97.5 The Fanatic Slams Top Talent Anthony Gargano with Federal Lawsuit

He's currently suspended from the station.

Anthony Gargano, who is being sued by 97.5 the Fanatic owner Beasley Media over PHLY Sports

Anthony Gargano (photo courtesy Beasley Media)

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97.5 The Fanatic Slams Top Talent Anthony Gargano with Federal Lawsuit

Last week, I saw a promo for a the new digital media outlet PHLY Sports. The promo featured none other than longtime Philadelphia sports radio personality Anthony Gargano. I thought it a bit odd. After all, Gargano already has a popular sports show on all-sports-all-the-time 97.5 The Fanatic. And there doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference between 97.5 The Fanatic and PHLY Sports. Well, other than that the latter doesn’t utilize old-school radio waves. Now, it seems that the owner of 97.5 The Fanatic has found the promo a bit odd as well.

Florida-based Beasley Media Group, which owns dozens of radio stations in the country including 97.5 The Fanantic and 93.3 WMMR, has filed a federal lawsuit against Gargano over his decision to join PHLY Sports. Beasley filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia on Monday, alleging that Gargano is in breach of his contract by working for a company that is in direct competition with 97.5 The Fanatic. Beasley has also named as a defendant BSN Sports/All City, the Colorado company behind PHLY Sports and similar outlets elsewhere in the country.

In the suit, Beasley claims that Gargano made his plans with PHLY Sports clear on September 11th when Gargano told his employer he intended to continue on at 97.5 The Fanatic — his contract expires in October 2024 — while also producing podcasts, articles, and other content for PHLY Sports.

From the lawsuit:

Less than twenty-four hours after providing such notice, All City blitzed the Philadelphia market with press releases announcing the launch of its newest media platform — PHLY Sports — a “hyperlocal” sports coverage network focused on the Philadelphia sports scene… All City’s media blitz also placed considerable emphasis on a press release announcing that Gargano will be “coming soon” to the platform. Disturbingly, All City’s CEO has since claimed in the press that Gargano has been involved with the launch of PHLY Sports “since its inception” and that he has been instrumental in the creation of a competing media platform that is actively poaching Beasley’s employees.

That press Beasley is referring to includes an interview All City’s CEO did with the Inquirer in which he, yes, said that Gargano has been involved since the beginning. In an interview with the Sports Business Journal, the All City CEO said that Gargano “helped assemble the talent” for PHLY Sports and “build the site” and that Gargano and the CEO “spent much of the summer in Philadelphia” working together.

The suit also quotes from the various non-compete clauses in Gargano’s contract with 97.5 The Fanatic, which make it pretty clear that he’s supposed to focus his talents and energy on 97.5 The Fanantic as opposed to some newfangled competitor. And, according to the suit, if he leaves 97.5 The Fanatic, he’s prohibited from doing any competing work for six months. (He’s still at The Fanatic, currently under suspension as a result of all of this, says the suit.) Then there’s the exclusivity clause over his name, voice, likeness and endorsement, a clause that says he can’t use any of those things for a competitor.

Beasley’s lawyers have also filed a motion for a restraining order and preliminary injunction against Gargano that would prevent him from working for, receiving money from, or maintaining any ownership interest in PHLY Sports until six months after his current contract with 97.5 The Fanatic expires. All parties are waiting for a judge to set a hearing date for that motion.

Gargano did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saying Goodbye I

Constance Clayton, the highly respected Girls’ High grad from North Philly who rose from teaching fourth grade to running the Philadelphia School District — the fifth-largest in the country — died yesterday. Longtime teachers union head Jerry Jordan called her “the best superintendent this city has known.” The district’s first Black female leader, she served from 1982 to 1993.

Saying Goodbye II

On the eatery front, Phil Korshak’s artisanal bagelry at 10th and Morris is closing, which is a crying shame. The staff was one of the first in the city to unionize. Korshak says he’s been working too damn hard since opening four years ago.

About Those Closed Primaries…

Five former Pennsylvania governors called for open primaries in the Commonwealth in an open letter yesterday. Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf all agree that voters registered as independents should be allowed to participate in the elections.

Critter Alert!

There’s a black bear on the prowl in Perkasie.

We’re Number… 89!

In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities, Temple notched its highest place ever, coming in at 89th — up from 121st — and cracking the top 100 for the first time. The rankings were rejiggered this year to put more emphasis on outcome measures including graduation rate and social mobility. It’s interesting news, considering all the recent upheaval at the school.

By the Numbers …

All of them: Nine juvenile escapees from the Abraxas Academy detention center in Berks County who are back in custody. Four of the prisoners on the lam turned themselves back in by knocking on a random house door and saying they were cold and tired. Man, kids today are lame.

$4.4 million: Amount of a CDC grant going to Montgomery County to address the drug overdose crisis.

1: Heat-related death in Philly this past summer — the lowest number since 2017. Officials say our weather was the coolest since 2014, which is not how it felt at our house, at least not in early September.

14: Chester County burgs on a new list of the 50 most expensive Pennsylvania towns in which to rent homes. Coming in second overall, after Aleppo Township out in Allegheny County: Pennsbury Township, at a median gross rent of $3,113 a month.

And from the Outta-Here! Sports Desk …

It didn’t take long for the first-place-in-the-East Braves to go up on the Phils in the first game of their series in Atlanta last night: Ozzie Albies homered in the first off starter Zach Wheeler. We came back in the second, though, with two off Kyle White when Nick Castellanos walked and Johan Rojas hit a homer of his own.

Bryce Harper chipped in with another in the third, and J.T. hit one, too, in the fourth. Whew! “I think that’s what the Phils need in every game — to get behind early,” Krukker opined. Castellanos joined the solo-homer party in the sixth — hey, it may not be the most efficient way to get to 5-1, but it was fun! And Kyle Schwarber whacked one “as far as it can go in this ballpark,” per Tom McCarthy, for two more in that same inning: 7-1!

Wheeler got a third-out strikeout with the bases loaded in the bottom half. Rob Thomson brought in Gregory Soto for the seventh and Matt Strahm for the eighth, and both were stellar. Dylan Covey took over in the ninth and got two out before allowing a double to Marcell Ozuna before getting Kevin Pillar on a ground-out. Great game!

They’ll face off again tonight at 7:20.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.