Noncompete cloud looms over Topeka


There's a noncompete-clause battle brewing in Topeka, Kan., involving the contract between Benedek Broadcasting's WIBW-TV and popular meteorologist Dave Relihan. Benedek sought an injunction to prevent Relihan from moving to ktka there after his resignation, citing a six-month noncompete period.

Relihan would have had his contract renewed automatically, but he gave a few weeks notice and quit. According to his attorney, K. Gary Sebelius, the "circumstances which would trigger the noncompete clause do not exist." Sebelius said that, because Relihan terminated the contract without cause, both Relihan "and the station are free to go forward."

The injunction sought by the station was not necessary, since the weatherman agreed not to begin at his new station until there is some legal resolution. Efforts toward that will begin this week, when parties will meet in court to determine first whether the matter will be settled in court or in arbitration.

Relihan's new contract at ktka will also have a noncompete clause.