Bonesso files discrimination lawsuit against B94 radio

Local comedian Gab Bonesso filed a federal sex discrimination lawsuit yesterday against radio station B94, claiming that she was denied an on-air position because she wasn't "girlie" enough.

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Bonesso, who was the sidekick-producer for John McIntire when the station used the talk format "The Zone" last year, was fired May 12.

She had worked for the station since March 2007. In October 2007, the all-talk WTZN, which targeted a male audience, changed its format back to B94, which plays hit music.

Bonesso filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May and was fired a week later.

Ms. Bonesso's last position for the CBS-owned station was as a board operator.

After the format change, she applied for an on-air position and initially was told that she would get the position, she said in the lawsuit. However, she learned later that wasn't the case.

"[The program director] told Bonesso he could tell she was not 'girlie' enough because of her hair and how she dressed," Ms. Bonesso said in the lawsuit. "[He] suggested that if Bonesso were to look and dress more 'feminine' she would be acceptable for the radio announcer position."

The program director also told her she wasn't girlie enough because she was "too cerebral" and "too hip," the lawsuit contends.

She claims sex discrimination and retaliation in the complaint. She is seeking to be placed in an on-air position and receive back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.

Michael Young, Pittsburgh market manager for CBS Radio, said he could not comment on pending legal matters.

It seems like formats change much more than discrimination habits as this charge pops up about every ten years.

Back in 1999 former WBZZ-FM (93.7) disc jockeys Ron Chavis and Troy Garrett filed a lawsuit in federal court against the station, charging that their dismissals were based on race just five weeks after new program director Keith Clark came on board.

In 1988, morning show newscaster Liz Randolph, sued the morning duo and the station. A Common Pleas Court jury found in 1990 that Randolph had been subjected to the infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and defamation. The station's company was also named in a second suit. Both suits were settled in 1991 for an undisclosed amount.