Fresh fight in Chicago between CBS and Marlin


As Chicago waits for WKQX-FM to reveal its new format under Merlin Media the station has been referring to itself as “fresh and new” – prompting a cease and desist letter from CBS Corp. Assistant General Counsel Lauren Marcello, claiming that WCFS-FM has exclusive rights to the “Fresh” trademarks in Chicago. Marcello sent her letter to Merlin COO Walter Sabo, but she got a reply signed by a smiley face figure dubbed “The Merlin Marlin, FM 101.1 FM NEW mascot.”

The letter in response says the station Merlin is LMAing from Emmis in advance of a sale is not using on the air any of the trademarks listed by Marcello. The tongue in cheek letter goes on to take numerous shots at CBS Radio.

“We simply described our station as ‘fresh and new.’ Fresh is not the name of our station. We know that one of your stations in Chicago has been using that name, but its our understanding that the name hasn’t worked out well for you, and that you have announced your intention to abandon the name ‘Fresh’ on Aug 1st.  For that and other reasons, we do not intend to name our station Fresh.

If you are concerned about others using the name Fresh in Chicago, you might want to contact Fresh Choice Chicago, a catering service at 1534 N Wells and 233 N Michigan.  They also have a website called  In addition, there is a beauty supply house at 2040 N Halsted called Fresh.  They have a website called  There are hundreds of other businesses in Chicago using the word ‘fresh’ in their marketing.  We don’t plan to be one of them.

We hope this clears up any concern you may have about us using the name you don’t want anymore.  We don’t want it either.

Have a nice day!”

CBS Radio has announced that it will flip WCFS to a simulcast of All News WBBM-AM effective August 1st. That’s seen as a preemptive moved against an expected All News or News/Talk format launch by Merlin. To date, Merlin CEO Randy Michaels has stated that WKQX will not go All News on August 1st – but he hasn’t said what it will do, or when.

RBR-TVBR observation: Not only does the Merlin Marlin have a computer upon which to write letters to lawyers, but he/she also has a Google gmail account. We wonder what other interesting emails we might receive as the folks at Merlin play games with the brains of other radio executives in Chicago and New York.