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Exclusive: Rhodell Lewis said he was wrongfully terminated by Praise

Rhodell Lewis is planning to fight back in what he sees as a wrongful termination from Praise.

Rhodell Lewis is planning to fight back in what he sees as a wrongful termination from Praise.

Praise afternoon disc jockey Rhodell Lewis was told to meet with management at 1 p.m. Sept. 1.

“I thought I was getting a bonus, a raise,” he said.

Instead, Praise fired him.

Lewis won’t say what he was fired for, only that it was an “embarrassing” allegation made by a client made against him. He was not able to defend himself, he said. Instead, he said he was speechless by the sudden termination. Program Director Derek Harper led him to his locker to clean out his stuff and escorted him to the elevator. He couldn’t say goodbye to people. For several minutes, he just sat in his car, unable to drive. (Harper declined to comment.)

Two weeks later, Lewis said in an exclusive interview that he’s planning to fight back.

“I was wrongly accused,” he said. “I know right from wrong. I have to fight this. I wasn’t treated properly.” He said he’s hired an attorney to look into filing a wrongful termination suit. He said management produced no documents proving the allegations, that they simply believed the other side without getting his side of the story.

“I want my name cleared even if I don’t get my job back,” he said.

Lewis said he was not under contract like many radio personalities and received no severance pay. He said over his four-plus years at Praise, he asked to be put under contract (which provides some protections he might not otherwise have), but management declined.

Praise regularly finished in the top 5 in overall ratings in metro Atlanta and draws about 700,000 listeners a week, according to Arbitron. It’s the most popular gospel station in the nation. Lewis was the afternoon jock from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Among 25-to-54-year olds, Lewis ranked 8th in August during his final full month of Arbitron measurements.

Lewis said he never received a bad review and would receive bonuses when his ratings exceeded expectations.

Married with two kids, Lewis has been in the radio business for more than 30 years, 23 in Atlanta at various gospel stations. He joined Praise in 2006.

For now, he is going to focus on his year-old production company, which hosts gospel-related events. He may seek a syndicated deal. “I have plans,” he said. “I’m cool. I’m still going to be me. My friends and my listeners know my character.”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

82 comments Add your comment

Lovey

September 14th, 2011
8:42 pm

I will miss you rhodell everyone loves you in the atl

Yo

September 14th, 2011
9:50 pm

Wow!! Didn’t know he was no longer there. I enjoyed him on the radio even though I didn’t think he was the best jockey. I’ll miss hearing him on in the afternoons.

Casandra Johnson

September 14th, 2011
9:52 pm

Rhodell my friend, count it as a blessing in disguise. Now watch God!

Shawnie

September 14th, 2011
9:54 pm

What?! No more Rhodell in the ATL on the drive home?! No bueno! I will definitely miss you, Rhodell! You’ll be in my prayers.

bill

September 14th, 2011
9:55 pm

If you don’t have a contract, you have no obligations and neither does your employer!

Name

September 14th, 2011
10:03 pm

Where’s your god now?

Faith that moves mountains

September 14th, 2011
10:09 pm

TO Name: God is always here… ask the Israelites that came to the edge of the Red Sea and God parted it so that they could walk through on dry ground, ask the three Hebrew boys thrown into the lions den and left unscathed. Ask the God who wakes you in the morning….. Ah, judgement day…. people who do wrong WILL reap what they sow…. Karma is something else… Rodell, God has your back… All others will answer on judgement day! It will come…..

jay

September 14th, 2011
10:10 pm

You should have settled out of court like Eddie. Now them young boys cost you your job!

elsie

September 14th, 2011
10:12 pm

So sorry you will be missed. as far as the comment where is your God He is still on the throne.

jesse sharpton

September 14th, 2011
10:13 pm

laaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwd

Steve

September 14th, 2011
10:26 pm

No contract – get out. There is no right to “fair.” He is just one more person who wants a big payday. If someone out there is making slanderous statements, go after them. The station has no duty to play CSI to clear his name. Again, he is simply looking for cash.

no comment

September 14th, 2011
10:42 pm

@Steve I believe he said he was going to go after whoever made the accusation. Your comment implies he knew and didn’t do anything about it. He found out when they fired him and now he is taking action.

I didn’t even know he was no longer on air. Good Luck and God Bless.

jesse

September 14th, 2011
11:03 pm

KEEP THE FAIT ONE DOOR CLOSE BIGGER ONE WILL OPEN GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMIL

Karen Adams Anderson

September 14th, 2011
11:04 pm

It is painful to be terminated without due process… It is so unfair….Do Christians behave this way????

Laquandra

September 14th, 2011
11:08 pm

He worthy of the praise. God have oter plaans fo you Mr. Rodel. I pray for you.

Shaun

September 14th, 2011
11:09 pm

Darwin loves you buddy.

Steve

September 14th, 2011
11:12 pm

@No Comment – Re-read the article. He complains about “wrongful termination” because the employer did not do an investigation. They don’t have to! They don’t have to believe him, and even if they do, they can fire him to not even take a chance. At-will employment means just that – employees can be terminated for any or no reason (with a few exceptions for ilegal discrimination). Without a contract, he works at the will of the employer.

He is threatening a lawsuit because the employer did not act like the employee wanted them to act. In short, his is looking for a payoff.

@Karen – Do Christians act in what way? Do they run their business as they see fit, even if some decisions are wrong? In what world do you live? Of course they do. Do Christians look for an opportunity to get big paycheck by threatening (apparently) baseless allegation? Yes, they do that too.

Dee

September 14th, 2011
11:34 pm

I am so used to hearing “Rhodell in the ATL”. You will be missed. If you were wrongfully accused, I hope that you can clear your name. It’s a hurting thing to be wrongfully accused and know that you have done no wrong.

Frankie Crocker

September 14th, 2011
11:39 pm

He will pound sand! Legally, he’s got no chance. Dude can get fired for A reason, NO reason or ANY reason in the state of Georgia! you’re right Steve, he’s lookin’ to get paid. And he may well STILL succeed. Because the station will try to limit the grief among his audience by throwing him a bone. Not a good look for a station that is “God-Fearing”. They look like Hypocrites! Pay the man his (moral) due! And THEN move on!

Kay

September 15th, 2011
12:51 am

Please! I’ve dealt with the EEOC about being terminated due to false accusations. It’s really a waste of time. The employer can fire you for whatever reason they want. There is no breach of contract so they aren’t under any obligation to keep you.

If they had reason to doubt what the client said and felt that this accusation was out of character for him, I think they would have at least asked for his side of the story.

Unless the station is going around slandering your name then you have reason to sue, but they’re not commenting on the situation so save yourself further embarrassment and move on.

If you didn’t do anything why make a big stink especially if the accusations aren’t public knowledge. In these hard economic times radio stations aren’t trying to lose clients. You’re not CoCo Brother so you’re replaceable. They save money by firing you and still keep the client.

RadioLady

September 15th, 2011
2:18 am

There are other things you can do in broadcasting. Keep the Faith!

RHagans

September 15th, 2011
2:35 am

just another example of how f’d up it is to work atlanta. notice how radio one is cleaning up house lately. getting rid of the older staff and bringing younger people or moving to syndicated programming. thing that they don’t get is that when you do stuff like this you lose loyal listeners. when the ms. sophia and joyce littel were let go, i let go also.

Mona

September 15th, 2011
4:01 am

Brother Rodal there will always be someone with something to say about whatever we do in life whether good or bad. But we know that All of our help comes from the Lord! For the Word of God says in Psalms 7v8-11 that, “The Lord shall judge the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my integrity within me. Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Jesus also says in John 15v18-19 that, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Stay in good spirit and be still and know that He is God all by Himself and that He doesn’t need any help! Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart!!! I will pray for you Brother Rodal and God shall supply all your needs as He closes one door to open another!!

T-Bone

September 15th, 2011
4:55 am

Rhodell better things are ahead of you. Are you in need of extra income then go to http://www.getpaidnow.tk We pay daily!

tom

September 15th, 2011
5:12 am

My son was recently terminated from his first job out of college after 2 yr. Treated in a similar manner. What is wrong with Corp America?

GUNGA DIN

September 15th, 2011
5:34 am

Georgia is an “at will” state. unless you have a contract, the employer can fire you at anytime without even giving a reason. you can walk out the door with out having to give a notice.

hazel

September 15th, 2011
5:37 am

Enter your comments here

hazel

September 15th, 2011
5:47 am

with out Rhodell in the ATL what will we do? Know that what God has for you it is for you.

MusicMan

September 15th, 2011
7:07 am

I am surprised, but then again NOT that “Praise 97.5″ would conduct business just like the secular world. Sometimes when CoCo Brother is on I can’t tell which radio station I’m listening to!! The so called “Christians” frequently have the “air” of being different & special. Why? “I go to Church EVERY Sunday” I read my Bible but still conduct their affairs just like everyone else. I’ve been victimized by “Church Folk” in the music aspect of the church so the moral of the story… Be EXTRA vigilant when dealing with “Christians”.

Greader17

September 15th, 2011
7:10 am

Well here’s another station I can cross of my list! In a minute I won’t be listening or watching any radio or TV. First Channel 2 and now 102.5, oh well. Good Luck Mr. Rodell!

Whitey

September 15th, 2011
7:28 am

Hey, Laquandra: Here’s what you said…”He worthy of the praise. God have oter plaans fo you Mr. Rodel. I pray for you.” Do us, and yourself, a favor. Go back to school. Your post is embarrassing to everyone.

Cracker

September 15th, 2011
7:29 am

Why is it that all of these posts are illiterate sounding, with misspellings, improper grammar and idiotic sentiments?

