Janita Jones Styles has filed a race-discrimination lawsuit in federal court against her former station Wired 96.5 and its parent company, Beasley Broadcasting.
Styles hosted the midday shift at Wired 96.5 from December 2003 through September 2006 without a contract. Her legal complaint alleges that she, the only African-American full-time on-air personality, was also the lowest-paid, and that she was terminated for using the station's logo on her MySpace page and on a party flier for a promotional appearance even though some white colleagues had done the same without repercussion from the FM station.
Styles says that the station decided against having "urban" personalities appear at high-profile events and that it was trying to cater toward more "non-urban" advertisers. "Urban," by the way, is a radio term for black people.
The complaint details that in June 2006, she met with station manager Lynn Bruder to negotiate a one-year-contract, but they were unable to agree to a deal. Styles' suit alleged that she was offered a paltry raise and told that she would have to prove herself, though she had been at the station for more than two years. The filing states that when Styles showed her attorney's revisions to the proposed contract to Bruder, the station manager said, "This is what I do to lawyers," and stuck it in a paper shredder.
Our efforts to reach Bruder yesterday were unsuccessful.
In a legal filing last month from Beasley Broadcasting in response to Styles' complaint, the company denies any allegation of race discrimination, stating that Styles had been terminated for plugging club appearances on her show, as well as a Web site that sold cell-phone ring tones, without the station's permission. Beasley Broadcasting says that Bruder shredded the station's contract offer, not revisions by Styles' attorney. The station also refutes that Styles was the lowest-paid host. Before filing suit, Styles made similar racial allegations in a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Beasley denied that charge.
Styles, a former Daily News Sexy Single and Phillies Ballgirl, now hosts The Hangover, 6 to 10 a.m. Saturdays, on 100.3-FM The Beat, with Michael Shawn.