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VETERAN NEWSMAN SUES KSL, CHARGING AGE DISCRIMINATION

Longtime KSL radio newsman Robert G. Schildmeyer has filed a $1 million age discrimination lawsuit against his employer.

Schildmeyer, 46, alleges in his suit that he was demoted and denied pay raises because of a pattern of discrimination that began shortly after the station changed its format from news and music to news and information in 1988.Named in the suit are Bonneville International Corp., the parent company of KSL radio; Russell Wood, KSL radio vice president and general manager; Rod Arquette, news director; and Lourdes Cooke, human resources director.

The suit gives a detailed account of Schildmeyer's employment history and includes confidential internal memos and staff job performance evaluations as exhibits.

Schildmeyer was promoted to anchorman at KSL radio in 1975, four months after he was hired. In 1979, he was named acting news director, and he was given the additional title of assistant news director in 1980. From 1985 to 1989, he was managing editor.

During the years that he managed KSL radio's news operation, the station received a majority of the radio news awards in Utah, the suit said. A 1988 staff evaluation by the consulting firm of Magid and Associates praised Schildmeyer and said he was "right on track" in his work under the new format.

That same year, he applied for the job of news director. The suit says Wood informed Schildmeyer that he was equally if not better qualified for the job than Arquette, but that Arquette was getting the job because "the organization needed younger blood and news ideas."

During a station reorganization and reduction in force in June 1989, Schildmeyer's title of managing editor was taken away and he was offered a position on the night shift with a significant reduction in salary and benefits, the suit said.

Schildmeyer then filed an age discrimination complaint with the Utah Industrial Commission.

KSL radio management's response to the complaint said the actions taken in regards to Schildmeyer reflected "performance concerns and a need for a more effective organization." The response also said Schildmeyer did not "buy into the new format."

Schildmeyer said his employers retaliated against him for filing the discrimination complaint, citing their refusal to name him news and programming supervisor in February 1990.

According to the suit, he "fortuitously became aware" that management was seeking applicants for the job, whose duties were identical to that of the managing editor position that had been eliminated. The position was given to KSL radio reporter Scott Seeger.

The suit seeks $750,000 for loss of salary and other compensation and $250,000 for emotional distress, mental pain, suffering and anguish.