Pootytang

September 15th, 2011
7:48 am

Rodney he finished 8th? What’s that like double bronze and a half ! 8th people not 4th not 3rd, 8th! He thought he was getting a raise?

Opinionator

September 15th, 2011
7:49 am

Yes, GA is an at-will state, which means you can be terminated at the will of the employer. Even in at-will states, though, you cannot be fired for certain reasons, because there are federal protections. Factors such as race, religion, physical handicap, long hair (the rules were adopted in the sixties) and origin cannot be the reason for termination. Even if the employer states someone was axed for not performing, if the employee can show the termination was due to hair length, the employee has a case.

At-will is a State provision, and does not trump the Federal protections.

Ulice

September 15th, 2011
8:06 am

This is call PAYBACK. I called the radio station seeking information to a song I had just heard. When I called in, Rhodell was RUDE, mean spirited, and disrespectful. If he represents Christianity, I am GLAD I am an atheist. He got just what he deserved.

JT

September 15th, 2011
8:15 am

@ Ulice

If your an atheist then why were you calling a a gospel radio station requesting a song?

Your post sounds fake.

JT

September 15th, 2011
8:17 am

Laquandra……And we are supposed to believe you are black because of your name?

Sloppy Joe

September 15th, 2011
8:21 am

You mean a religious black man may be amidst a allegations and scandal and lawsuits! GASP!!! Thats unheard of!

Happy

September 15th, 2011
8:29 am

Look back over your life~have you done wrong~you and God know the truth~point blank~when it’s time to reap in life then we wonder why~to late! ” Your deeds, good or bad, will repay you in kind” Sowing and reaping is a law, like the law of gravity. The law of gravity always works the same way for everyone.

Life Goes On

September 15th, 2011
8:31 am

Makes me wonder what the allegations were… with consistent ratings, his employer had to think twice before cutting him. I imagine the standard for acceptable behavior is significantly higher at a Christian station. And (as I have a little experience in this dept), an afternoon drive jock in a major market not with a contract? Perhaps things are different in the Xn segment, but that doesn’t say much.

Sounds like sour grapes & a (poor) attempt to cover his tush. He never had a chance for rehire. How he handled this will make it hard to end up in another market.

timbo

September 15th, 2011
8:32 am

Glad to see that very few folks are directly responding to these idiotic posters like “Cracker”. If we simply ignore their 3rd grade, moronic comments they will eventually slither back to their trailer parks…

No Grounds

September 15th, 2011
8:41 am

He might as well save his money from the attorney expenses. He will have no grounds. Georgia is a “right to work” state which means the company/boss can fire you just because he doesn’t like the way you look. In other words in Georgia you have NO right to work. Save your money!

Back 2 Bama

September 15th, 2011
8:48 am

First, Ulice and LaQuandra are both fake just ignorant people wanting to start confusion or entice racial banter please ignore their comments.

Mr. Lewis please understand that when one door closes GOD will open another just keep trusting his word and stand on his promise.

Miss you much

September 15th, 2011
8:51 am

I really enjoyed listening to the show during the evening drive home and wondered what happened after another host had been featured for more than a week. I will certainly miss Rhodell, but I’m wishing much success in the next endeavor!

Ulice

September 15th, 2011
8:52 am

@ JT

Me being an athiest doesn’t justify Rhodell’s behavior.

To answer your question, I like good music, gospel, r&b, country, dance etc. I heard the song “Thank You” by Walter Hawkins, and I called the radio station to find out the name of the song. I didn’t know the name of the song at the time.

When I called, Rhodell, seemed to be offended that I was calling the station. He pretended like he didn’t what song I was referring too, as well as being rude.

Ulice

September 15th, 2011
8:54 am

@JT

My initial post is the truth.

Rhodell is a man without character in my eyes. He is a typical Christian. He feels as if he can mistreat people, but people can’t mistreat him. The energy he put out in the world is the energy that came back to him.

Keith

September 15th, 2011
8:54 am

I am not sure what the allegations against Mr Lewis are but the station does have the right to take care of their own interest. As a teachable moment I would advise any one that in an industry where contracts are the norm you may want to get yourself under contract.

For listeners of Praise, if you really want him back do not argue here on the comment board. Send emails to the station. Blast them on their facebook page and twitter account. Call in and voice your opinion. Sign a petition and give to local news outlets to force 102.5 and Radio One to at least give you an explaination.

Ulice

September 15th, 2011
8:56 am

@ Back 2 Bama

Name calling is a sign of your immature and intelligence.

I told the truth about my conservation with Rhodell, and that’s all I need.

Barb

September 15th, 2011
9:07 am

It’s Rhodell in the ATL. Awwwww…so sad to know I won’t hear him any longer. I only allow my children to listen to Praise 102.5. Otherwise we listen to our iTunes playlists.

Valerie

September 15th, 2011
9:07 am

I really hate this but Rhodell will be just fine. He’s a great guy. God will open up another door!

Looking forward to seeing what God will do next in his life. :)