston, LM owns WMXE-FM (100.9, "The Mix"), WKLC-FM (105.1, "Rock 105"), WSCW-AM (1410, "Classic Country"), and WJYP-AM and WMON-AM, two Southern gospel stations.
WXME recently signed up as an affiliate of IMG College's new network that will carry WVU football and basketball games. West Virginia Radio Corp. had carried the games for decades, but WVU awarded a new media rights contract to IMG and West Virginia Media earlier this year.
LM Communications spokeswoman Cathryn Gibson would not comment on the lawsuit Thursday, saying the company has yet to receive a copy.
"We haven't seen it," Gibson said. "We can't comment on a prospective issue like this."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.