Media

Steve Kelley settles his lawsuit against Channel 31

Last month, longtime broadcaster Steve Kelley revealed that he'd filed a breach-of-content lawsuit against Channel 31, from which he was fired in late 2008 by now-departed general manager Dennis Leonard. (Access our conversation with Leonard's successor, Peter Maroney, by clicking here.)

At the time, Kelley said a trial on his complaint was slated to get underway in March -- but delays over an expert witness pushed the start date back to late September or early October. That proved too much for Kelley and his family, on whom the suit has taken a considerable toll. As such, he decided to settle the dispute out of court.

How does he feel, aside from exhausted?

"There's a finality to it, and anytime something's finalized, you feel relief," he allows.

While Kelley can't discuss the specifics of the deal, he does note that "the only good thing about a trial is its end. Whether it goes your way or doesn't go your way, the finality aspect is something I think everybody looks forward to. But, to be honest, I wouldn't encourage anybody to sue unless they were absolutely committed to what they believe in their heart, their mind, their soul and their spirit is the truth. That's all you have at the end of the day. If you pursue it to make a statement or to pursue just the financial side of things, you don't know what you're in for."

With this legal burden finally off his shoulders, he says, "Now it's time to move on, and for me to try to really reestablish myself" in the broadcasting scene. He hints at "some meaningful discussions I've had with a couple of entities in town. Finally now, after a year and four months, there are people who are courageous enough to say, 'We're going to turn the bow into the waves and try to plow through this storm in the economy.'

"There's been a paradigm shift in our business, and I hope a guy who's been around a long time, like I have, still has some value. And we'll see if I can't recreate that kind of value in the future. That's my desire."

Kelley admits that he's closer to the end of his career than the beginning: "I probably only have five or ten years left. Who knows?" However, he adds, "I would like to go out on a positive note."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts