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Dan Gross: Janita Jones Styles sues Wired 96.5, charging race bias

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.


ANITA 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.

DN staffers sign Phillies books

Daily News photographers Yong Kim, David Maialetti and Steven M. Falk will sign copies of the "Champions" book documenting the Phillies World Series run at 5 today at Barnes & Noble, on Rittenhouse Square. Baseball writers Paul Hagen and David Murphy also will be on hand to sign the hardcovers.

'Hell's' cast vying for Borgata job

The contestants on the fifth season of Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" will compete for a job as a head chef at one of the restaurants at the Borgata in Atlantic City. The show, hosted by chef Gordon Ramsay, premieres at 9 p.m. Jan. 29. It was unclear yesterday whether the winning chef would take over one of the Borgata's restaurants, which include Bobby Flay Steak, Wolfgang Puck's American Grille, SeaBlue, Izakaya, Ombra and Old Homestead, or would operate a new spot at the hotel/casino.

"The winner of this season will win a head chef position at Borgata," a Borgata spokeswoman said yesterday. "Details regarding specifics of this position will be released in the coming weeks."

This season's "Hell's Kitchen" features an area contestant, Andrea Heinly, a 30-year-old cook from Reading.

Out and about

* Dallas Cowboys former star Emmitt Smith (or "Dancing with the Stars" alum, if you prefer not to think about Dallas) was a big hit Sunday afternoon at the Public House (18th & Cherry), where he ate and watched a few hours of football. Smith signed autographs for people who asked and returned later that night with ESPN staff, running up a hefty bar tab with the crew, which was in town for the Eagles game.

* Crooner Tony Bennett and

"Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Til Death" actor Brad Garrett were surprise guests at a corporate bash at Caesars in Atlantic City Friday night. Bennett performed for about an hour, and Garrett did a 15-minute stand-up set. The party's theme was Frank Sinatra's 93rd birthday. Funnyman Joe Piscopo, who famously portrayed Sinatra on "Saturday Night Live," was the emcee, and there was a planned performance from Frank Sinatra Jr. His sister, Nancy, was in the crowd but her boots were not made for walking onto the stage that night. *

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