Rhodes wins suit against station

AIKEN - Austin Rhodes has won damages from the Aiken radio station he says slandered him when two DJs made false statements about him on air.

The exact amount of the damages against Rejoice Network Inc. will be determined in a later court hearing, said John Harte, Mr. Rhodes' Aiken attorney.

The hearing has not been scheduled, he said.

In July, Mr. Rhodes, who has a show on WGAC-AM in Augusta, filed a lawsuit in Aiken County Common Pleas Court against WAAW-FM hosts Brian "Ryan B." Lamont Doyle and Charles "Champ" Walker and station owner Rejoice Network.

Mr. Harte said the lawsuit against Mr. Doyle is proceeding, but the radio host has "refused to respond to written questions," so he might be compelled to do so in court.

"We will move forward as rapidly as we can," Mr. Harte said.

He also said Mr. Rhodes has "reached an understanding" with Mr. Walker.

According to the judgment order signed by 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jack Early on Feb. 5, no one from Rejoice Network showed up for a hearing on the lawsuit Jan. 2.

Judge Early subsequently ruled in Mr. Rhodes' favor, and Rejoice did not appeal the ruling.

Since Mr. Rhodes' lawsuit was filed last year, five others have filed civil suits against Mr. Doyle and Rejoice.

The subsequent lawsuits were filed in Richmond County Superior Court, and the plaintiffs include the Rev. Kenneth Martin, the Rev. Charles N. Utley, Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength, the Rev. Clarence Moore and bank executive Cedric Johnson.

A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.

Although WAAW is in Aiken, the plaintiffs argue that Augusta courts have jurisdiction because most of the station's audience is across the river.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.