Chicago radio personality M.E. “Mancow” Muller filed a lawsuit against his new boss Monday, alleging he fired Muller in retaliation when the pair worked at WKQX-FM 101.1 more than a decade ago, then lied his way into becoming his supervisor again last month.
Muller claims Marv Nyren was upset that Muller denied his attempts to meet outside of business hours and at “suggestive” places, and retaliated by bleeding Muller’s show dry of on-air talent before firing him. Nyren was Muller’s direct supervisor at WKQX and also managed WLUP-FM 97.9, both owned by Emmis Communications.
More than a decade later, a new group, Cumulus Media, owns WKQX and WLUP, commonly known as “The Loop.” Muller has “greatly enjoyed” hosting a new morning show on The Loop since Feb. 2015.
That was until Cumulus hired Nyren last month as its new vice president and market manager, again putting him in charge of WKQX and WLUP and as Muller’s direct supervisor.
Nyren’s firing of Muller in July 2006 came as Muller’s show, “Mancow’s Morning Madhouse,” was the number-one rated morning radio show for men between 22 and 45 years old, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. Muller says his show generated more than 70 percent of the station’s annual revenue — between $8 and 11 million in 2005.
In an interview with former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder the day after he fired Muller, Nyren said he was confident that Muller “would not soon be hired by a competitor in the market,” the lawsuit says. He added, “Obviously [Muller’s] looking for media attention. I feel very sorry for Mr. Mancow.”
Muller sued Nyren for defamation in 2007, according to court records. They eventually settled in March 2011.
In the time after his firing, Nyren tried his best to keep Muller from landing a job, according to the suit.
In Aug. 2015, the station broadcast a skit that impersonated Muller, including a reference that he was “counting the years, months and days until he could have incestuous sex with his then ten month old twin daughters,” according to the suit. Nyren allegedly approved the skit and didn’t take disciplinary action against its participants after it aired.
The suit also claims Nyren set up a party for WKQX employees after Muller was fired, where a large promotional photograph of Muller was taken to the party from the station’s offices, and partygoers made “disparaging” statements about Muller, including “derogatory conduct.”
Continuing in his alleged attempts to sabotage Muller’s career, Nyren sent packages of “raw, spoiled, rotten and bloody” meat depicting Muller as a “dead cow” to major advertisers and media buyers with the purpose of keeping Muller off Chicago airwaves, the lawsuit claims.
Nyren also fired on-air personality Cara Carriveau in Oct. 2006, a move that the lawsuit alleges was a warning to all Emmis employees after Carriveau expressed sadness that Muller was no longer on Chicago radio.
When he was applying to his new job with Cumulus, Nyren failed to disclose that Muller had filed a lawsuit against him and that he had fired Muller, Muller alleged. Instead, he told management that the pair were friends and had a “great working relationship” together, the suit says.
Muller says he has obtained “professional medical care” to deal with the situation.
Muller and Nyren could not be reached for comment Tuesday.