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Club Could Be Venue Without a Billboard

January 01, 1998|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA

Is Billboard Live or Billboard dead? That is the question for '98. The scuttlebutt regarding the Sunset Strip venue has been raging for months, running the gamut from Sony repossessing the Jumbotron that graces the building's exterior to the licensing agreement expiring on using the name "Billboard"--taken from the magazine that is the music industry's bible to record sales.

According to an inside source, at a staff meeting earlier this week, employees were told the club "is selling back the name to Billboard," with plans to begin revamping the venue as early as this month and a possible name change in the offing.

"There are negotiations going on with another entity, but nothing Billboard has approved," said Georgina Challis, senior vice president for corporate development and general counsel of BPI Communications, which owns Billboard magazine.

The club has been run by Jerry and Keith Pressman, a father-and-son team who presented the idea to Billboard and got the investors. Now they reportedly are negotiating to keep the club without the Billboard name.

Someone who works at the club and asked not to be identified said, "The feeling here is one of excitement because now we can do all the things we wanted to do in the first place."

As for Sony's rumored plans to repossess the Jumbotron? "We're planning to get rid of it," said an inside source. "It never worked right."

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